FARGO – There are several highly anticipated high school football matchups across the state of North Dakota on Saturday. One of those ‘can’t-miss’ games will be played at Fargo Davies High School when the No. 1-ranked Fargo South Bruins play the No. 3-ranked Eagles at 1 p.m. (Link below is a video clip of Fargo South’s James Johannesson, Ty Brooks and head coach Troy Mattern discussing South’s upcoming games against Fargo Davies and West Fargo)
Fargo South vs. Fargo Davies football preview
I promised I’d breakdown this matchup and this post will do just that. For starters here is a quick snapshot of what each team has done thus far in 2014.
FARGO SOUTH: The Bruins have been ranked No. 1 all season long in the North Dakota Class 3A polls and are 7-0 overall and 5-0 in Eastern Dakota Conference play entering Saturday’s game against Davies. … The Bruins are averaging 46.9 points per game and are currently in the midst of a 12-game winning streak dating back to last season.
FARGO DAVIES: The Eagles are coming off their biggest win of the season – a 14-13 win over West Fargo. The win over the Packers served as a big rebound after dropping a road game to Grand Forks Red River in Week 6. … Davies has been ranked in the state 3A poll all season after opening the season with a convincing win over Bismarck Century. … The Eagles are 6-1 overall and 5-1 in EDC play.
ALL-TIME SERIES: South leads the all-time series 4-0 between the two schools. Saturday will be the fifth time the schools have played. South won the 2014 meeting 17-14 that was played at Sid Cichy Field.
Now that we know the teams, I’ll do a couple comparisons of the teams in five key areas of the game (running game, passing game, receiving, defense and special teams).
Fargo South senior running back James Johannesson has rushed for 1,036 yards this fall on 109 carries and has scored 21 touchdowns. Forum file photo.
RUSHING: Fargo South’s running game is powered by senior all-state running back James Johannesson. Johannesson has rushed for 1,036 yards on 109 carries and has scored 21 total touchdowns. The University of Minnesota football commit eclipsed 5,000 career rushing yards last week and is averaging 148 yards per game this fall. The Bruins also work in senior wide receiver Ty Brooks into their rushing attack. Brooks is a 1,000 yard rusher for South and like Johannesson is a threat to pop off a big gain at any moment. Davies counters with Ty Jochim, who has 774 yards on 108 carries this fall. Jochim has scored six touchdowns, but is coming off a poor game against the West Fargo more so because the Packers are very good against stopping the run. All together, Johannesson, Jochim and Brooks are the top three rushers in the conference and both teams feature solid offensive lines.
RECEIVING: The featured players in this category with be Fargo Davies senior wide receiver Tristan Hartness and South’s Brooks. Hartness has 38 catches for 848 yards and 13 touchdowns. Brooks has 16 catches for 308 yards and three TDs. Look for the Eagles to also work in Mitch Vetter, JD Arguelles and Kaden Steiner into its passing attack.
Fargo Davies senior quarterback Aidan Hartness (12) leads the Eastern Dakota Conference with 1,300 passing yards this fall. His top target has been his twin brother Tristan Hartness (19) who has 848 receiving yards and has scored 13 touchdowns. Forum file photo.
PASSING: Fargo Davies senior Aidan Hartness has thrown for 1,300 yards this fall. He has 16 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Hartness has completed 63 of 125 passing attempts (50.4 percent). South senior quarterback Jake Solem has passed for 609 yards but has been just as accurate as Hartness completing 36 of 72 attempts (50 percent). It is very hard to say what this game will come down to, but if Davies’ passing game gets any traction things could get very interesting and the scoreboard could wind up showing very big numbers.
DEFENSE: The offense is going to be the feature part of this game most likely, but the game could be decided by a defensive stop. Davies has several crafty defensive backs and senior all-state defensive lineman Gunnar Kollman anchors the whole unit. Kollman had 2 ½ sacks last week against West Fargo. South will be tasked with stopping the Eagles passing attack. Brooks leads the Bruins defensive secondary, which will get challenged. Jason Klug leads South in tackles with 32 ½.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Both teams have dynamic returners on punts and kickoffs. Davies’ JD Arguelles had a big kickoff return last week against West Fargo. Johannesson and Brooks each have a kickoff return for a touchdown for the Bruins this fall. South’s kicking game led by senior Josh Weiler is very strong. Weiler is 2 of 3 in field goal attempts this fall and has one 40-plus yarder made. He has 42 points, which leads all Eastern Dakota Conference kickers. Davies’ kicker – Cy Cyr – has made one field goal this season and is 13 of 18 on extra points.
Tom Mix is the North Dakota high schools sports reporter at The Forum. He has been working at The Forum since 2009 and has been covering the ND prep sports beat since 2012. Mix can be reached at email@example.com