Blue Jays stumble against Firebirds
DEVILS LAKE, N.D.—Spencer Frith had a nose for the football Saturday at Roller Field.
The Devils Lake senior linebacker recovered a fumble, intercepted a pass, and his second of two successful extra points booted through the goalposts sealed Jamestown's fate. The fourth-ranked Firebirds prevailed 14-13 over the second-ranked Blue Jays in a late-season Class AA showdown.
"We knew it was going to be a battle right away, so we had to put it all out on the line," said Frith, who hauled in a interception for a second consecutive week. "The coaches gave us everything we needed to know and we just executed it."
Jamestown got off to an ominous start. A lost fumble by senior running back Zach Petrek, recovered by Frith, set up a four-play, 42-yard scoring drive for the Firebirds to end the first quarter.
A 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jagger Miller to Josh Dahlen gave the Firebirds a 7-0 lead with 27 seconds left before the second. Miller finished passing for 119 yards and two scores.
"Gotta make plays," Jamestown coach Bill Nelson said. "We had chances to do really good things and we didn't. We shouldn't be very happy about this."
The Jays answered with a pair of scores before the half. A 23-yard pass from quarterback Tommy Falk to Jared Kallenbach helped set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Petrek, and a punt returned 35 yards to inside the Firebirds' 15-yard line by Jared Harr aided Brandon Dallmann in scampering into the end zone on a 6-yard carry.
The Jays led 13-7 at the half. Harr piled up 149 yards rushing on 24 carries in the game.
But the final two quarters went from bad to worse for Jamestown. After losing senior linebacker Marcus Hochhalter to a leg injury with five minutes left in the third, a tipped pass in the fourth helped Devils Lake convert its longest touchdown pass of the season.
Jamestown's junior defensive back Carter Moser was able to get a hand on a deep throw down the middle by Miller with 10 minutes left in the game, but the deflected ball dropped into the hands of Joey Hornstein who took the 65-yard passing play to the house.
"The ball bounced our way on that big touchdown pass today, so I'll make sure I get to church tomorrow," Devils Lake coach Jake Wateland said. "Two good teams playing, and it's hard to score points when you've got two good defenses like that."
Jamestown later dodged a bullet when Hornstein dropped what would have been a second touchdown pass in the end zone with 2 minutes, 27 seconds left to play. Instead, the drop resulted in a turnover on downs and provided Jamestown with one last gasp starting on their own 26-yard line.
A huge, 40-yard connection from Falk to Kallenbach on a 3rd-and-22 moved Jamestown into Devils Lake territory. But on 4th-and-9 from the Firebirds' 16-yard line, Jamestown elected not to attempt a field goal and a pass by Falk intended for Jeremy Williams was batted down in the corner of the end zone with 14 seconds remaining.
Devils Lake junior running back Luke Knowski had a monster second half, running for 96 of his 119 yards on 10 of his 14 carries.
"The season is far from over. We control our destiny," Nelson said. "You play hard all the time, good things happen. You take plays off, things don't go your way.
"We're a lot better football team than what we showed today."
Jamestown (5-3) travels to Grafton (3-5) this coming Saturday in the final game of the regular season. If either the Blue Jays win or Watford City loses at home to Wahpeton, Jamestown will finish fourth in the standings and host either Watford City (5-3) or Wahpeton (4-4) on Oct. 28 in the opening round of the state playoffs.
"Everybody's gotta be locked in," Nelson said. "We've got to right the wrong next Saturday."
Devils Lake 14, Jamestown 13
D, Josh Dahlen 25 pass from Jagger Miller (Spencer Frith kick), :27
J, Zack Petrek 2 run (Connor Fuchs), 9:16.
J, Brandon Dallmann 6 run (kick failed), 6:22.
D, Joey Hornstein 65 pass from Jagger Miller (Frith kick), 9:43.
Passing: J, Tommy Falk 6-13-1 96 yards; D, Jagger Miller 7-11-0 119 yards.
Rushing: J, Jared Harr 24-149, Petrek 9-39, Dallmann 4-26, Tommy Falk 9-21, Jared Kallenbach 1-5. D, Luke Knowski 14-119, Joey Hornstein 12-47, Cordell Yoder 5-12, Miller 5-4, Parker Vilandre 1-2, Joey Frelich 3-0.
Receiving: J, Kallenbach 3-69, Jeremy Williams 1-20, Harr 1-5, Aaron Bredeson 1-2. D, Josh Dahlen 4-44, Knowski 2-10, Hornstein 1-65.
Sacks: J, Tate Orr. D, George DeMarce, Knowski.
TFL: J, Orr 2, Petrek, Marcus Hochhalter, Dawson Denning, Carter Moser. D, DeMarce, Knowski, Frith.
Fumble recoveries: J, Williams. D, Frith.
Interceptions: D, Frith.
Records: Devils Lake 6-2, Jamestown 5-3.