Late touchdown lifts Williston over Blue Jays

Through 47 minutes, the Jamestown defense couldn't have contained Williston quarterback Markus Noekse much better. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound junior completed just 4 of 12 passes for 45 yards and no touchdowns.

John M. Steiner / The Sun JHS quarterback Matt Grounds unloads the ball as Williston's Brandon Benth closes in during Friday's game.

Through 47 minutes, the Jamestown defense couldn't have contained Williston quarterback Markus Noekse much better. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound junior completed just 4 of 12 passes for 45 yards and no touchdowns.

But with one play, all that containment became moot.

Noeske hit senior receiver Alex Cundiff in stride over the middle for a 74-yard touchdown strike with just 43.7 seconds remaining in the game to lift Williston to a 20-14 win over Jamestown on Friday night at Ernie Gates Field.

"It was just a missed call," said Jamestown coach Bill Cahill on the game's final scoring play. "We weren't in the right place at the right time, and they took advantage of it. You have to give them credit. It seems like that's just the way the season has gone."

Cundiff, a senior, was held without a catch up until the Coyotes' late go-ahead score.


"We played them hard," Cahill said. "The goal was to show people that we're a better team than we were on August 26th, and I think we did that."

Jamestown held all the momentum prior to the deep strike after running back Tanner Olson broke free up the right side for a 67-yard score to make it 14-12. Jamestown receiver Brady Anderson then tied the game when he reached across the goal line on the 2-point conversion after snagging a pass from quarterback Matt Grounds.

"He had a fumble earlier, and he had a face on him where he was apologetic, but we just told him, 'Hey, we're going to have another chance,'" Cahill said of Olson. "We felt pretty good about putting the game in his hands again, and he did a nice job."

Olson became the Blue Jays' second rusher to eclipse the century mark in rushing yards by finishing with 106 yards on 14 carries.

Grounds, who was also effective on his feet with 72 yards rushing on a team-high 16 carries, completed 6 of 17 passes for 95 yards and two interceptions. His final pick came on fourth-and-4 near the end of the game that sealed the deal for the Coyotes (2-3 West Region, 3-5 overall).

Jamestown still has yet to hold a lead this season despite coming close on a few occasions on Friday in its final home game of the season.

The Blue Jays nearly scored the first points of the game after making a big defensive stand on Williston's first possession. The Coyotes marched down to Jamestown's 12-yard line before the Blue Jay defense forced an incomplete pass on fourth down to take over on downs.

The offense then took over where the defense left off with a couple of big runs and a big pass from Grounds to Tony Smith on third down that went for 13 yards and a first down.


The Blue Jays (0-5, 0-8) made it down to Williston's 16-yard line before Williston corner Paul Michaelson intercepted a pass on the first play of the second quarter to give the Coyotes the ball.

Eddie Maisey scored on the Coyotes' next possession, capping off a 15-play, 80-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown up the left side. Maisey, who finished with a game-high 144 yards on the ground, ran the ball six times for 29 yards on the drive.

Alex Haaland also had an effective day on the ground for the Coyotes as he finished with 77 yards and a 1-yard touchdown in the third quarter that put Williston up 14-6.

Jamestown was held out of the end zone until 53 seconds remaining in the half when Blue Jay junior Jordan Weil picked up a fumble off a high snap and scampered 28 yards for the score.

The touchdown led Cahill to take a chance that paid off on the ensuing kickoff. The Blue Jays shook the dice with an onside kick that Caleb Ellingson recovered to give Jamestown the ball on Williston's 44-yard line with 47 seconds to go in the half.

"We didn't want them to get a return," said Cahill. "We just thought we would go onside and see what happens."

Grounds completed two passes to put the Blue Jays in the red zone, but an intentional grounding ran the clock out with Jamestown still trailing 8-6. Grounds appeared to have scored the go-ahead score with 17 seconds to go, but a block in the back penalty negated the 17-yard TD run and forced the Blue Jays to go to the air.

"It wasn't (a penalty)," said Cahill. "He had his head in front and it was a clean block. The officials saw it differently and you have to just go with that."


Jamestown will conclude its season next week in Minot where the Blue Jays will have to take down the fourth-ranked Magicians to avoid a winless season.

"We're going to be OK," Cahill said. "We're going to go up there and play them as hard as we can."

Williston 20, Jamestown 14

Williston 0 8 6 6 -- 20

Jamestown 0 6 0 8 -- 14


First quarter

No scoring


Second quarter

WHS--Eddie Maisey 2 run (Alex Haaland pass from Markus Noeske), 5:10.

JHS--Jordan Weil 28 fumble recovery (Matt Grounds run no good), 0:53.

Third quarter

WHS--Alex Haaland 1 run (Brady Anderson intercepts Markus Noeske), 6:56

Fourth quarter

JHS--Tanner Olson 67 run (Brady Anderson pass from Grounds), 3:17.

WHS--Alex Cundiff 74 pass from Noeske (Noeske run no good), 0:43.



Team statistics


Rushing 275 182

Passing (comp-att-int) 5-13-0 6-18-2

Passing yards 119 95

Total offense 394 277

First downs 20 15


Third-down efficiency 5-13 4-9

Fourth-down efficiency 1-4 0-2

Penalties 9-85 8-60

Turnovers 4 1

Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-2

Individual statistics

RUSHING: WHS, Eddie Maisey 22-144, Alex Haaland 19-77, Markus Noeske 5-15, Paul Michaelson 5-39, Calvin Sandburg 1-0. JHS, Tanner Olson 14-106, Matt Grounds 16-72, Brady Anderson 1-4, Brett Mayher 1-0.

PASSING: WHS, Noeske 5 for 13, 119 yards, TD. JHS, Grounds 6 for 17, 95 yards, 2 INT; Anderson 0 for 1.

RECEIVING:WHS, Haaland 2-33, Alex Cundiff 1-74, Michaelson 1-8, Maisey 1-4. JHS, Willy Marler 2-32, Olson 2-21, Anderson 1-29, Tony Smith 1-13.

SACKS: WHS, Seth Hinesley. JHS, Aaron Michel.

INT: WHS, Michaelson, Caden Lerbakken.

Records: Williston 2-3 West Region, 3-5; Jamestown 0-5, 0-8.

Sun sports writer David Griswold can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by e-mail at . Follow him at

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