By Tom Mix
NDHSAA Media Specialist
FARGO – Minot High junior wide receiver Kellan Burke, who also handles the team’s kicking duties, had an opportunity Friday evening to deliver the Magicians a victory in an NDHSAA football state title game for the first time since 1980.
Burke booted a 20-yard field goal through the uprights in the closing seconds of Minot High’s 38-35 come-for-behind victory over Division AAA, No. 1-seed and previously undefeated Fargo Shanley in the 2023 NDHSAA Division AAA football state championship game played Friday, November 10 at the FARGODOME during Dakota Bowl XXXI.
The walk off winner sent the Minot High bench and fans in a frenzy that seemed to last almost the entire second half.
Fargo Shanley (11-1) led 28-7 in the third quarter, but was out scored 31-7 the remainder of the game.
Early in the second half it appeared as though Minot High might be in for yet another runner-up finish in an NDHSAA football state title game. Following its previous state championship in 1980, Minot High had appeared in a total of seven NDHSAA football state title games (1992, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2014, 2015, and 2017) and fallen short in all of those contests.
Instead, in the 2023 championship, The Magicians rallied and pulled off a comeback that will long be remembered in Dakota Bowl history.
Senior wide receiver Logan Conklin got the Magicians’ rally started hauling in a 32-yard touchdown pass from Minot High senior quarterback Lucas Beeter to pull Minot High to within two scores of the Deacons.
Minot High senior running back Tyson Ruzicka followed up Conklin’s score with a one-yard touchdown run and following an extra point from Burke, the Magicians trailed 28-21.
Shanley senior running back Isaac Perkerewicz closed out the third quarter scoring with a 5-yard touchdown. When the quarter ended Shanley led 35-21.
The fourth quarter would belong to the Magicians. Conklin and Beeter connected for a 17-yard touchdown strike through the air to pull Minot High within a touchdown once again.
Shanley’s ensuing drive ended when senior quarterback Landon Meier was intercepted by Kellan Burke who returned it 59 yards for a touchdown and after he kicked the extra point, the game was tied 35-35 with just over seven minutes left to play.
Shanley attempted to answer but had a drive stall out. This time the Deacons would pin the Magicians to their own 26-yard line with a punt. Minot High had three minutes to put together a game winning drive and cover some ground quickly in order to do so.
At Shanley’s three-yard line, Minot High positioned its field goal attempt and made sure it would be the last play of regulation. Shanley called a timeout right before the ball was snapped and Burke actually drilled that attempt through the uprights as well, but instead he had some time to think about what would be the true attempt.
The “icing the kicker” tactic didn’t work on Burke who booted another kick through the uprights for the victory.
Beeter was 18-for-26 passing with 269 yards and two touchdowns. Conklin caught eight passes for 135 yards and town touchdowns. Ruzicka rushed for 100 yards in the game for Minot.
Shanley was led by senior wide receiver Sam Ovsak who had nine catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
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