Dakota College outlasts Northland in MCAC West shootout

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by Scott DCamp
Sports Editor
On a day when the weather conditions seemed more suited for a between the tackles running game, Dakota College at Bottineau and Northland Community and Technical College passed for more than 800 yards, with Dakota College winning the shootout 48-39. 
Northland quarterback Shannon Patrick completed 40 of 74 passes for 525 yards, which are all believed to be school records. The Pioneers virtually abandoned the running game, with just 15 carries for 59 yards. 
Head Coach Jim Cox explained that a heavy dose of Patrick was part of the game plan after Dakota College held a strong RCTC offense to less than 100 yards the previous week. 
Although they allowed more big plays than ususal, both defense were opportunistic, with Dakota College tallying two defensive scores in the nine-point win. 
Northland's normally stout defense, which had allowed just 19 points all season entering Saturday's game, surrendered 431 yards of total offense to Dakota College, while allowing five scoring drives. 
“There is a great possibility that those are the two best teams in our league,” said Head Coach Jim Cox. “Those are two really good teams. The breaks didn’t go our way.”
Cox added that the Pioneers had a key interception get called back by a pass interference call and overall, the Pioneers were penalized much more than usual. 
After a Northland three and out to start the game, Dakota College got to start its first possession in Northland territory and the Lumberjacks took advantage of the short field with a five-play, 35-yard drive that culmated in a three-yard Elijah Todd touchdown run. Dakota College's only attempt at kicking an extra point was blocked and the Lumberjacks opted to go for two the remainder of the day. 
Northland moved the ball into Dakota College territory on its second possession when the ball was stripped from quarterback Shannon Patrick and returned 61 yards for a touchdown by Dakota College safety Fabian Gordon. The successful two-point conversion made it 14-0 in favor of the Lumberjacks. 
Northland answered with a 12-play 64-yard drive the culminated in a four-yard touchdown run by Joe Cash. The snap on the extra point attempt was high and holder Robert Johnson was tackled short of the endzone after he tried to run for the two-point conversion. 
After a Dakota College punt, Northland began its next possession at its own nine-yard-line. Patrick and wide receiver Malik Williams needed just one play to score, as the two connected for a 91-yard touchdown pass and catch. Ensley's kick got the Pioneers to within one at 14-13. 
Dakota College answered with a quick strike of its own, as quarterback Jackson Argoe and wide receiver Michael Dunn connected for a 75-yard touchdown reception. 
Trailing 20-13 at the start of the second quarter, Northland looked to be in position to tie the game when Ethan Hill recovered a fumble by Dakota County punter Francisco Flores in the endzone. Ensley's kick was wide right, however and Dakota College stayed in front 20-19.
Two possessions later, Northland took its first lead of the game on a 12-yard run by Cash, that followed a 13-play 86-yard drive. The extra point by Ensley made it 26-20 in favor of the Pioneers. 
Northland looked like it would head into the locker room with the lead after forcing a Dakota College three and out. However, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Pioneers for mimicking the snap prior to the punt on fourth down gave the Lumberjacks an extra 15 yards and a new set of downs. 
Dakota College took advantage of the situation and capped a 15-play, 74-yard drive with a 5-yard Argoe to Quay Harvey touchdown pass. A two-point conversion run by Todd made it 28-26 at the break. 
Dakota College made it a two-score advantage on its first drive of the third quarter. Argoe connected with Kevonta Moses from five yards out to cap an eight-play, 57-yard drive; and Todd ran in the two-point conversion to make it 36-26 in favor of the Lumberjacks. 
Northland had to punt on its first two possessions of the second half, but the third time proved to be the charm as the Pioneers put together a 10-play, 73-yard drive that  ended with a Patrick to Williams touchdown reception from three yards out. The extra point by Ensley brought the Pioneers back to within three, 36-33. 
Dakota College returned the ensuing kickoff to its own 40-yard line and advanced to the Northland 30 after a 30-yard reception by Devious Brooks. From there, the drive stalled and the Pioneers forced a turnover on downs when Ethan Hill sacked Argoe at the 37-yard line. 
Northland took advantage of the good field position and put together a seven-play, 63-yard drive that ended with a 34-yard touchdown reception by Williams early in the fourth quarter. Ensley’s PAT was no good, keeping the Pioneers in front 39-36. 
Late in the fourth quarter, Northland had a chance to ice the game. With about 3:35 left to play, the Pioneers faced a third and five from their own 12. Dakota College had just one timeout remaining and a first down would have allowed the Pioneers to run off most of the game clock on the next set of downs. 
Patrick’s third down pass fell incomplete and Dakota College had new life. Following Ensley’s punt, the Lumberjacks took over at the Northland 47-yard line and put together a three-play drive that included a 41-yard reception by Moses to set up a first and goal at the six. Todd capped the drive with a six-yard touchdown run to give the Lumberjacks a 42-39 lead. 
Northland got the ball back with 1:23 remaining and moved the ball to its own 47 after a 13-yard reception by Dakari Highsmith. On the next play, Isaiah Dennis-McClean picked off Patrick and returned the interception 47 yards for a touchdown to put Dakota College up by nine. 
1 2 3 4 T
Dakota College 20 8 8 12 48
Northland 13 13 7 6 39
First Quarter
DCB – Elijah Todd 3-yard run, kick failed
DCB – Fabian Gordon 54-yard fumble return, Jackson Argoe pass to Todd
NCTC – Joe Cash 4-yard run, run failed
NCTC – Shannon Patrick 91-yard pass to Malik Wiliams, Ensley Kick
DCB – Argoe 75-yard pass to Michael Dunn, pass failed
Second Quarter
NCTC – Ethan Hill recovery in endzone, kick failed
NCTC – Cash 12-yard run, Ensley kick
DCB – Argoe 5-yard pass to Quay Harvey, Todd run
Third Quarter
DCB – Argoe 5-yard pass to Kevonta Moses, Todd run
NCTC – Patrick 3-yard pass to Williams, Ensley kick
Fourth Quarter
NCTC – Patrick 34-yard pass to Williams, kick failed
DCB – Todd 6-yard run, run failed
DCB – Isaiah Dennis-McLean 47-yard interception return, run failed
Team Statistics
n First downs – NCTC 32; DCB 22. 
n Fumbles (total-lost) – NCTC 1-1; DCB 1-1. 
n Penalties (number-yards) – NCTC 14-155; DCB 10-73.
n Punts (number-average) – NCTC 4-36.5; DCB 5-31.2.
n Rushing (attempts-yards) – NCTC 21-33; DCB 31-112.
n Passing – NCTC 40-of-74, 525 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions; DCB 15-of-35, 315 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions.
n Total yards – NCTC 558; Dakota College 428.
n Rushing – (NCTC) Joe Cash 9-44; (DCB) Elijah Todd 18-116.  
n Passing – (NCTC) Shannon Patrick 44-of-70, 525 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions; (DCB) Jackson Argoe 15-of-35, 315 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions.
n Receiving – (NCTC) Malik Williams 14-225, 3 touchdowns;  Dakari Highsmith 8-47; (DCB) Kevonta Moses 6-151, touchdown; Michael Dunn 2-90, touchdown.
n Tackles (Solo-Assist) – (NCTC) Justin Scott 9-2; Meleek McCatty 7-4; David Bordes 8-2; (DCB) Aldontae Robertson 5-2; Trent Postma 7-0. 
n Sacks – (NCTC) Justin Scott 1; Ethan Hill 1; (DCB)Isaiah Dennis-McLean 1; Fabian Gordon 1; Tyler Gay 1; Michael Kizer 1. 
n Interceptions – (NCTC) Damian Francis 1; Jamar Davis 1; (DCB) Aldonte Robertson 1; Isaiah Dennsi-McLean 1. 
The week before that defense held Rochester to less than 100 yards.
The week before, Rochester has a really good running game and they couldn’t move the ball on ground. 
Four defensive starters injuried and six defensive players total that are injured and not in the rotation
Western Division
                        div. overall all pts
Dakota College 1-0 2-1 3
North Dakota SCS 1-0 2-1 3
M-State 1-0 1-2 2
Northland 0-1 2-1 2
Ridgewater 0-1 1-2 1
Minnesota West 0-1 1-2 1
                       div. overall pts
Central Lakes 1-0 3-0 4
Mesabi Range 1-0 2-1 3
Rochester 1-0 2-1 3
Itasca 0-1 1-2 1
Vermilion 0-1 1-2 1
Fond du Lac Tribal 0-1 0-3 0
Saturday, Sept. 16 – NDSCS def. Ridgewater 43-21; Central Lakes def. Vermilion 10-8; M-State def. MnWest 38-35; Mesabi Range def. Itasca CC 33-28; Dakota College def. Northland CTC 48-39; RCTC def. Fond du Lac 35-14.