Pioneers lose late lead, fall to Thunder in home opener

by Scott DCamp

Sports Editor

Visiting Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College overcame a 20-7 second quarter deficit to shock defending MCAC Champion Northland Community & Technical College 33-26 Saturday at Lowell T. Swenson Field in Thief River Falls.

Head Coach Jim Cox chalked the loss up as a learning experience for an inexperienced team.

“Inexperienced roster that made way too many mistakes,” Cox said. “Good team, with no experience, so this is how you learn.”

Northland led 6-0 after Justin Murry returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Two possessions later, it was 14-0 in favor of the Pioneers after quarterback Craig Wells scored on a two-yard run, which was followed by a two-point conversion run by Rory Purnell III.

Fond du Lac got on the board on the ensuing possession, with LeDarian McAllister scoring on a 24-yard pass by Bryan Parisien. Nakaylin Yost added the extra point to make it 14-7.

Northland scored early in the second quarter on a 20-yard touchdown grab by Colin St. Julian.

Late in the second quarter Northland looked like it was close to putting the game out of reach. The Pioneers’ had a first and 10 just outside the Thunder 20-yard line, but the drive stalled and Fond du Lac eventually took over at its own 25.

One play later, the Thunder were firmly back in the game after Trebian Suggs snagged a pass that initially looked like it had been broken up by Murry. Murry lost his footing attempting to defend the pass and after a brief juggling act, Suggs hauled in the pass and was untouched on his way to the end zone.

Fond du Lac moved the ball well to start the third quarter but didn’t have any points to show for it until a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown by Suggs got the Thunder to within a point.

The surprising Thunder improved to 2-0 after adding a last second win over Northland to a resume that also included a 32-6 win over Ridgewater in week 1.

Fond du Lac took its first lead of the game on a two-yard run by Suggs halfway through the fourth quarter.

Northland answered the score on the ensuing possession, as Wells and Devonaire Clarington connected for a 46-yard scoring strike to put the Pioneers back in front 26-25.

Fond du Lac drove down the field and looked like it would regain the lead when the Northland defense forced one of its two interceptions of Parisien.

Northland needed a first down or two to run out the clock, but instead, St. Julian was stripped of the ball giving Fond du Lac a short field. Parisien took advantage of the second chance and hit DeAndre Moody for the winning score from 12-yards out.


                                    1  2  3  4   T

Fond du Lac………. 7  6  6  14  33

Northland………… 14 6 0 6 26

Northland – Justin Murray 80-yard kickoff return, kick failed.

Northland – Craig Wells touchdown run, Rory Purnell III run.

Fond du Lac – Bryan Parisien 24-yard pass to LeDarian McAllister, Nakaylin Yost kick.

Northland – Craig Wells 20-yard pass to Colin St. Julian, run failed.

Fond du Lac – Parisien 76-yard pass to Trebian Suggs, run failed. Fond du Lac – Suggs 75-yard punt return, run failed. Fond du Lac – 2-yard run by Suggs, run failed.

Northland – Wells 46-yard pass to Devonaire Clarington, run failed.

Fond du Lac – Parisien 12-yard pass to DeAndre Moody, Parisian 2-yard pass to Brown.

Team Statistics

n Fumbles (total-lost) – Fond du Lac 0-0; Northland 2-2. n Punts (number-averge) – Fond du Lac 2-25.0; Northland 4-31.5. n Rushing (attempts-yards) – Fond du Lac 29-1; Northland 36-108 n Passing – Fond du Lac 22-for-46, 311 yards; Northland 13-for-27, 156 yards. n Total yards – Fond du Lac 312; Northland 264. Individuals n Rushing – (FCTC) Trebian Suggs 9-(-4), touchdown; Bryan Parisien 18- (-1); Carl Jones 2-6; (NCTC) Tyrell Harris 12-60; Colin St. Julian 6-35; Craig Wells 7-16, touchdown; Jalen Davis 2-6. n Passing – (FCTC) Bryan Parisien 22-for-46, 311 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions; (NCTC) Craig Wells 13-for-27, 156 yards, 2 touchdowns. n Receiving – (FCTC) Deandre Moody 9-134, touchdown; Trebian Suggs 5-83, touchdown; LeDarian McAllister 7-82, touchdown; Keenan Brown 1-12; (NCTC) Devonaire Clarington 3-91, toudchdown; Colin St. Julian 2-24, touchdown; Dwayne Taylor 2-16, touchdown; Dy’Laan Lee 2-16, touchdown.

MCAC Football Western Division Standings – 1. North Dakota SCS 0-0 2-0; 2. Dakota College 0-0 1-1; 2. M-State 0-0 1-1;  2. Minnesota West 0-0 1-1; 2. Northland 0-0 1-1; 6. Ridgewater 0-0 0-2; Eastern Divison Standings – 1. Fond du Lac Tribal 0-0 2-0; 1. Itasca 0-0 2-0; 1. Mesabi Range 0-0 2-0; 4. Central Lakes 0-0 0-2; 4. Rochester 0-0 0-2; 4. Vermilion 0-0 0-2.

Results Saturday, Sept. 1 – Mesabi Range 28, Minnesota West 25; North Dakota State College of Science 20, Central Lakes 14; Dakota College 16, Rochester 0; Itasca 54, Ridgewater 14; M State-Fergus Falls 40, Vermilion 13; Fond du Lac 33, Northland 26. Schedule Saturday, Sept. 8– Mesabi Range at Itasca; Rochester at Fond du Lac; North Dakota State College of Science at Ridgewater; Northland at Dakota College; Central Lakes at Vermilion; M State Fergus Falls at Minnesota West.