Century senior running back Casey Foss may not have breakaway speed but he certainly has another gear.
Foss was chased down on a breakaway but not before going 43 yards to set up the game-tying touchdown and later scored on a 20-yard run as the Patriots beat Mandan 14-7 in the West Region opener.
Foss, who ran eight times for 109 yards – 95 in the second half – stole some of the thunder from the Braves, who were playing their last home game at Lefty Faris Field. They move into a shiny new park on Sept. 29
Century (1-0 West Region, 2-1 overall) was bottled up for two quarters. It had just two first downs, 15 yards rushing and 34 passing in the first half.
“They wanted to keep eight or nine guys in the box. We should have made some adjustments,” Century coach Ron Wingenbach said. “The second half we were able to get to the perimeter better. That was the key.”
Mandan (0-1, 1-2) dominated the first half but led only by one score. With 13 seconds left in the second quarter, quarterback Kaden Krause capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive with a four-yard run. Evan Arenz’s PAT made it 7-0.
Krause was 12-for-17 for 130 yards but was sacked four times.
The Braves had 84 yards on the ground and 105 through the air in the first half. They had only 64 total yards in the second half due to sacks and negative yardage. The Braves actually and 71 yards on a drive that ended on the Century 6-yard line.
“A couple of backward plays down there didn’t help us,” Mandan coach Todd Sheldon said. “They came out in the second half and, based on what they did the second half, we didn’t have a good answer,” Mandan coach Todd Sheldon said. “They really went heavy on a twins formation and we didn’t adjust.”
The Patriots went 69 yards in eight plays to open the third quarter. Foss’ 43-yard scamper up the middle took the ball down to the Braves’ 11-yard line.
“I don’t know if I’ve got breakaway speed, but the guy was pretty quick that caught me,” Foss said.
Foss had just 14 yards on two carries in the first half.
“It was frustrating,” Foss said. “They were bringing the heat and didn’t know how to handle it at first. Then we figured it out and learned how to hit some holes.”
Three runs after Foss’ breakaway by Nathan Kraft set the Patriots up at the 2 and Jakob Olson’s sneak gave Centuy a first down.
Kraft then scored with 9:05 left in the third to tie the game. Kraft ran 17 times for 71 yards, with 62 coming after halftime.
The Braves’ next two possessions ended with sacks and a punt. Devyn Vance and Tanner Thorsness each took Krause down.
Century then went 56 yards on eight plays to get the go-ahead score when Foss broke through the line and around the left end to go 20 yards with 10:53 to play.
“In 1996, we had a fullback named Freddie Martin,” Wingenbach recalled. “He’s our Freddie Martin. He’s the spitting image of him. He can cut on a dime and he’s got that hockey mentality.”
Mandan had one last opportunity and moved from its own 13 all the way down to the Century six. But a big defensive stop by Reyer Fenoff and a sack by Levi Rockey pushed the Braves back to the 21, from where they missed a field goal with 3:46 left.
Century then picked up four first downs to run out the clock.
“That last drive when we needed to put up four first downs together to run out the clock, that’s what we need to be able to do,” Wingenbach said.
Austin Frey led Mandan with 81 rushing yards.