KELLIHER - The North Central Stars football team is Fargo-bound after the Stars bested the Badger-Greenbush-Middle River Gators 22-14 in double-overtime in the Section 8 9-Man Tournament semifinals Saturday.

Stat leaders 

  • Passing - Jack Gilbert (4/6 for 14 yards and 2 touchdowns)
  • Receiving - Matt Kennedy (1 reception for 7 yards and 1 touchdown) and Cam McRoberts (1 reception for 6 yards and 1 touchdown)
  • Rushing - Benji Jourdan (25 carries for 79 yards)

Game summary 

After a scoreless first quarter, the Stars struck first blood when senior Matt Kennedy caught a pass in the end zone from quarterback Jack Gilbert.

However, the Gators scored on their next possession to tie the game back up 8-8.

Those two second quarter touchdowns were the only points scored in regulation, as both teams struggled to find the end zone a second time.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Stars came up big on multiple occasions, including an interception caught by senior Cam McRoberts with three minutes to go in regulation, but the Star offense was unable to find the end zone.

The Stars elected to receive the ball first in overtime, with Tim Barthel running the ball in from two yards out to put the Stars up, although they could not get the two-point conversion.

On the Gators' possession, the Stars came up with three-consecutive stops, but the visiting team punched the ball in for a touchdown on fourth-and-three.

However, the Gators missed their PAT attempt to send the game into a double overtime.

On their next possession, McRoberts caught a six-yard pass from Gilbert in the end zone and this time the Stars got their two-point conversion to go up 22-14.

With the Gators down to their last play, Gilbert broke up a pass in the upper-left corner of the end zone to end the game, sending the Stars to the finals.

Kennedy said he was proud of how hard his teammates worked throughout the game.

"They fought with everything they had," he said. "I am so proud of these boys."

When asked about how it feels to get the opportunity to play in the home of the North Dakota State Bison, Gilbert said he could barely contain his excitement.

"This is a dream come true," he said. "To be able to come back to football and do this with such an amazing team is the best thing ever."

Up next 

The Stars will be back in action at 3 p.m. Thursday when they travel to Fargo to take on the Warren-Alvarado-Oslo Ponies in the Fargodome.

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