By Tom Mix
NDHSAA Media Specialist
FARGO – New Salem-Almont and Cavalier have been two of the state’s top 9-man football programs over the past several years and when they’ve met on the gridiron of late the games have been instant classics.
Friday the Holsteins and Tornadoes met in the NDHSAA Division 9B football state championship game and an overtime period was needed to decide the outcome. New Salem-Almont defeated Cavalier 28-26 and marked the second time in as many seasons the two teams needed overtime to decide a winner – the other being the 2021 NDHSAA Division 9B semifinals which Cavalier had won 36-34 in overtime in New Salem.
Cavalier jumped out to a 14-0 lead on Friday. The Tornadoes’ got on the board with a first quarter touchdown when senior running back Jacob Steele caught a 1-yard pass from senior quarterback Sterling Enerson. Enerson followed up with a 56-yard touchdown strike to junior wide receiver Zack Anderson early in the second quarter.
New Salem-Almont senior quarterback Ty Wolding scored on a four yard keeper to put the Holsteins on the board and close out the first half scoring as Cavalier would lead 14-6 at halftime.
After a scoreless third quarter, New Salem inched closer with another rushing touchdown from Wolding, this time from six yards, but once again the Holsteins were stopped on the two-point conversion attempt.
Enerson answered with a 17-yard rushing touchdown, but Cavalier’s two-point attempt failed which would have made it a two-score game with eight minutes, 45 seconds to play.
The door was open for the Holsteins to tie the game up with a touchdown and a two-point conversion. With 3 minutes, 20 seconds left to play, Holsteins sophomore running back Brock Norton scored on a four-yard run which was followed by a successful two-point try that saw Wolding connect with sophomore tight end Wyatt Kuhn for a pass.
The scoreboard read 20-20 at the end of regulation time. Once again, the Holsteins and Tornadoes would go to an overtime session.
The combination that tied the game only minutes earlier delivered again for the Holsteins. Norton rushed six yards for a touchdown and Wolding hit Kuhn for the two-point pass.
The pressure was on Cavalier to match.
Enerson connected with Anderson again, this time for a three yard touchdown pass setting up the pivotal two-point conversion attempt. Enerson scrambled on the two-point play, but his pass attempt was not successful, sealing the victory for New Salem-Almont.
The Holsteins finish the season 12-0. Cavalier draped to 11-1 with the loss. The football state title is New Salem-Almont’s second in program history (1986). The Holsteins also were 9-man state runners up in 2016 and 2018.