By Tom Mix
NDHSAA Media Specialist
FARGO – For the first time since 2000, Fargo North is celebrating a NDHSAA football state championship.
Fargo North defeated Grand Forks Central 31-6 in the 2023 NDHSAA Division AA football state championship game played Friday, November 10 at the FARGODOME during Dakota Bowl XXXI.
Leading the way for the Spartans (12-0) was senior Peder Haugo, who rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns.
North led 28-0 at halftime.
The Spartans’ were Division AA runners up in 2022. North’s previous football state title came in 2000 when the program competed in Division AAA. North also won a NDHSAA Class A football state title in 1995.
Senior quarterback Ethan Welk led the Spartans’ passing attack finishing the game with 119 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown connection was a 53-yard strike to senior tight end Carter Zeller in the first quarter. Welk also had 58 yards rushing.
Zeller finished the game with two catches for 64 yards.
Junior Kayden Rasmussen added 65 yards rushing for the Spartans and scored a touchdown.
Central senior running back Jack Simmers scored the Knights’ lone touchdown – a one yard score in the fourth quarter.
North closed out the game’s scoring when senior kicker Max Watson connected for a 42-yard field goal.