WEST FARGO — The Mustangs were out for revenge in Sheyenne's homecoming game Friday night against Minot.
Friday's game was the first time the Mustangs faced the Magicians since Minot ended Sheyenne's season in the opening round of the 2017 North Dakota Class 3A state football playoffs.
And it's safe to say Sheyenne got its payback, as the Mustangs (2-0) topped the Magicians 28-14.
"Any win over Minot is good because they're a big, strong, physical team always," Sheyenne head football coach Jeremy Newton said. "And they're very well coached. It was a great win for us."
Minot (1-1) was first on the board with one minute to go in the first quarter thanks to a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jaxon Gunville on 4th-and-goal. Magicians kicker Dustin Jacobson tallied the extra point to make it 7-0.
Sheyenne's sophomore quarterback Grant Warkenthien added a 5-yard touchdown run with 33 seconds left in the second quarter to make it 7-7 at halftime.
The Mustangs had the offensive edge during the first half, with 147 yards on 23 plays. Sheyenne tallied 39 rushing yards on 13 attempts with one touchdown in the first two quarters. Junior running back Barika Kpeenu led the run game with 24 yards on two carries in the first half.
On the flipside, Minot had 132 yards on 34 offensive plays and rushed for 58 yards on 23 attempts with one touchdown. Running back Payton Philion led the rushing attack with 38 yards on 16 carries.
Sheyenne was first to get on the scoreboard in the second half when Kpeenu scored from just inside the 2-yard line to make it 14-7 Sheyenne with less than five minutes to go in the third. Kayden Aberle's extra point kick attempt was good.
The Mustangs scored on 4th-and-goal from the 27-yard-line three minutes into the fourth quarter on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Warkenthien to junior tight end Alex Goodiron. Aberle's kick pushed the lead to 21-7. False starts were costly for the Mustangs, who went from 1st-and-5th to 4th-and-goal in the touchdown drive.
After three unanswered Sheyenne touchdowns, Minot added a 45-yard touchdown pass from Gunville to Teagan Kinchen to make it 21-14 with eight minutes to go. Gunville passed for 191 yards on 24 attempts during the non-conference game.
The Mustangs set up the game-clinching score with a 2-yard touchdown run by Kpeenu to make it 28-14 Sheyenne with 1:33 left.
Kpeenu showed his versatility on offense, rushing for 92 yards on 12 attempts with two touchdowns. The 5-foot-10 running back also had four receptions for 42 yards.
Kpeenu was a freshman the last time Sheyenne played Minot.
"I saw how it hurt the other guys on the team losing in the playoffs to these guys," Kpeenu said. "It was great to know we came back, punched them in the mouth a little bit and made a statement."
"They're a great ball club, they do things right, so knowing that we were able to win this game is outstanding," Kpeenu added.
North Dakota State commit and senior wide receiver Tyler Terhark had five receptions for 46 yards. Terhark enters this season following a strong year, gaining 769 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns on 40 receptions for Sheyenne last season.
Friday's non-conference game was the team's first on Sheyenne's new artificial turf field, Essentia Health Mustangs Stadium, which was completed earlier this summer. The Mustangs also sported new jerseys and a couple new helmets.
Head coach Newton thought the guys might've been a little "overhyped" for the field, and that the new playing surface could've taken them out of their game.
"We made some big plays," Newton said. "Defense made some big plays to keep us in it, but I thought execution we were not where we need to be."
Sheyenne opened its season Aug. 30 with a 35-14 road victory over the Bismarck Demons, the defending state champions. Going into Friday night’s game, Minot came off of a 14-12 win over Grand Forks Red River in the Magicians’ season opener.
The Mustangs next play their first Eastern Dakota Conference contest against Red River on Friday, Sept. 13, in Grand Forks. Sheyenne was undefeated against EDC teams last year.