FARGO INVADERS 16 – SIOUX CITY STAMPEDE 7
Fargo never trailed in the Championship game, defeating Sioux City 16-7 to win Elite Bowl XII. The win is the first NEFL Championship for the Invaders & third Championship as a Franchise; winning in 2014 & 2016. Sioux City falls to (2-3) in Championship games, ending their Back-to-Back run – 2017 in MFA, 2018 in NEFL.
Sioux City received the opening kickoff and drove for a couple first downs, but the drive would stall-out & a punt would pin the Invaders at their own 4. Fargo responded with a 12 play, 78 yard drive that would end with a missed Field Goal. Stampede would again reach midfield before having to punt it away. In the middle of the next Invaders drive the 1st quarter would end 0-0.
Fargo’s 2nd drive ended with a punt. Sioux City would then drive 9 plays to the Invader 32 yardline before being turned away on downs. It then took the Invaders 5 plays to cover 68 yards, highlighted by a 40-yard pass from Ja’vonte Johnson to Constant Jackson followed by a 6-yard TD to Cornell King with 8:02 left in the 2nd quarter; the extra point snap was off leaving it 6-0. Fargo’s defense again stood tall forcing a Stampede 3 & out, while the offense went to work again with a 60 yard pass to Se’Kou Doukoure; however, another missed Field Goal gave the ball back to Sioux City. The Stampede would cross mid-field before punting the ball away, and Johnson put together an 8 play drive to the 16 yardline, where Lezan Tahir was able to knock in a 33-yard Field Goal with 0:13 left in the 1st half, giving the Invaders a 9-0 edge.
Fargo received the kickoff to start the 2nd half but the return only made it to the 2-yardline. 3 straight incomplete passes & a punt return to the Invaders 5 set the Stampede up with 1st & Goal. Fargo Defense held, as Sioux City would miss a 24-yard field goal. The Invader offense again couldn’t get things started in the 2nd half with another 3 & out; giving Sioux City the ball in Invader territory. The Stampede would get to the 21 yardline before running out of downs. After a 45 yard pass to Jackson, Fargo’s 2nd play would result in a lost fumble at the Stampede 26. A 3 & out by Sioux City followed by a strong punt pinned the Invaders at their own 17. The Stampede would force their 2nd turnover of the night, this time an interception by Robert Lewis at the Invader 39. Sioux City offense got to the 23 yardline, before Derek Alexander was able to block the Stampede Field Goal and keep the 9-0 lead in tact.
Things got interesting in the 4th, as Fargo’s drive stalled at mid-field and a punt pinned Sioux City at their own 8. This is when Sioux City’s dominant run game took over, as the Stampede would cover all 92 yards in 17 plays taking 8:22 off the clock; cutting the deficit to 7-9 with 4:49 left in the game. A 29-yard kickoff return by King setup the Invaders at their own 45. Sioux City would force a 3 & out; however it was negated by a Roughing the Punter call, giving Fargo a fresh set of downs at the Stampede 36 with 2:46 to play. The Invaders would make Sioux City pay with 6 more plays ending with a Touchdown pass on 4th & Goal from the 7 to Jon Baune; extending the Invaders lead to 16-7 with 1:43 left in the game. Sioux City offense would take advantage of loose coverage, getting down to the Invaders 9 in 9 plays covering 59 yards; on 3rd & Goal Invaders Landon Moline would get an Interception, sealing the Championship for Fargo 16-7.
Total Offense favored the Invaders 416 – 295. While Time of Possession had the Stampede up 32:23 to 27:37. Invaders Ja’vonte Johnson threw for 331 yards & 2 TD’s with 1 Int, while Dustin Lindgren paced Fargo’s ground game with 7 carries for 38 yards. On the receiving end, Constant Jackson had 5 catches for 127 yards, Jon Baune hauled in 8 catches for 98 yards & a TD, Sekou Doukoure 3 for 69, and Cornell King 2 for 15 & a TD. Sioux City’s Dorian Ballentine threw for 143 yards with 1 Int and 14 carries covering 43 yards & a TD. TJ James ran it 21 times for 100 yards, Zachary Kliment caught 5 balls for 63 yards.
Vince Holmes & Jamus Neal led the Invaders defense with 9 tackles, while Derek Alexander had 8, Jeremy Gordon & Landon Moline each recorded 7, Moline with an interception. For the Stampede, Alex Tompkins had 9 tackles, Tyrae Kemp with 8 and Robert Lewis with 7 and an interception.
Fargo ends the season at (8-4), losing twice to Sioux City and once to St Paul & Northland. The Invaders will play October 20th at US Bank Stadium against the Fox Valley Force out of the MSFL.
Sioux City ends at (7-4), with the losses coming to Fargo, St Paul, Northland, & Lincoln Way.
Full Game Stats & Play-by-Play: