Four Winds lose early lead, finally puts away New Town 44-30 in 9-Man.

FORT TOTTEN — Four Winds co-head coach Travis Mertens spoke after the Indians game against New Town about facing adversity. With starting quarterback and team leader Keldon Keja sidelined with a knee injury that he suffered in their loss against Dunseith on Sept. 19, the Indians faced more trouble Saturday, Oct. 5 with a second half deficit against the Eagles.

“We always preach adversity. There are things in life that don’t necessarily go your way, where things in a game doesn’t go your way were you have to bounce back and shake it off and on to the next play. … Our boys didn’t tuck their tails between their legs. They kept their head up and kept fighting,” Mertens said.

After the Eagles rallied from a 16-point hole to take a second half lead, the Indians came back on their own to come away with the 44-30 Homecoming win.

With Keldon watching from the side lines with a brace on his right knee, little brother Kelson took over the quarterbacking duties and accounted for four Indians touchdowns. Kelson’s 3-yard run, followed by his two point conversion, put the Indians (4-1) ahead 8-0. Kelson connected with Jonah Jackson for a 32 yard touchdown reception that gave the Indians the 16-0 lead after Kelson’s two point conversion pass to Jayden Yankton.

The Eagles (1-2) scored 18 unanswered, gaining the lead with six minutes, 57 seconds left in the third quarter by driving 63 yards that was capped off with a 5-yard scoring run from Shooter Stewart. The two teams exchanged scores but JaeShaun Shaw’s 58-yard touchdown run with 4:22 remaining in the third quarter gave the Indians the lead for good.

Yankton also threw a touchdown pass to Jerry Lenoir and ended the game with an interception.

“I think anytime you go against another Native America school, there’s a lot of pride and our boys get up for it. It means something for the boys by us playing an independent schedule and not playing for anything at the end of the year so games like this when the boys can still get up for it’s nice to see,” Mertens said.

Stewart finished with two touchdowns, including scoring on a hook and lateral that got the Eagles on the board in the second quarter and quarterback Tristen Williams added two scores, including an 80 yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter.

Chris Harris can be reached at

New Town at Four Winds box score

New Town    0 12 12 6  — 30

Four Winds  8 8 14 14  — 44

First Quarter

FW — Keja 3 run (Keja run), 5:31.

Second Quarter

FW — Jackson 32 pass from Keja (Yankton pass from Keja), 7:19.

NT — Stewart 23 run (run failed), 4:34.

NT — Johnson 30 fumble recovery (run failed), 1:00.

Third Quarter

NT — Stewart 5 run (kick failed), 6:57.

FW — Keja 41 run (pass failed), 6:04.

NT — Williams 17 run (kick failed), 4:41.

FW — Shaw 58 run (Keja run), 4:22.

Fourth Quarter

FW — Keja 4 run (Davis run), 7:12.

NT — Williams 80 kickoff return (pass failed), 6:58.

FW — Lenior 44 pass from Yankton (run failed), 46.6.