Minneapolis North football coach Charles Adams III kept hearing from receiver Nasir El-Amin how open the young man was getting against the Minneapolis Washburn defense.
When Adams called his number, El-Amin rewarded the move with the clinching touchdown in a 22-15 victory Friday at Washburn.
Sophomore quarterback Armon Dalton hit El-Amin in stride and 84 yards later, the Polars were ahead to stay in the fourth quarter.
"It was a great feeling hearing the crowd behind me and knowing I was going to score," said Nasir, nephew of North basketball legend Khalid El-Amin.
Dalton found El-Amin, but both teams were forced to find their focus after engaging in a first-quarter brawl. Officials ejected two players from each team, and the game was delayed 25 minutes.
The brawl started as a ball punted by North bounced near the Millers sideline. A Washburn player delivered a hit away from the play. Moments later, a North player got tangled up amid players on the Washburn bench. Players from North's sideline ran across the field, and coaches and officials struggled to gain control as players from both teams shoved and threw punches.
"We had to make sure we were playing smart," El-Amin said. "We know we can't behave like that. We're here to play football."
Adams said: "It was chippy. I'm glad my team was able to tighten it up afterward and do what they needed to do."
Washburn went ahead 7-0 as quarterback D'Angelo Moore, who took over for ailing starter Rory Purnell III, finished the Millers' drive with a 7-yard scoring run.
North grabbed an 8-7 lead just before halftime as Dalton hit Isaac Johnson with a 12-yard touchdown pass.
Each defense scored in the third quarter. North defensive end Phaizon Scott made a tremendous individual play, batting Moore's pass into the air, grabbing the ball and taking the interception 12 yards for a 14-7 Polars lead.
"We tell our defensive lineman, 'When you're getting penetration, get your hands up and make a play,'" Adams said.
Washburn's Sedrique Ametor recovered a North fumble in the end zone to give the Millers a 15-14 lead that stood until El-Amin found a seam.