The Bowman County Bulldogs didn’t skip a beat despite losing many seniors off last year's region championship squad.
They started off strong, and Heart River had no chance in a 26-0 victory for the Bulldogs.
The contest marked the first game for head coaches in Nick Walker at Bowman County and Carter Maynard at Heart River.
In his first start at quarterback, junior Quaid Lardy played excellent for the Bulldogs, and he found a connection with senior Caleb Duffield early and often.
The duo had three touchdowns, while Lardy threw another one to Brady Senn.
“Quaid did a really good job of controlling what we need to control. He threw the ball well and Caleb is talented,” Walker said. “He was an all-state wide receiver two years.”
Lardy hit Duffield down the left sideline in front of their bench midway through the first quarter, and after a two-point try that was no good, Bowman County led 6-0 early.
After junior Clay Heimer intercepted Heart River quarterback Nick Fagerberg, Lardy completed a 25-yard pass to Senn to make the score 12-0 with 9:54 left in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs successfully completed the two-point conversion this time, and then Lardy and Duffield made the score 20-0 on a four yard pass with 5:52 until halftime.
Then for good measure, the two connected once again with 1:24 left in the half making the score 26-0.
Lardy made very few mistakes, but in the second half he got greedy and threw an interception to Heart River's Braden Obrigewitch.
Luckily for Bowman County, the Cougars shot themselves in the foot on the play and a penalty for a block out of bounds meant the play did not count, and there was no interception.
Despite the success throwing the ball, Walker said that the Bulldogs need to run the ball better.
“Our mission for the next two weeks is to find a way to run the football better… We will do a better job of coaching now that we have seen our team play,” Walker said. “We will be able to assess positions and we played a lot of guys today. We are going to get a good look at a lot of guys on film.”
Walker was happy with his defensive line's performance saying that they went seven guys deep.
For Heart River, they were breaking in a new offense and Maynard said there were some timing issues.
He was happy with their running game, but noted that they may have gotten a little tired due to it being their first game of the year and in the 95 degree heat.
“I thought we came out well and saw some really good things,” he said. “In the second half we put together a good defensive performance.”
The contest was a non-region game for the two region foes, and they will meet again later this year on Sept. 25 in Bowman.
The Bulldogs host Richardton-Taylor-Hebron next Friday night, while Heart River is off before going to New Salem-Almost on Sept. 4.