Bulldogs’ defense shuts down Lakers’ offense in second half in 11B quarterfinal win
Bowman County scored twice in the third quarter to beat Des Lacs-Burlington after trailing going into halftime.
For just the second time in school history, the Bowman County Bulldogs will make an appearance in the NDHSAA 11B football playoff semifinals after their quarterfinal win Saturday afternoon.
Their opponent was Des Lacs-Burlington, the No. 2 seed in region 3, who made the trip south to Bowman, looking to advance to the semifinals, which they last accomplished in 2016.
A strong third quarter from Bowman County sealed a 28-16 victory, shutting out the Lakers entirely in the second half. The Bulldogs (10-1) trailed 16-14 at halftime, but the offense got going after the break, with running back Bishop Duffield finding the end zone twice in the quarter.
Des Lacs-Burlington (8-2) received the kickoff to open the third quarter and went three-and-out. On Bowman County’s next drive, quarterback Quaid Lardy found wide receiver Clay Heimer for a 38-yard gain on third down to extend the drive. Two plays later, Duffield scored on a 26-yard run to give his team a 22-16 lead after the two-point conversion.
Another chunk play in the passing game came on their next drive as the Bulldogs were backed up on their own 10-yard line. Lardy escaped pressure, rolled to his right and found wide receiver Roman Fossum down the field, who evaded a couple defenders and was on his way to the end zone, but was tripped up by a Laker defender, falling at the Des Lacs-Burlington 40-yard line.
Later in the drive, Fossum caught another pass from Lardy, who dodged some pressure again and rolled to his right, on fourth down to keep the drive alive.
The Bulldogs, like they have all year, mixed in a solid run game with their aerial attack and drove to the five-yard line later in the quarter, where Duffield finished off the drive with his second score. Duffield finished with 126 yards and two touchdowns. The hosts led 28-16 with 58 seconds left in the third quarter.
“The game changed when our offensive line came out in the second half and we were able to run the football,” Walker said. “Quaid and Clay have had a phenomenal year but Brody Headley is a hell of a receiver. Bishop Duffield has done a terrific job of taking over our tailback spot and Roman Fossum made the two biggest plays of the game...we had a lot of guys make a lot of plays."
Bowman County’s defense made sure the Lakers would not get any more points in the game. They had a big stop to begin the fourth quarter, turning Des Lacs-Burlington over on downs on the 10-yard line.
After gaining 54 yards on the ground in the first half, the Lakers were held to -2 yards in the second, totalling 52 as the Bulldogs’ run defense completely shut down Des Lacs-Burlington.
The second half was in stark contrast to the first, where the Lakers had more rhythm on offense. Their first touchdown, a two-yard run by running back Caleb Rist, was set up by an interception from Lardy which they returned inside the red zone.
Lardy was picked off a second time in the first half but also found Heimer for two touchdowns, one from nine yards out and another from 45. Heimer finished with eight catches for 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Lardy had 140 yards passing in the first half and 286 total with two touchdowns.
“We woke up, I think we had some wide eyes in the first half,” Walker said. “We have 11 sophomores that play for us, this is a big deal. But we had wide eyes and didn’t play real physical and we were in the game. Being minus-two in turnovers at half, you should probably be down by two scores, but we weren’t and it’s a testament to these kids and how they battle.”
The Bulldogs held a 14-8 lead in the second quarter before Lakers’ quarterback Paxton Ystaas found wide receiver Chance Mickelson for an 18-yard score with under two minutes to go until the break to make it 16-14.
Bowman County defensive back Bohden Duffield had two interceptions in big spots, one coming when the Lakers were inside the 30-yard line in the second quarter and another on Des Lacs-Burlington's final drive to officially put the game away.
With the win the Bulldogs reach a stage in the playoffs they have reached just one time before, coming in 2018. The final hurdle before reaching the Dakota Bowl in Fargo will be the Kindred Vikings, the Region 1 champions No. 2 overall seed, who toppled Langdon 21-18 in their quarterfinal matchup.
“We’ll have to play better but we get another week of football,” Walker said.
DLB - 8 16 0 0 16
BC - 7 7 14 0 28
DLB - Caleb Rist 2 yard run (two-point conversion good), 8-0
BC - Clay Heimer 9 yard pass from Quaid Lardy (extra point good), 8-7
BC - Heimer 45 yard pass from Lardy (extra point good), 14-8
DLB - Chance Mickelson 18 yard pass from Paxton Ystaas (two-point conversion good), 16-14
BC - Bishop Duffield 26 yard run (two-point conversion good), 22-16
BC - Duffield 5 yard run (two-point conversion no good), 28-16