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No. 2 Bismarck escapes upset-minded Midgets

In the first half, Lucas Butts ran his rear end off and gave Dickinson High all it could handle. In the second half, the Midgets nearly returned the favor.

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Dickinson High senior wide receiver Aanen Moody catches a touchdown pass over Bismarck High's Jalen Sprecher in the second quarter Friday at the Biesiot Activities Center. (Submitted Photo by Eric Olheiser)

In the first half, Lucas Butts ran his rear end off and gave Dickinson High all it could handle. In the second half, the Midgets nearly returned the favor.

The Bismarck High senior tailback rushed for 243 yards and three touchdowns to lead the No. 2 Demons to a 29-21 win over the Midgets Friday at the Biesiot Activities Center, but the win wasn't sealed until Jordan Sanford picked off Shawn Steffan as the clock expired, stopping the almost comeback.

"We had a lot of opportunities to put some more points on the board and we didn't," Demons head coach Mark Gibson said. "We let a very good football team hang around, and when you do that, nine times out of 10, you're going to come out with a loss. We're very fortunate tonight, very fortunate."

Dickinson's Treven Hopfauf rushed for an 8-yard score with 4 minutes, 7 seconds to play in the fourth, and a two-point conversion pass to Krew Mathern from Steffan brought the Midgets to within the 29-21 margin.

The Midgets then recovered an onside kick from Cam Jorda, but that possession ended when Steffan overthrew Mathern on 4th-and-13. Dickinson forced a punt on the Demons' final possession and took over at its own 38 with 18 seconds remaining.

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Steffan found Austin Wollschlager for a 23-yard gain into Bismarck territory on first down, and then had an incomplete pass to Aanen Moody on the sideline. With 4 seconds remaining, Steffan's final pass was tipped into the hands of Sanford to help the Demons escape.

For the Midgets to fight back to make it a one-score game, head coach John Tuchscherer beamed with pride.

"We have kids that fight when it's not looking good," he said. "We just kept plugging away, and at halftime we challenged them to put ourselves back in a position to have a chance to win and our guys did that. We don't want to be OK with losing, but there's a lot of positives we can take out of this game."

And it didn't look good early for the Midgets.

Bismarck led 26-7 at halftime behind Butts' 204 yards and touchdown runs of 34, 80 and 4 yards.

"He's a straight downhill runner," Gibson said, "and Dickinson put a lot of guys in the box. Once he broke the initial line, there was nothing left."

The Demons also got a touchdown off a 10-yard pass from Will Madler to Jalen Sprecher in the second quarter.

Butts was limited to just 39 yards in the second half, and Bismarck's only scoring drive ended in a 26-yard field goal from Zac Schmidt.

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"It shows other teams that we're not going to roll over easy," said Hopfauf, who finished with 14 yards rushing on six carries with two touchdowns. "We have big hearts, and we're in it to win it."

Dickinson's lone score of the first half came on a 9-yard fade from Steffan to Moody, who battled through coverage to snag the ball at its highest point. That cut Bismarck's lead to 14-7 with 5 seconds gone in the second quarter.

"In the first half, we got the momentum back after it was 14-7, and we didn't capitalize on it," Tuchscherer said. "We let them score the next play. I thought in the second half we did a better job of getting stops and in return our offense put some points on the board."

Hopfauf's 1-yard rush cut Bismarck's lead to 29-13 with 2:51 in the third quarter, and his 8-yard touchdown set up the late-game drama that would unfold.

"We held them to three points in the first half, and that was really impressive," Hopfauf said.

Steffan finished 11 of 24 passing for 142 yards. Moody caught two passes for 40 yards, Mathern had two receptions for 33 yards and Wollschlager caught two for 30. Conner Hoenke led the Mdigets with 44 yards on the ground. Dane Haugen led all players with 10 tackles in the game.

 

Bismarck High 29, Dickinson High 21

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BHS 14 12 3 0 - 29

DHS 0 7 6 8 - 21

First quarter

BHS - Lucas Butts 34 rush (Zac Schmidt kick), 8:53

BHS - Jalen Sprecher 10 pass from Will Madler (Schmidt kick), 2:42

Second quarter

DHS - Aanen Moody 9 pass from Shawn Steffan (Cam Jorda kick), 11:55

BHS - Butts 80 rush (kick no good), 11:36

BHS - Butts 4 rush (conversion no good), 5:24

Third quarter

BHS - Schmidt 26 field goal, 3:36

DHS - Treven Hopfauf 1 run (kick no good), 2:49

Fourth quarter

DHS - Hopfauf 8 rush (Krew Mathern pass from Steffan), 4:07

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: BHS, Butts 31-243, Jarad Rath 7-38, Justin Bergquist 1-12. DHS, Conner Hoenke 15-44, Hopfauf 6-14, Steffan 5-11, Caden Haugen 2-6.

PASSING: BHS, Madler 7-11-0 67 yards, 1 TD. DHS, Steffan 11-24-1 142 yards, 1 TD; Jorda 0-2-1.

RECEIVING: BHS, Jack Sullivan 4-30, Sprecher 2-31, Rath 1-6. DHS, Jorda 3-18, Moody 2-40, Mathern 2-33, Austin Wollschlager 2-30.

DEFENSIVE: BHS, Bergquist 8 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT; Jordan Sanford 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT. DHS, Dane Haugen 10 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery; Jorda 9 tackles; Hopfauf 9 tackles.

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Bismarck High senior running back Lucas Butts, center, is tackled by Dickinson High's Caden Haugen, left, and another Midgets defender during their game Friday at the Biesiot Activities Center. (Submitted Photo by Eric Olheiser)

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