Ground affair: Demons used consistent run game to beat Jays
Bismarck High gave Jamestown a double dose from its dangerous backfield on Friday night.
All-state tailback Jaxon Ford was his usual self and fullback Jake Sanders got into the act, paving the way for the third-ranked Demons' 35-13 West Region win at Ernie Gates Field.
Ford, at 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds, finished with 211 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries, scoring on runs of 13, 2 and 3 yards in the first half.
"It's going good right now," Ford said. "We're really coming together. The guys are stepping up and filling roles. We're starting to become more of a family."
Sanders provided a change of pace, rumbling for first downs and catching passes out of the backfield. The 6-0, 205-pound junior scored a 10-yard TD in the third quarter, ending with 85 total yards on nine touches.
"He runs hard," Ford said. "He puts his head down and gets yardage. That's what we needed."
The stadium turned somber after Sanders was injured on a defensive play early in the fourth quarter. He was down on the field for a half hour, before he was loaded on a stretcher and put into an ambulance.
"A lot of it was precautionary," longtime Bismarck coach Mark Gibson said. "It looks a little scarier than what it is. He had some neck pain, but he was moving his feet and he had feeling in his lower extremities. Credit the medical staff here. They did an incredible job."
Jamestown fell behind 14-0 in the second quarter, as Bismarck's offense picked up steam after a three-and-out to open the game. Keeping Jamestown's offense off the field with long drives was the plan, and Bismarck executed.
"I wasn't real comfortable with our defense trying to stop them," Gibson said. "This is a tough place to play. We'll take it and move on."
The Blue Jays received a 50-yard run from tailback Ben Hanson on a jet sweep that helped set up Andrew Hornung's 8-yard touchdown strike to Noah Wanzek to cut the deficit to 21-7 in the second quarter.
Hanson had a strong night, running 17 times for 138 yards and catching four passes for 50 yards as the Blue Jays piled up 281 yards of total offense including 201 on the ground.
"He really ran hard all night," Jamestown coach Bill Nelson said. "Ben had that look in his eye. And our offensive line did a better job of blocking, and we got some stuff done offensively. We were able to run the ball effectively, but that has to be done on a consistent basis."
Bismarck took the two-score lead into halftime. But a 10-play, 65-yard drive that ended with Sanders' score provided Bismarck with even more momentum early in the third quarter.
"They were just more physical than we were," Nelson said. "We did get a couple stops, but we've got to get over that mystique. ... I've got to do a better job of preparing them. We've got to believe."
Jamestown may have had its most impressive drive of the season early in the fourth quarter, going 82 yards on 11 plays. Three passes to Hanson from Hornung for a total of 45 yards put the Jays in position for sophomore Zack Petrek's 16-yard touchdown run.
Bismarck's next drive was nearly a touchdown, but a fumble at the 1-yard line opened the door for the Blue Jays to cut it to one score. However, Nick Hagen intercepted Hornung around midfield, and the Demons were able to punch it in on the ensuing drive.
"We wanted to run the ball and take time off the clock," said Ford, whose team had 438 yards of total offense. "We were on our heels a little bit in the second half, but we fought and this was a good team win tonight."
The late fumble appeared to be shades of the Dickinson game, when the Demons let multiple mistakes snowball into a loss. However, Bismarck held together against the Blue Jays.
"It was a concern of ours with how we didn't respond in the Dickinson game," Gibson said. "The kids rose to the challenge.
"And Jamestown...their record may be 1-5—that's a pretty darn good 1-5 team."
Bismarck High 35, Jamestown 13
Bismarck 7 14 7 7 -- 35
Jamestown 0 7 0 6 -- 13
B-Jaxon Ford 13 run (Hunter Johnson kick), 3:48.
B-Ford 2 run (Johnson kick), 11:57.
J-Noah Wanzek 8 pass from Andrew Hornung (Ben Hanson kick), 7:09.
B-Ford 3 run (Johnson kick), 4:19.
B-Jake Sanders 10 run (Johnson kick), 8:03.
J-Zack Petrek 16 run (kick failed), 10:58.
B-Justin Bergquist 16 run (Johnson kick), 4:27.
Rushing 325 203
Passing 113 78
Total 438 281
Rushing: B, Ford 29-211, Sanders 7-51, Jordan Mann 5-38, Bergquist 3-25. J, Ben Hanson 17-138, Petrek 9-46, Hornung 8-16, Wanzek 1-2, Seth Kenna 1-2, Jared Harr 1-(-1).
Passing: B, Mann 8-12-1 113, Bradyn Just 0-0-0 0. J, Hornung 8-17-2 78.
Receiving: B, Seth Siverson 4-64, Sanders 2-34, Ethan Hauff 1-14, Ford 1-1. J, Hanson 4-50, Wanzek 4-28.
Turnovers: Bismarck 1 (interception), Jamestown 1 (interception).
Interceptions: B, Cullen Irey, Nick Hagen. J, Noah Wanzek.
Penalties: B 6-40, J 4-30.
Records: Bismarck 3-1 West Region, 5-1 overall. Jamestown 0-4, 1-5.