Battle of unbeatens: Blue Jays prepare for top-ranked Patriots
Jamestown High School hasn't knocked off a top-ranked Bismarck Century football team since the 1994 Class A state playoffs.
The Blue Jays (4-0) will get a chance to end that 26-year streak this Friday in Bismarck playing at top-ranked Century (4-0), but Jamestown will need a much better start than the one put forth in its eventual lopsided 36-8 win over rival Valley City at home on Sept. 25.
The Blue Jays stalled on its first four drives against the Hi-Liners, playing to an 8-8 tie at the half before erupting for 28 points after the break. Jamestown most likely won't have that kinda time to regroup this weekend against the Patriots.
Winners of 16 straight following last year's road to an undefeated Class AAA state championship, Century has so far outscored the opposition 73-0 in the first quarter this fall, en route to wins over Bismarck Legacy, Mandan, Minot and Williston.
"It's been a big point of emphasis for the last two weeks," said JHS football coach Bill Nelson. "If we have a lapse in the first half like we didn't against Valley City we could be in for a really long night.
"The kids know how important it is to come out strong right away and play a full four quarters."
Century's ability to jump ahead early in games has allowed it to control tempo and possession. A total of 947 of the team's 1,106 yards of total offense have come on the ground, with returning all-state running back Cade Garcia averaging 6.2 yards per carry. Garcia already has nine rushing touchdowns after leading the West Region in rushing scores last year with 16.
Century's offensive line is anchored by 6-foot-6 Kansas State football commit Andrew Leingang, but Nelson said he's also been impressed with the play of 270-pound junior lineman Lucas Schweigert.
Century has only attempted 29 passes all season.
"We've been fortunate to put some points on the board early to kinda dictate a little bit how we want to play the game for the remaining part of it," said Bismarck Century football coach Ron Wingenbach. "It's afforded our offensive side of the ball the opportunity to be able to control and manage the time on the clock as well if we need to. I think the capability to be able to control the clock is so important in high school and anytime you have a ground game that allows you to do that you have to take advantage of it."
Wingenbach said Jamestown's balanced offense -- 914 passing yards, 520 rushing yards -- will present challenges in defending. The Patriots are allowing nearly 170 passing yards per game to opponents but are limiting opposing running backs to just 2.53 yards per carry.
Blue Jay senior quarterback Ty Monson is averaging over 221 yards per game throwing the football and has a stable of solid receiving weapons in Preston Kroeber, Jacob Hilgemann, Carson Lamp and Keith Levin. A veteran offensive line is giving Monson and the Blue Jay offense the time and protection it's needed to open at 4-0 for the first time since 2000.
"They've been very efficient with the pass and I think their quarterback's got the capability of running the ball as well," Wingenbach said. "We're going to get a lot more balanced offensive attack versus the Jays and so that's a concern.
"Defensively we're going to have to go sideline to sideline and defend the whole width of the field."
The Patriots most recently upended Williston 71-0 but were locked in a much closer battle with Minot on Sept. 26 before winning 22-16. Jamestown defeated Minot 19-9 on Sept. 4, it's first road win in Minot since 1959.
"Our margin of error is very small," Nelson said. "We've gotta come out and do what we can do and take advantage of some opportunities when we have those opportunities. It doesn't get much better than going over there and taking on a No. 1."
Since leaving the Class A East Region following the 1996 football season, the Blue Jays are 4-17 against the Patriots and are winless in the last 11 meetings between the two teams dating back to 2007.
A victory would move Jamestown to 5-0 for the first time since '94 -- the last time it knocked off a No. 1-ranked Century football team.
"They're a darn good football team, don't get me wrong. They've been able to wear teams out on the ground," Nelson said. "But we're going to come out swinging and give it our best effort. It should be a heckuva football game."
NOTES: JHS junior wide receiver/cornerback Adam Kallenbach is back at practice this week after suffering a broken collarbone last month but isn't expected to be cleared for contact for at least another couple of weeks. ... The Blue Jay JV football team improved to 3-1 on Monday with a 6-0 victory over Bismarck Century at Ernie Gates Field.
(RV) JAMESTOWN @ (1) BISMARCK CENTURY, OCT. 9, PREVIEW
JAMESTOWN BLUE JAYS (4-0) SEASON STATISTICS
STATISTICS JHS OPP
Total yards 1,434 1,056
Passing yards 914 499
Passing ypg 228.5 124.75
Completions/Att. 55/83 42/80
Completion % 66.27% 52.5%
Passing TDs 10 1
Rushing yards 520 557
Rush plays/avg. 136/3.82 151/3.69
Rushing TDs 5 6
3rd down conv. 16 (42.11%) 17 (35.42%)
4th down conv. 7 (77.78%) 7 (43.75%)
First downs 75 55
Turnovers 4 7
Sacks 5 8
Passing: Ty Monson 54-81-2 885, 10 TDs.
Rushing: Austin Kessler 51-267, Monson 56-147, Jakob Schempp 20-84.
Receiving: Preston Kroeber 19-264, Jacob Hilgemann 9-213, Keith Levin 3-138, Carson Lamp 6-98, Adam Kallenbach 6-88, Brode Hillstrom 4-61, Schempp 6-29, Kessler 2-23.
Tackles (solo): Colton Mewes 30 (18), Matt Anderson 23 (12), Aden Braun 21 (10), Monsoon 16 (8), Joel Bowman 16 (14), Carter Burchill 14 (8).
Sacks: Kessler 2, Monson, Paris Ndikum, Anderson
TFL: Anderson 5, Kessler 4, Ndikum 3, Mewes 3, Levin 3.
Fumble recoveries: Payton Hochhalter, Mewes.
Interceptions: Bowman, Burchill, Ndikum, Kessler, Kroeber.
JHS SPECIAL TEAMS
Kickoff returns: Jakob Schempp 7-117, Kroeber 2-37, Hilgemann 1-21.
Punt returns: Preston Kroeber 2-5.
Extra-point kicks: Reece Kleinknecht 7-7, Levi Korum 4-4, Kallenbach 1-2.
Punts (average): Monson 12 (25.75).
BISMARCK CENTURY PATRIOTS (4-0) SEASON STATISTICS
STATISTICS BCHS OPP
Total yards 1,106 984
Passing yards 159 678
Passing ypg 39.8 169.5
Completions/Att. 12/29 46/91
Completion % 41.4% 50.5%
Rushing yards 947 306
Rush plays/avg. 152/6.25 121/2.53
Turnovers 2 3
Passing: Noah Schaffner 12-28-1 159, 2 TDs.
Rushing: Cade Garcia 80-499 (9 TDs), Peyton Arndt 15-217, Schaffner 32-115, Seth Nelson 8-47, Trevor Ragan 5-46.
Receiving: Ian Ely 4-68, Brock Johnson 3-37, Noah Fosland 2-27, Thomas Jeske 2-16.
Tackles (solo): Maguire Martin 31 (15), Lucas Schweigert 28 (15), Alex Schmidt 23 (11), Andrew Leingang 19 (10).
Sacks: Thomas Jeske 2, Leingang 2, Martin, Schweigert.