Blue Jays face another tough test

The Jamestown football team has let a lot of opportunities slip through their fingers this season. Whether it's a fumble following a 40-yard kick return or a dropped pass on fourth down, the Blue Jays haven't been able to make the plays necessary...

The Jamestown football team has let a lot of opportunities slip through their fingers this season.

Whether it's a fumble following a 40-yard kick return or a dropped pass on fourth down, the Blue Jays haven't been able to make the plays necessary to stay competitive.

Today, when they hit the road to play third-ranked Bismarck Century at the Bismarck Community Bowl at 5 p.m., there won't be room for any missed chances.

The Patriots, fresh off their first loss of the season last week to top-ranked Bismarck, have one of the more potent offenses in the state, anchored by an offensive line that features a player Jamestown coach Bill Cahill considers, "one of the best players in the state."

"They're a really good team," said Cahill. "They run the ball well, they throw the ball well and they've got one of the best players in the state in (Conrad) Schwartzkopf."


The senior-laden O-line has helped the Patriots (3-1 overall, 1-1 West Region) average 161.5 yards rushing this season, but they've also been able to keep first-year quarterback Jared Fischer on his feet. The junior has been asked to fill some big shoes after the departure of all-state quarterback Carson Wentz. Wentz is now at North Dakota State after being named last year's Class AAA Senior Athlete of the Year.

But Fischer's emergence this season has made the transition to the post-Wentz era a smoother one.

Fischer has completed 38 of 62 passes for 473 yards and five touchdowns.

So how do you weather an offense that is averaging almost 300 yards per game?

"You're not going to stop them completely," said Cahill. "You have to try and slow them down and hope that they'll make some mistakes on their own that we can capitalize on.

"You have to pick out one thing that you're going to try and stop -- you're either going to try and stop the run or you're going to try and stop the pass, because if you try and stop them both you're going to stop nothing."

The Blue Jays (0-4, 0-2 West Region) have been vulnerable to the run this season, allowing 274.5 rushing yards per game this year, so trying to stop junior running back Ben Kraft could be a tall order for the defense. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound back leads the team with 344 yards on the ground this season and four touchdowns, but he's just one of a handful of running backs that could carry the ball on any given down.

As talented as the Patriots are on offense, there's no decline in skill on defense.


The Demons are allowing just over two touchdowns a game this year, and those numbers are skewed after last week's 27-19 loss to the Demons. Before meeting up with the state's top Class AAA team, Century was allowing just over 10 points per contest.

Offensively, Jamestown is coming off its first scoreless outing of the season, but Cahill credits a lot of the struggles last week to the Blue Jays' ongoing trend of miscues.

"When we had some decent field position or started to get some things going, we self-destructed," he said. "We couldn't complete a pass, and that was a big part of our problem last week. I thought Brady (Anderson) threw some pretty good balls and we just dropped them."

It wasn't just the passing game that couldn't get off the ground last week, but the rushing attack was stalled for most of the game as well.

"It was frustrating, but Dickinson had a good game plan," Cahill said. "They had eight or nine guys in the box, and you're not going to run the ball against that many people. So when we did thrown it and couldn't catch it, it was a wasted down for us."

Jamestown's leading rusher Anthony Cook, after running for a season-high 120 yards against Mandan, was held to just 27 yards last week in Dickinson.

"When you're a team like us you have to be consistent about what you're doing," said Cahill. "You can't make those mistakes and give away an opportunity, because it may not show its face again."

And limiting opportunities has been something Century has been able to do throughout most of the season. The Patriots have allowed just one scoring play of over 30 yards this season, and the team to execute it -- No. 1 Bismarck.


NOTES: Jamestown starting center Cullen Goter is not expected to play because of a torn rotator cuff. ... Today's is Bismarck Century's homecoming game. ... Next week, the Blue Jays will host their homecoming game against the top-ranked Demons.

Season statistics


Rushing 107-382 147-1,098

Yds./carry 3.6 7.5

Passing (comp-att-int) 19-67-7 33-59-1

Passing yards 282 428

Total offense 674 1,526


Turnovers 13 3

JHS individual statistics

Rushing: Anthony Cook 42-203, Brett Mayher 22-97, Tanner Olson 12-39, Tony Smith 4-21, Matt Grounds 6-17, Brady Anderson 18-3, Caleb Ellingson 2-2, Terry Bruns 1-0.

Passing: Anderson 19 for 62, 282 yards, TD, 5 INTs; Grounds 0 for 5, 2 INTs.

Receiving: Willy Marler 11-172, Olson 4-73, Andrew Craig 1-22, Smith 3-15.

Interceptions: Nate Purcell.

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