Fourteen touchdowns, 97 points and 1,054 yards of combined offense. Thursday's Class AAA football clash between Bismarck and Jamestown at Ernie Gates Field was a game that many might not have seen coming.
Sure, third-ranked Bismarck was averaging more than 40 points per game entering and the Jays' offense had already cleared 1,000 yards passing through five games, but the Demons were arguably expected to chew up the clock with its impressive running game against a Blue Jay defense allowing less than 165 yards rushing per contest.
Instead, the Demons scored touchdowns on 9 of 14 total possessions while allowing 306 yards passing to the Jays in a wild 62-35 shootout in favor of Bismarck. Blue Jay senior quarterback Ty Monson completed 11 passes for 187 yards and accounted for four touchdowns -- two passing and two on the ground -- before exiting the game after the final play of the third quarter with an apparent leg injury and Jamestown trailing 48-28.
Bismarck improved to 6-0 and will play top-ranked Bismarck Century (6-0) next Wednesday in Bismarck to decide who'll be the West Region champion. The Patriots dismantled Dickinson 49-6 Thursday night.
"They're just gonna march up and down on us if we can't figure something out defensively," said Bismarck coach Mark Gibson. "I thought (Jamestown) exposed a lot of things and we didn't make very good adjustments.
"The disheartening thing is we spend just as much on defense as we do on offense and so some things have to get better on that side of the football."
Bismarck's big gun -- 6-foot, 200-pound junior running back Isaiah Huus -- was a handful.
Huus carried the ball 12 times for 220 yards in the first half, eventually ending the night with 240 rushing yards and three touchdowns to clear 1,000 yards for the season (1,194, 21 TDs). The all-state back, however, should've scored four times Thursday night.
Huus had the ball swatted out of his grasp by a hustling Jacob Hilgemann before crossing the goal line on a 51-yard jailbreak with the Demons leading 13-7 and eight minutes to play before the half. The ball sailed out the back of the end zone for a touchback.
"I looked down and I coulda swore I saw the line," Huus said. "I put the finger up and I don't know?"
But the Blue Jays would give the ball right back on a fumbled backward pass intended for Jakob Schempp, setting Bismarck up on the Blue Jay 15-yard line. Bismarck receiver Jack Steckler promptly scored on a 15-yard end-around to give the Demons a 20-7 lead and crucial footing before the half.
Following a 51-yard TD pass from Monson to senior tight end Keith Levin that got the Jays back to within a score at 20-14, Bismarck would score three more times over the final five minutes of the second quarter: a 36-yard TD pass and catch from Gunner Swanson to Brandt Kringlie, and TD runs of 71 and four yards by Huus.
Bismarck finished the game with 473 yards rushing on 39 carries. Senior Lucas Miller also cleared 100 yards rushing (112) for the Demons.
"The line created some amazing holes," Huus said. "They went in there and did there job ... a lot of us got a lot of rush yards."
Jamestown scored the first 14 points of the second half, slashing the lead to 41-28 with 5:34 remaining in the third. Monson capped scoring drives of 62 and 64 yards with a pair of one-yard touchdown QB keepers. But later on third-and-4 in Bismarck territory, Monson was hurt on a carry and was helped off the field with 12 minutes to play and the Jays down 20.
"We're so close," said JHS coach Bill Nelson. "We gotta get stops, we know that, but we're doing a lot of good things. The kids could've bowed over at 41-14 at the half, and we came out and said one drive at a time. We were able to put two (touchdowns) on them."
Jamestown sophomore quarterback Payton Hochhalter would see the Blue Jays to the finish line, completing 7 of 11 passes for 119 yards and a seven-yard touchdown completion to Carson Lamp for the Jays' final score of the game. Hilgemann finished with 10 catches for 183 yards, while junior running back Jakob Schempp scampered for 57 yards on 14 carries.
Nelson said Monson was planning to have an MRI on his injured leg Friday, but his status for Wednesday's regular-season finale at Mandan is in doubt.
Mandan (2-3) plays Williston (0-4) today (Friday). Jamestown, Bismarck Legacy and Mandan are all still vying for the West Region's final two playoff spots. Legacy (3-3) plays at Dickinson (1-5) on Wednesday.
"Payton jumped in tonight and did a good job and it's something where we gotta take care of him," Nelson said. "It doesn't matter who's back there, we gotta take care of him. I thought we did some good things on the ground running the ball tonight, it's just we gotta keep battling.
"We got a big game with Mandan next Wednesday and we're gonna prepare like we wanna go to the playoffs."
Swanson -- a senior receiver starting at quarterback for the Demons Thursday night -- completed 9 of 16 passes for 174 yards, giving Bismarck 647 yards of total offense.
"We're all excited," said Huus in preparation for next week's conference title game against Century. "We're ready to just come out and play and show them what we got."
NOTE: Jamestown High School Athletic Director Jim Roaldson said it's likely the Blue Jays will play one final game at Ernie Gates Field next season prior to moving games to a renovated Taylor Stadium. He said plans are pending.
Bismarck 62, Jamestown 35
13 28 7 14 -- 62
0 14 14 7 -- 35
B: Logan Schaubert 17 pass from Gunner Swanson (Carter Henke kick), 9:16.
B: Swanson 1 run (Henke kick failed), 1:22.
J: Jacob Hilgemann 30 pass from Ty Monson (Reece Kleinknecht kick), 11:51.
B: Jack Steckler 6 run (Henke kick), 7:13.
J: Keith Levin 51 pass from Monson, 6:57.
B: Brandt Kringlie 36 pass from Swanson (Henke kick), 5:04.
B: Isaiah Huus 71 run (Henke kick), 2:03.
B: Huus 4 run (Henke kick), 0:39.
J: Monson 1 run (Kleinknecht kick), 8:55.
J: Monson 1 run (Kleinkneht kick), 5:34.
B: Huus 2 run (Henke kick), 3:23.
B: Kringlie 61 run (Henke kick), 10:32.
J: Carson Lamp 7 pass from Payton Hochhalter, 7:52.
B: Lucas Miller 62 run (Henke kick), 6:59.
STATISTICS BHS JHS
Yards 647 407
Rushing 473 101
Passing 174 306
First downs 18 19
Turnovers 1 2
Rushing: B, Isaiah Huus 17-240, Lucas Miller 9-112, Brandt Kringlie 4-76, Jack Steckler 2-39, Hudson Schroeder 3-3, Gunner Swanson 3-3, Traiden Kalfel 1-0. J, Ty Monson 15-59, Jakob Schempp 14-57, Paris Ndikum 3-14, Aden Braun 2-(-2), Carson Lamp 1-(-6), Payton Hochhalter 3-(-21).
Passing: B, Swanson 9-16-0 174, Huus 0-1-0 0. J, Monson 11-21-0 187, Hochhalter 7-11-0 119.
Receiving: B, Kringlie 3-70, Steckler 3-49, Logan Schaubert 2-48, Cade Kivisto 1-7. J, Jacob Hilgemann 10-183, Keith Levin 3-91, Lamp 3-17, Preston Kroeber 2-15.
Records: Bismarck 6-0. Jamestown 4-2.