Five first-half touchdowns weren’t enough to extinguish Legacy’s hopes in Friday’s West Region football game against Bismarck. So BHS took care of things quickly, really quickly, in the second half.
Jalen Sprecher ran 62 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the second half to give BHS a 43-22 lead over the visiting Sabers.
Then, 11 seconds later, the Demons found the end zone again.
A high snap eluded Legacy quarterback Jason Hoekstra on the Sabers’ first play of the third period, and the ball was recovered by defensive back Dyllon Sicble. On the next snap of the ball, Sprecher darted four yards to score and the Demons were in command 50-22 with just 31 seconds expired in the second half.
Sprecher, a 170-pound senior speedster who rushed for 184 yards and four touchdowns, said the Demons were determined to come out fast to start the third quarter.
“I think the speech (head coach Mark) Gibson gave at halftime allowed us to regain the fire we had in the first quarter,” Sprecher said.
Sprecher said his long scoring run right after intermission was standard issue, not something that was drawn up at halftime.
“Gibson walked into the dressing room at halftime and said ‘the first play we’re running is 25-counter.’ And it worked,” Sprecher recalled.
With the victory on the Bismarck State College campus, Bismarck remained unbeaten in regional play at 4-0. The Demons improved to 6-1 overall and clinched a AAA playoff berth.
Legacy, 2-2 and 4-2, will have to soldier on in hopes of earning a postseason slot.
Bismarck’s defense surrendered 349 yards, three touchdowns and 21 first downs, but those weren’t the statistics that made a difference to Gibson. He was more impressed with the Demons’ five takeaways -- three by fumble recoveries and two via interceptions. Sicble corraled all three fumbles, while Matt Trolliey and Kenny Winbauer pilfered Hoekstra passes.
“Our defense played super tonight,” Gibson observed. "Field position was in our favor all night.”
Indeed, Legacy initiated just two possessions outside its own 30 all night, one on a takeaway and the other when Bismarck lost the ball on downs in its final series of the night. Leading the BHS defensive effort were Sicble, with five tackles and three fumble recoveries, and linebacker Canyon Stonecipher with eight tackles.
Gibson said the Demons’ fast 1-2 punch to start the second half turned the tide of the game.
“That kind of took the wind out of their sails,” he noted.
BHS rushed for 267 yards and quarterback Will Madler went to the air for 158 yards. Wideout Joe Jahner had three catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns.
Legacy pounded out 254 of its 349 yards on the ground. Matt Kraft, a 205-pound junior, bulled his way to 108 yards in 18 carries.
Bismarck and Legacy return to action Friday. Bismarck meets Century, 5-0 in the region, and Legacy plays host to Williston.
CENTURY 38, DAVIES 25
Century’s miserly defense gave up a couple of big plays in the first half, but returned to form after intermission as the Pariots defeated Fargo Davies 38-25 Friday in nonconference AAA football on the Bismarck State College campus.
The Patriots, down 22-21 at halftime, allowed only three points in the second half, that on Hunter Maloy’s 27-yard field goal as time expired.
The CHS defense set up three of the Patriot touchdowns.
Davies turned over the ball in is first two possessions, enabling Century to take a 14-0 lead in the first two minutes.
Devyn Vance sacked Eagles quarterback Jesse Forknell on the game’s first play and Tanner Thorsness recovered a fumble at the Davies 40. Five plays later, Nathan Kraft scored on a 10-yard run.
Forknell was intercepted by Jacob Schweigert on Davies’ second series, setting the Patriots up just 34 yards from paydirt. On first down, CHS quarterback Jakob Olson hit Kade Lynch with a 34-scoring strike and it was 14-0.
All told, Century had three takeaways and sacked Forknell eight times.
Kraft ran for 116 yards and a touchdown and Lynch caught six passes for 99 yards and three scores.
Davies wideout Nick Tschosik hauled in 10 passes for 234 yards.