Bismarck High didn't have to travel very far to put four first-quarter touchdowns on the board Friday night against the Williston Coyotes.
The No. 3-ranked Demons averaged 31 total yards on their first four possessions, but led 28-0 at the end the first quarter en route to a 55-0 Class AAA West Region victory at the Community Bowl. Bismarck put together touchdown drives of 56, 37, 11 and 20 yards in the first 12 minutes, putting the Coyotes in a huge hole early and sending them to their first region loss of the season.
Bismarck running back Jaxon Ford, who scored three of his five touchdowns in the first quarter, said the defense set the tone.
"Our defense set us up in good field position. They made things so much easier for our offense," said Ford, who rushed for 113 yards and caught a pass for another 44. "They forced a couple of three-and-outs and got a couple of turnovers right away. When you get good field position you have to take advantage. The offensive line did a great job getting us to the end zone."
Bismarck's defense set the tone early and never let up. The Demons (3-1 region, 4-1 overall) held the Coyotes (2-1 region, 2-3 overall) to a mere 16 total yards. All three of Williston's first downs came via three second-half Bismarck penalties.
"I was very impressed with our defense tonight. The kids played fast and flew to the ball," Bismarck coach Mark Gibson said. "We got off to a fast start because they gave us good field position, and a lot of good things can happen when you get good field position."
After Williston went three-and-out on its first possession, the Demons marched 56 yards to paydirt on four plays, scoring on a 5-yard run by Ford with 9:05 remaining in the first quarter. Hunter Johnson followed with the first of his seven extra points.
Another Williston three-and-out and a short punt set the Demons up on the Williston 37, and six plays later, Ford scored from six yards out with 4:52 left in the first.
One play after the ensuing kickoff, Demons' defensive back Cullen Irey picked off a Boston Horob pass and returned it nine yards to the Williston 21. A personal foul penalty on the Coyotes moved the ball to the 11, and after a 6-yard sack and a 3-yard run, quarterback Jordan Mann pitched a shovel pass to fullback Jake Sanders, who took it 14 yards to the end zone. Johnson's third extra point made it 21-0 with 3:20 remaining in the quarter.
Less than a minute later, Bismarck's Tanner Jochim stepped in front of a Hunter Gentry pass and was brought down immediately on the Williston 20. Ford scored on a 4-yard run five plays later, and after Johnson's fourth PAT, it was 28-0 with 58 seconds left in the first quarter.
"That's the kind of start you hope for," Ford said. "We just went out and took it right to them."
The onslaught continued in the second quarter, with Mann and Ford connecting for a 44-yard touchdown pass. Later, Ford capped a seven-play, 56-yard scoring drive with a 1-yard run. Johnson converted both PAT attempts, and the Demons carried a 42-0 advantage into the intermission.
Bismarck opened the third quarter with a 52-yard touchdown march, capped by Lucas Butts' 2-yard run. Kayden Glatt's 1-yard run with 9:50 remaining in the contest closed the scoring.
Gibson said the Demons still have a long way to go, but they're definitely heading in the right direction.
"We did a lot of the little things right tonight, little things that you have to do to win football games," he said. "I liked the intensity, I liked the defense and I liked how our offense took advantage of the opportunities our defense gave them. We've got to keep getting better. There are some tough games ahead of us."