Bismarck Demons tailback Layne Johs came up big Friday night, bulling and dashing his way to 223 yards and three touchdowns.
Johs was the big numbers guy in Bismarck’s 40-6 blowout of Devils Lake in a matchup of 2-0 teams at the Community Bowl.
Yet according to Johs’ way of thinking, the offensive line came up even bigger.
“The offensive line usually gets the first 10 yards, (fullback) Riley Plant usually makes a key block at about 10 to 12 yards and I’m usually open from there,” Johs said.
Johs, a 5-foot-11, 210-pound senior, triggered Bismarck’s surge to a 26-0 halftime lead with touchdown runs of 59, 14 and 23 yards.
Brett Adam broke a swing pass 54 yards down the right sideline in the second period for the top-ranked Demons’ other first-half tally.
Two-way starter Riley Plant, a fullback-linebacker notched the fifth BHS 6-pointer just seconds into the second half, returning an interception 22 yards to paydirt.
Bismarck’s final touchdown was easily the most impressive.
Devils Lake was threatening at the Demon 25-yard line when picked off a Nathan Mertens pass. Adam wrestled the ball away from Brady LaMotte at the BHS 1-yard line with 7:31 remaining in the third quarter.
Bismarck proceeded to march 99 yards in 12 plays, 11 of them on the ground, for a 40 lead.
“It is fun pounding the ball,” 205-pound BHS guard Jamie Thorson said of the long drive. “It’s a good feeling getting 5 yards a pop. Layne did a nice job of finding a seam and breaking some long runs.”
Indeed, Johs carried four times for 40 yards in the 99-yard march, which consumed 7:04.
Devils Lake broke through against Bismarck’s reserves with 5:09 to play. Backup quarterback Wil Boehmer hit Austin Erickson with a 6-yard scoring pass to close out a 12-play, 69-yard march.
Plant said the Bismarck starters aren’t dreaming up any special tortures for the reserves for surrendering a score.
“Everyone wants a shutout,” said Plant, a two-way regular at linebacker and fullback. “But when the starters get out stuff happens. That’s all right, though.”
Johs’ 223-yard effort, a personal best, paced a 471-yard BHS attack, 349 of it on the ground. The Demons racked up 23 first downs and punted twice.
Devils Lake managed just 12 yards on the ground and 94 yards total offense. Three quarterback sacks — two by Tommy Sease — put a 22-yard dent in the Firebird offensive statistics.
Plant said Bismarck’s 3-0 start is all history now. Next Friday the Demons open West Region play by playing host to archrival Century at the Bowl.
“These first three games help us get ready for next week. It’s a big game for us,” Plant observed.
Interim head coach Dale Colby said the offensive line was particularly impressive against Devils Lake.
“Our offensive line executed very well tonight. ... They’ve still got a lot of improving to do, but Friday night is their payoff. They get to see where they’re at,” Colby said.
Devils Lake 0 0 0 6 — 6
Bismarck 6 20 14 0 — 40
B — Layne Johs 59 run (kick failed), 9:06.
B — Johs 14 run (Josh Seibel kick), 6:26..
B — Brett Adam 54 pass from Ben Jolliffe (Seibel kick), 3:17
B — Johs 23 run (kick failed), 1:06.
B — Riley Plant 22 interception return (Seibel kick), 11:38.
B — Johs 8 run (Seibel kick), 6:52.
B — Jolliffe 1 run (Seibel kick), :27.
DL — Austin Erickson 6 pass from Wil Boehmer (kick failed), 5:09.
First downs 10 23
Rushes-yards 30-12 37-349
Passing yards 82 122
Comp-Att-Int 6-16-2 6-13-1
Punts-avg 5-37 2-27
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-0
Penalties-yards 1-5 6-60
Rushing: DL — Austin Schall 19-26, Dallas Anderson 3-3, Blake Prozinsii 3-3, Nathan Mertens 5-minus 20. B — Layne Johs 15-223, Ricardo Galindo 6-61, Riley Plant 6-35, Coltin Marquardt 5-22, Kelsey Keller 1-7, Alex Seibel 1-1, Ben Jolliffe 2-1, Hayden Gibson 1-minus 1.
Passing: DL— Mertens 5-15-2, 76 yards; Wil Boehmer 1-1-0, 6. B — Jolliffe 6-13-1, 122 yards.
Receiving: DL — Chase Johnson 2-33, Brady LaMotte 1-20, Prozinski 1-16, Landyn Swenson 1-7, Austin Erickson 1-6. B — Brett Adam 1-54, Tyler Unruh 2-29, Justin Thorson 2-27, Nick Kottre 1-12.
Interceptions: DL — Gabe Schmidt. B — Plant, Adam.
Records: Devils Lake 2-1 overall; Bismarck 3-0.