It’s not uncommon for high school football coaches to fret about their team’s focus on homecoming weekend.
Bismarck Demons head coach Mark Gibson needn’t have worried.
The Demons came out of the chute breathing fire. They racked up five first-half touchdowns and piled up 279 yards of total offense before the break en route to a 44-12 blowout of Dickinson on Friday night.
With the West Region victory at the Community Bowl, top-ranked BHS improved to 4-0 on the season, 2-0 in the region. Dickinson fell to 2-2, 0-2 in the region.
“As a coach you worry about focus — if they’re ready for the game or not. Kids will be kids, but they were pretty focused tonight,” Gibson said. “I’m proud of their effort. … They came out hungry.”
Senior defensive lineman and fullback Thomas Sease said he could tell the Demons were ready when they left the dressing room for the game.
“The coaches and seniors preached all week long about it. They said, ‘It’s going to be a circus out there, and we have to focus on what really matters — the football game.’ We have a great group of kids. They knew what was important this week.”
Tailback Ricardo Galindo, making his 2013 debut, led the way offensively, gaining 185 yards and scoring three touchdowns on 21 carries. Galindo did all his damage in the first half alone.
The 5-foot-7, 160-pound BHS senior sat out the first three games due to a training rule violation.
Galindo said he came prepared and ready to play.
“Even though I had time off I worked really hard and I knew my game would reflect that,” Galindo said.
The senior tailback broke many tackles in the course of the first half, displaying great power for a 160-pounder.
“The power comes from the weight room. … We run a really good weight program at BHS and I take that to heart,” Galindo said. “Hard work pays off.”
Dickinson helped set the stage for its four-touchdown halftime deficit, fumbling twice in its own territory.
Junior safety Brady Rohlfs pounced on a fumble by Dickinson wide receiver Judson Mork in Dickinson’s first offensive possession, giving Bismarck the ball on the Midget 37. Galindo ate up that yardage in four carries, charging through traffic from 7 yards out to give BHS a 14-0 lead.
Another Dickinson giveaway set up Bismarck’s fourth score. Quarterback Charles Splichal and running back Mike Cherwinski failed to make the exchange on a handoff, and Sease recovered the ball at the Midget 30.
On second down, quarterback Hayden Gibson connected with wideout Jon Tharaldsen for a 22-yard TD, and the Demons were in charge 28-7.
Bismarck’s other three pre-intermission touchdowns resulted from drives of 64, 64 and 31 yards.
The Demons took the opening kickoff and charged to paydirt in four plays, the last a 41-yard Gibson-to-Tharaldsen pass-and-run down the right sideline.
BHS took nine plays, all runs, to go 64 yards on its first possession of the second period. Galindo closed out the march with a 10-yard scoring run.
The defense set up the final BHS score of the first half, giving the Demon offense possession on the Dickinson 31. Three runs, the final a 6-yard burst by Galindo, closed out the short drive.
Bismarck marched 70 yards in 10 plays on its first possession of the first half to make it 42-6 and initiate the running clock provision. Gibson sneaked in from a yard out for the final Demon touchdown.
The final points came on a safety with 29 seconds to play in the game. Bismarck defensive back Colton Ford nailed Dickinson running back Tate Martel for a one-yard loss in the end zone. A 48-yard BHS drive that died at the Dickinson 1-yard line set up the safety.
Dickinson scored in the first and third quarters. Splichal hit Ben Twist on a rollout pass from 2 yards out to cut the deficit to 14-6 with 4 seconds remaining in the first period. Cherwinski scored on a 5-yard run to close out an 85-yard march in the third quarter.
Bismarck racked up 414 yards total offense, 338 on the ground. Dickinson, led by Cherwinski’s 86 yards, had 185 yards total offense in 40 plays.
Sease, who had six tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery, said the defense still has a way to go, but Friday’s effort was a keeper.
“Our defense came out hard and came out hungry. We were all on the same page tonight,” he said. “That says a lot about the kids on our defense.”
Dickinson coach John Tuchscherer conceded the two early turnovers put a crimp in his team’s upset hopes.
“We turned the ball over, and we’re playing the No. 1 team in the state. You can’t make mistakes like that,” Tuchscherer said. “… We didn’t make enough plays. Give credit to Bismarck High on that one.”
Dickinson 6 0 6 0 — 12
Bismarck 14 21 7 2 — 44
B – Jon Tharaldsen 41 pass from Hayden Gibson (Cole Olson kick), 9:57.
B – Ricardo Galindo 7 run (Olson kick), 7:30.
D – Ben Twist 2 pass from Charles Splichal (kick failed), :04.
B – Galindo 10 run (Olson kick), 8:46.
B – Tharaldsen 22 pass from Gibson (Olson kick), 7:11.
B – Galindo 6 run (Olson kick), 4:25.
B – Gibson 1 run (Olson kick), 6:54.
D – Michael Cherwinski 5 run (pass failed), 2:22.
B – Safety, Tate Martel tackled in end zone by Colton Ford, :29.
First downs 9 21
Rushes-yards 29-115 58-338
Yards passing 70 76
Comp-att-int 7-11-0 3-4-0
Fumbles-lost 4-2 0-0
Punts-avg 5-36 2-31
Penalties-yards 3-16 1-15
Rushing: D – Michael Cherwinski 16-86, Charles Splichal 9-26, Andrew Heckaman 2-4, Tate Martel 2-minus 1. B – Ricardo Galindo 22-185, Noah DuBord 7-29, Thomas Sease 4-26, Hayden Gibson 4-0, Jaxon Ford 8-22, Dalton Sanders 7-67, Brayden Thomas 4-7, Jake Sanders 2-4, Jordan Mann1-minus 2.
Passing: D – Heckaman 2-2-0, 21 yards; Splichal 5-9-0, 49. B – Gibson 2-3-0, 63 yards; Mann 1-1-0,13.
Receiving: D – Dylan Skabo 2-32, Ben Twist 2-11, Carter Blackwell 2-15, Judson Mork 1-12. B – Jon Tharaldsen2-63, Ethan Hauff 1-13.
Records: D 0-2 West Region, 2-2 overall; B 2-0, 4-0.