No bag of tricks here.
Bismarck went to what’s tried and true – hard-nosed defense and a punishing running game – to claim a 35-0 Class AAA home football victory over Fargo South on Friday night.
The victory boosted Bismarck, the third-ranked AAA team in the state, to 2-0 on the year. Fourth-rated South slipped to 1-1. Both teams begin regional play next week.
Lucas Butts, the Demons’ 6-foot-2, 220-pound tailback did the heavy lifting for the ground game, grinding out 123 yards and three touchdowns in 22 carries.
The Bismarck defense, meanwhile, limited the visiting Bruins to 35 yards on the ground in 18 attempts. South went to the air for 122 yards on 36 tries. The Bruins were intercepted once.
Bismarck scored in every quarter.
Butts got thing going the first time the Demons had the ball. A 26-yard punt return by Matt Schaner gave BHS possession at the South 18, and Butts closed out a short drive with a nine-yard run.
The Demons scored on another short march to start the second period.
South turned the ball over on downs at its own 29 on the first play of the second quarter and BHS immediately pounced, scoring in two plays. Butts covered the final 16 yards, Zac Schmidt booted his second of four conversion kicks and the Demons led 14-0.
Bismarck covered 68 yards in four plays, including a 43 run by Jalen Sprecher and a 20-yard dash by Butts, to score late in the second quarter. Butts smashed in from one yard out to give BHS a three-touchdown lead at the half.
The Demons opened the second half with an impressive 14-play, 63-yard march that ate 5:33 off the clock and culminated in a three-yard scoring run by Sprecher.
A South fumble set up the final BHS score in the fourth quarter. Taking possession on the South four-yard line, the Demons scored in two plays, the second a two-yard run by fullback Jared Rath.
Butts, who rushed for over 200 yards in the Demons’ 32-13 season-opening victory over Fargo Davies, said he was good because his offensive line was dynamite.
“Our line play was really good. I give all the credit to the offensive line,” he said. “They had a heck of a night. … South is a good football team, but our offensive line was just outstanding. And our defense obviously had a good night. Hats off to them.”
BHS coach Mark Gibson said the BHS defense has played terrific football through the first fortnight of the season.
“Both weeks the defense has played outstanding,” he said. “I think Fargo South is better offensively than Davies, but our secondary play was outstanding tonight, and so was our tackling. Those two things can take you a long way.”
Bismarck opens West Region play next Friday at Dickinson. South plays host to top-ranked West Fargo.