Century showed Friday night that the mighty, undefeated Bismarck Demon football team could be had - for 24 minutes.
Bismarck, down 14-6 at intermission, scored three third-quarter touchdowns and romped to a 40-14 victory.
The win was the 17th in a row for the defending state champion Demons, who improved to 2-0 in West Region Class AAA action. Century fell to 4-2, 1-1 in the West.
"This is the fourth ranked team we've played in a row. It was huge," said BHS tailback Jake Miller, who rushed for three touchdowns. "... It was a big win."
Miller reversed the course of events on the first play of the second half, zipping 66 yards to cut Century's edge to 14-12 just 18 seconds into the third quarter.
Once Miller broke through, the BHS offense became a juggernaut, scoring on five of its first six possessions in the second half.
"That definitely changed the whole momentum for our team," said Demons fullback-linebacker Carson Winkels. "We came out flat the first half. There's no question we were flat and we battled through it."
Century head coach Ron Wingenbach said Miller's 66-yard jaunt was pivotal.
"No doubt it was a momentum-changer," Wingenbach said. "I was a little disappointed we didn't come back and regroup."
Miller said his long run was a basic running play the Demons run umpteen times a season.
"It's called 25 counter," Miller said. "Nick Nelson, our pulling guard, came around and got a great kickout block and Winkels filled the hole. I cut to the outside and (wideout Nick) Jolliffe had a nice block on the cornerback. I cut behind him and it was off to the races."
Miller, who piled up 197 yards in just nine carries, followed up with a nine-yard scoring run with 4:18 to play in the third period.
In Bismarck's ensuing possession, Miller darted 35 yards to the Century two-yard line, setting up a scoring QB sneak by Esley Thorton with 2:55 left in the quarter.
Miller ran three yards to paydirt and Channing Mann dashed 23 yards to score as BHS struck for two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Bismarck head coach Mark Gibson said calm prevailed in the BHS locker room after a lackluster first half that included a lost fumble, an interception and a blocked punt.
"It wasn't rant time like some people might think," Gibson said. "We just told them 'relax, you're in for a battle.'"
"A lot of it was field position. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot (in the first half)," Gibson added. "The other part of the equation was to get (Miller) loose. He made some unbelievable runs tonight."
Century scored on its first possession, quarterback Jesse Kartes going deep to Jake Glass for a 77-yard bomb and a 7-0 lead.
Bismarck answered immediately, Thorton hitting Jolliffe with a 36-yard scoring strike. Calvin Krueger's conversion kick was blocked, however, and Century led 7-6.
The Patriots opened a 14-6 lead as the first half ebbed away. Century drove 63 yards in nine plays, Kartes tossing a five-yard scoring pass to Garret Jacobs with just 16 seconds before the break.
Krueger threw for 181 yards and both of Century's scores without being intercepted. The Patriots picked up 188 of their 274 total yards through the air.
Bismarck racked up 413 yards total offense.
The Demons ran for 290 yards. Seven Bismarck plays went for 20 yards or more in the game.
"The bottom line is we have playmakers. That makes our job a whole lot easier," Gibson said.
Wingenbach said the Patriots couldn't match Bismarck's explosiveness.
"That's what it came down to. We had some big plays of our own, but if you're going to beat a team of that caliber you've got to make those plays," he said.
Wingenbach said Century could have been up by as many as three scores at halftime. The Patriots started back-to-back possessions at the BHS 14 and the BHS 46 and came up empty.
"We could have had 21 or 28 points in the first half," Wingenbach said.
Bismarck 6 0 20 14 - 40
Century 7 7 0 0 - 14
C - Jake Glass 77 pass from Jesse Kartes (Jordan Dahl kick), 10:34
B - Nick Jolliffe 36 pass from Esley Thorton (kick failed), 7:24
C - Garret Jacobs 5 pass from Kartes (Dahl kick), :16
B - Jake Miller 66 run (pass failed), 11:42
B - Miller 8 run (Thorton run), 4:18
B - Thorton 2 run (run failed), 2:55
B - Miller 3 run (Calvin Krueger kick), 11:55
B - Channing Mann 23 run (Krueger kick), 4:51
First downs 17 10
Rushes-yards 31-290 29-86
Passing yards 123 188
Comp-att-int 8-12-1 17-26-0
Punts-avg 5-28 3-38
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-2
Penalties-yards 7-53 3-18
Rushing: B - Jake Miller 9-197, Channing Mann 6-49, Esley Thorton 9-43, Carson Winkels 3-4, Kip Jangula 1-1, Dillon Lange 3-minus 4. C - Zach Emil 11-32, Bruce Govig 3-25, Mitch Ohlhauser 5-22, Josh Jahner 2-11, Jesse Kartes 8-minus 4.
Passing: B - Thorton 8-12-1, 123 yards. C - Kartes 16-25-0, 181; Carson Wentz 1-1-0, 7.
Receiving: B - Nick Jolliffe 3-79, Calvin Krueger 2-20, Miller 2-16, Alex Deyle 1-8. C - Jake Glass 4-93, Wentz 3-53, Garret Jacobs 4-24, Zach Rhone 1-10, Kameron Wingenbach 1-7, Meyer Bohn 1-4, Govig 2-0, Max Redmann 1-minus 3.
Records: Bismarck 2-0 West Region, 6-0 overall; Century 1-1, 4-2.