The Bismarck Demons deployed their Cruise missile offense Wednesday night with devastating effect.
Bismarck wreaked havoc from far away, scoring five times from outside the red zone in a 66-13 football victory over Williston at the Community Bowl.
With its 25th straight victory, top-ranked Bismarck improved to 8-0, 5-0 in the West Region. Williston slid to 1-4 in the region, 1-7 overall.
Quarterback Hayden Gibson had a hand in three of Bismarck’s long strikes, connecting with wideouts Jon Tharaldsen and Tanner Hegre for Bismarck’s first three scores.
Gibson sandwiched touchdown passes of 33 and 30 yards to Tharaldsen around a 32-yard scoring strike to Hegre.
Run-oriented Bismarck scored six times on the ground, including romps of 69, 23 and 11 yards by backup tailback Dalton Sanders.
Ricardo Galindo, region’s rushing and scoring leader, scored once. Gibson and Andrew Kraft, Gibson’s quarterback understudy, picked up the other two running TDs.
There was a time when a pass by the Demons was considered a rarity. Not so this season. Gibson, the regional passing leader, threw for 178 yards, connecting on 10 of 11 throws.
All told, the Demons racked up 443 yards of total offense, 246 on the ground and 197 through the air.
Tharaldsen, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound junior who leads the region in receiving, said it was time to give Galindo, who gained 18 yards in three carries, an easy night.
“We were just trying to give Ricky some rest, and we tried to make some plays through the air to see if we could execute our offense,” Tharaldsen said.
Tharaldsen grabbed three passes for 70 yards, but had to defer to Hegre, who caught four balls for 83 yards.
Either way, Tharaldsen said it’s fun to see the ball take flight.
“It’s fun to throw the ball more this year. It gives me opportunities and I try to make plays for the team,” he said.
Together the two teams connected on 22 of 28 passes. Only one went awry.
Demons linebacker Brody Rohlfs intercepted Coyote quarterback Dillon Brunelle on Williston’s first possession, setting up the first BHS touchdown.
“We read run first, and when they throw the ball behind me, we run upfield,” Rohlfs said. “... And once it tipped off (Carl Juhl’s) hands I dived for it.”
Bismarck tallied three first-quarter touchdowns and four in the second period for a 49-6 halftime lead.
Williston’s only response was a long halfback pass in the second quarter, Bradey Miller connecting with Hyrum Gentry for a 47-yard score.
With a running clock speeding the second half along, Bismarck notched the only third-quarter score.
Miller and Gentry hooked up for an 85-yard strike in the fourth quarter. Bismarck answered with a touchdown and a safety that resulted from a bad center snap with the Coyotes in the shotgun.
Rohlfs said the defense’s goal is always a shutout, but was philosophical about the two Coyote scores.
“We work very, very hard for (a shutout) but if something happens that puts points on the board we just keep fighting,” he said. “... We fly 11 guys to the ball every time and try to not let anything fancy fool us.”
BHS limited Williston to negative yardage on the ground, but had a hard time handling Gentry. The 6-3, 180-pound senior wideout piled up 175 receiving yards on eight catches.
Both teams have a regular season game remaining. Bismarck plays host to Minot on Oct. 25 and Williston visits Dickinson the same night.
The game at the Bowl was the only West Region game of the night. On Saturday, third-ranked Century visits No. 2 Minot, Jamestown plays a pivotal regional game at Dickinson and Mandan travels to Grand Forks Central for a nonregional matchup.
Williston 0 6 0 7 — 13
Bismarck 21 28 7 10 — 66
B — Jon Tharaldsen 33 pass from Hayden Gibson (Cole Olson kick), 9:58
B — Tanner Hegre 32 pass from Gibson (Olson kick), 7:13
B — Tharaldsen 30 pass from Gibson (Olson kick), 2:37
B – Ricardo Galindo 3 run (Olson kick), 9:45
B — Gibson 4 run (Olson kick), 6:16
W — Hyrum Gentry 47 pass from Bradey Miller (run failed), 4:47
B — Dalton Sanders 69 run (Olson kick), 4:00
B — Sanders 23 run (Olson kick), :22
B — Sanders 11 run (Olson kick ), 6:09
W — Gentry 85 pass from Miller (Travis Mannikko kick), 9:22
B — Andrew Kraft 3 run (Kraft run), 2:46
B — Safety, Boston Horob recovered loose ball in end zone, :48
First downs 7 18
Rushes-yards 25-minus 7 33-246
Yards passing 192 197
Comp-att-int 10-15-1 12-13-0
Fumbles-lost 3-0 0-0
Punts-avg. 5-33 0
Penalties-yards 6-53 1-10
Rushing: W — Dillon Brunelle 16-13, Hyrum Gentry 1-8, Bryan Langager 1-1, Austin Arndt 1-minus 1, Bradey Miller 5-minus 8, Boston Horob 1-minus 20. B — Dalton Sanders 6-115, Jaxon Ford 13-52, Noah DuBord 1-35, Ricardo Galindo 3-18, Jake Sanders 2-17, Andrew Kraft 3-7, Brayden Thomas 2-3, Coltin Marquardt 1-2, Hayden Gibson 2-minus 3.
Passing: W — Miller 2-2-0, 132; Brunelle 8-13-1, 60. B – 10-11-0, 178 yards; Kraft 2-2-0, 19.
Receiving: W — Gentry 8-175, Miller 2-17. B — Tanner Hegre 4-83, Jon Tharaldsen 3-70, Jacob Schulz 1-14, Connor Hellebust 2-11, Jake Sanders 1-10, Cullen Irey 1-9.
Interceptions: B Brody Rohlfs.
Records: Williston 1-4 West Region, 1-7 overall; Bismarck 5-0, 8-0.