The Bismarck Demon offense is a machine, even without one of its most important cogs.
Despite Layne Johs, the West Region's leading rusher, being sidelined with back spasms, the Demons moved the ball at will Saturday in their 49-14 Class AAA football quarterfinal win over Fargo Davies.
Ben Jolliffe and Ricky Purtle had no trouble picking up the extra slack for an attack averaging 43.4 points per game.
Purtle, a sophomore, was more than capable of handling the rushing chores, carrying 19 times for 175 yards and three touchdowns.
Jolliffe, a junior quarterback, kept things running smoothly, completing nine of 13 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns.
"Johs not playing was a big concern," Bismarck coach Mark Gibson said. "I think Ricky Purtle came in and did a great job for us. I thought our quarterback played extremely well today. We need him down the stretch here."
Jolliffe said dominance up front was the key factor for Bismarck (9-1).
"Our line really stepped up," Jolliffe said. "We got a new back, and our line really opened up some holes for him. (Purtle) just ran through them."
Gibson said he was nearly 100 percent certain that Johs will be back in the lineup Friday when the top-ranked Demons play host to No. 3 Mandan in the semifinals.
Against the overmatched Eagles, who finished 2-8, he wasn't really needed.
The Demons started their first drive on the Davies 43 after Riley Plant partially blocked a Davies punt. Bismarck made quick work of the short field, grabbing the lead on a 6-yard run by Purtle.
A long return by Marcus Welk on the ensuing kickoff gave Davies good field position. The Eagles took advantage with a 53-yard scoring march, culminating in a 1-yard score by workhorse running back Connor Camrud.
It didn't take long for the Demons to regain the lead. One play after a Jolliffe touchdown scramble was negated by a penalty, Brett Adam scampered in from 13 yards out, making it 14-7.
When another promising Davies march bogged down inside the Bismarck 20, the Demons took command.
Jolliffe hooked up with Dexter Werner on an apparent 78-yard touchdown pass, only to have another flag bring it back. The Demons shrugged off that setback and found the end zone again on Purtle's second touchdown, a 4-yard run.
The penalties were a concern early.
"We've got some things we need to clean up," Jolliffe acknowledged.
Jolliffe led the Demons to another quick score before the half. The junior hit Adam for a 29-yard completion, then found Werner for gains of 21 and 14 yards, the latter increasing Bismarck's lead to 28-7 heading into intermission.
"I thought (Jolliffe) was very calm, cool and collected in the pocket," Gibson said. "He did a very nice job running the offense. The big one was right before half. He took us down the field in our no-huddle offense and did an extremely good job."
The Demon starters were in for just nine plays in the second half, picking up first downs on seven of them and scoring two touchdowns. Devin Schirado went high for a 30-yard grab for the first score, and Purtle scored from the 2 on the second.
Sandwiched in between those drives was a pick-six by Werner. The 6-foot-5 senior reached up a big paw to snare a Matt Schumacher pass and lug it in from 15 yards out.
"Werner and Schirado and the big playmakers made their plays," Gibson said.
The Demons will need more of that next week if they are to avenge their only setback of the season, a 20-19 loss to Mandan.
Fargo Davies 7 0 0 7 - 14
Bismarck 14 14 21 0 - 49
B - Ricky Purtle 6 run (Josh Seibel kick), 8:27
FD - Connor Camrud 1 run (Alvin Ekic kick), 4:52.
B - Brett Adam 13 run (Seibel kick), 2:22.
B - Purtle 4 run (Seibel kick), 7:00.
B - Dexter Werner 14 pass from Ben Jolliffe (Seibel kick), :55.
B - Devin Schirado 30 pass from Jolliffe (Seibel kick), 10:30.
B - Werner 15 interception return (Seibel kick), 8:47.
B - Purtle 2 run (Seibel kick), 1:03.
FD - Riley Hegland 1 run (Ekic kick), 2:33.
First downs 14 24
Rushes-yards 42-139 34-305
Passing yards 99 163
Passing 9-16-2 9-13-0
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Punts-avg 3-29.0 1-39.0
Penalties-yds 6-50 6-50
Rushing: FD - Connor Camrud 21-68, Jordan Hjelseth 9-38, Michael Nemer 4-23, Riley Hegland, 4-20, Zander Mairs 1-9, Marcus Welk 1-(minus-5), Matt Schumacher 2-(minus-14). B - Ricky Purtle 19-175, Kip Jangula 4-49, Isaac Walth 1-25, Coltin Marquardt 5-16, Noah Dubord 1-15, Ben Jolliffe 1-13, Brett Adam 2-12, Kole Bauer 1-0.
Passing: FD - Schumacher 9-16-2, 99 yards. B - Jolliffe 9-13-0, 163.
Receiving: FD - Camrud 3-38, Cayden Barta 2-31, Eric Peterson 2-30, Hjelseth 1-4, Hegland 1-(minus-4). B - Devin Schirado 4-74, Werner 4-60, Adam 1-29.
Interceptions: B - Brandon Schmid, Werner.
Records: FD 2-8; B 9-1.