For awhile, Bismarck toyed with a different look in Wednesday's regular season football finale against Williston.
It didn't take the Demons long to settle into their good, old reliable power running game, though. With the devastating ground game came a 56-6 victory at the Community Bowl.
"Bismarck High has always been a running team, and we just wanted to see what we could do (with the pass)," Bismarck quarterback Ben Jolliffe said.
Jolliffe threw four times in Bismarck's first six plays, hitting on none and dealing an interception. Things improved, however, and Jolliffe finished the night 6-for-13 for 96 yards and four touchdowns. He had two passes picked off.
Tailback Layne Johs led a 211-yard ground game, dashing for 100 yards and three scores in 20 carries. Ricky Purtle, Johs' backup, added 93 yards and a TD in 11 carries.
Bismarck's defense had a splendid night, holding the Coyotes to 77 yards total offense and seven first downs. In addition, the Demons had two takeaways.
"I thought the defense was outstanding the entire game," Bismarck coach Mark Gibson said. "... The kids flew around and did a nice job tonight."
Bismarck had a shutout going until the final two minutes. Williston, which hadn't penetrated Demon territory on its first 11 possessions, went 93 yards to score in its final series. Markus Noeske closed the 11-play drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Alex Cundiff.
"A shutout is nice, but the win is important because we get the No. 1 (playoff) seed now," said Demons linebacker Riley Plant.
Plant, who was in on seven tackles, tipped his hat to the play of the defensive backs.
"They're a throwing team ... and the secondary stepped up for us," Plant said.
Noeske entered the game ranked second in the West Region in passing yardage and third in total offense.
Bismarck packed half its points into an explosive second quarter.
Johs scored on a 1-yard run, and Jolliffe threw 10 yards to tight end Dexter Werner to put Bismarck up 14-0 in the first period.
The Demons reached paydirt on all four second quarter possessions.
Jolliffe hooked up with Werner for another 10-yard score to start the eruption, and Johs followed with a 5-yard touchdown run.
Jolliffe went to Devin Schirado for a 44-yard bomb, and Johs scored from a yard out to put BHS up 42-0 at halftime.
Josh Seibel caught an 18-yard scoring strike from Jolliffe, and Purtle dashed 11 yards for a TD in the third quarter.
The 56-point haul matched top-ranked Bismarck's best output of the season.
Bismarck's defense can take much of the credit for the eight-touchdown night.
Bismarck started its first eight possessions in Coyote territory and had first-half scoring drives of 6, 24, 9 and 21 yards.
Plant ranked the Demons' effort a seven on a 10-point scale, not good enough for the upcoming playoffs.
"We need to get focused in a little more, but we've got a week to get ready," he said.
Jolliffe agreed some fine-tuning is in order.
"There was some up-and-down," the quarterback said. "We've got to sharpen up. We'll definitely have to be on top of our game for the playoffs."
The Demons, 8-1 on the year, open the playoffs against the East Region's fourth-seeded team on Oct. 29 at the Community Bowl. Williston finished an injury-wracked season 3-6.
"We are depleted," said Williston coach Jim Klein, who dressed only 27 players. "We lost 10 juniors and seniors ... and most of them were season-ending. We just ran out of guys."
"Take nothing away from Bismarck High," Klein hastened to add. "They're a good football team."
Williston 0 0 0 6 - 6
Bismarck 14 28 14 0 - 56
B - Layne Johs 1 run (Josh Seibel kick), 8:40.
B - Dexter Werner 10 pass from Ben Jolliffe (Seibel kick), :42.
B - Werner 10 pass from Jolliffe (Seibel kick), 8:09.
B - Johs 5 run (Seibel kick), 6:09.
B - Devin Schirado 44 pass from Jolliffe (Seibel kick), 4:23.
B - Johs 1 run (Seibel kick), :38.
B - Seibel 18 pass from Jolliffe (Seibel kick), 7:34.
B - Ricky Purtle 11 run (Seibel kick), 2:44.
W - Alex Cundiff 17 pass from Markus Noeske ( pass failed), 1:24.
First downs 7 18
Rushes-yards 34-22 39-211
Yards passing 55 96
Comp-att-int 4-16-1 6-13-2
Fumbles-lost 3-1 0-0
Punts-avg 6-28 1-38
Penalties-yards 5-35 4-50
Rushing: W - Alex Haaland 7-29, Eddie Maisey 10-25, Paul Michaelson 6-6, Markus Noeske 9-minus 1, Alex Cundiff 2-minus 37. B - Layne Johs 20-100, Ricky Purtle 11-93, Riley Plant 1-11, Kip Jangula 2-6, Ben Jolliffe 1-3, Kelsey Keller 1-0, Coltin Marquardt 1-0, Tyler Bauer 1-0, Koltan Ohnell 1-minus 2.
Passing: W - Noeske 4-16-1, 55 yards. B - Jolliffe 6-13-2, 96.
Receiving: W - Cundiff 2-50, Haaland 1-4, Michaelson 1-1. B - Devin Schirado 1-44, Dexter Werner 3-30, Josh Seibel 1-18, Johs 1-4.
Interceptions: W - Michaelson, Caden Lerbakken. B - Nick Goulet.
Records: Williston 2-4 West Region, 3-6 overall; Bismarck 5-1, 8-1.