Late arrivals at Miller Field Saturday night could be forgiven if they thought they’d stumbled into the wrong game.
Here was the team in maroon throwing the ball all over the field en route to a 42-3 halftime lead.
Could this possibly be the Bismarck High Demons, the team that lives and dies by the run?
Indeed it was. BHS piled up 203 yards and two touchdowns through the air en route to a 56-3 victory over Mandan at Shiloh Christian’s spanking new facility.
All those passing yards came in the first half as the Demons racked up six touchdowns.
BHS quarterback Hayden Gibson earned credit for all that yardage, completing 10 of 15 passes with one interception.
Gibson, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound junior, said the Demons just took advantage of what was before them.
“We just wanted to come out and pass right away,” said Gibson, the son of coach Mark Gibson. “We realized the defense they run exposed the passing game and the line did a really good job up front.”
Gibson peppered the Mandan defense for TD passes of 65 and 30 yards to 6-2 junior wideout Jon Tharaldsen in the second quarter.
Tailback Ricardo Galindo dashed 19 and 10 yards to paydirt, Gibson banged in from a yard out and Jaxon Ford scored on a 15-dash for Bismarck’s other four first-half TDs.
Mandan’s only response was a 30-yard field goal by Payton Schafer in the middle of the second quarter.
Dalton Sanders darted 46 yards for a score and backup quarterback Andrew Kraft reached the end zone on a one-yard keeper for the Demons’ second-half six-pointers.
Gibson, who had a 207-yard passing game against Jamestown earlier in the season, said he enjoyed getting the opportunity to air things out.
“It was fun. Every quarterback loves to throw the ball,” he said. “We usually run the ball, but tonight we came out and threw the ball a little bit.”
Tharaldsen, who now has eight TD catches, is a dream receiver by Gibson’s account.
“He’s got a lot of strength and a lot of speed. He can go up and get the ball. ... He’s all you can ask for in a wide receiver,” Gibson said.
Tharaldsen had three catches for 100 yards on the night.
As impressive as the aerial show was, the ever-present BHS running game ground out 239 yards as the Demons racked up 442 total yards.
Ford, with 98 yards; Galindo with 52 and Dalton Sanders with 48 were Bismarck’s leaders in the ground game.
The BHS defense limited Mandan to 98 yards, just three through the air, and racked up four takeaways.
With the victory, the top-ranked Demons improved to 6-0 with 23 straight victories. Mandan dropped to 0-6.
Bismarck clashes with second-ranked Century Friday at the Community Bowl. Mandan visits Williston this week.
Saturday’s game was originally scheduled for Friday at Faris Field in Mandan. It was postponed due to Friday’s inclement weather conditions. The field hadn’t improved by Saturday so the game was transferred to Miller Field, which has an all-weather synthetic surface.
Mandan 0 3 0 0 — 3
Bismarck 14 28 7 7 — 56
B — Hayden Gibson 1 run (Cole Olson kick), 5:55
B — Ricardo Galindo 19 run (Olson kick) 1:24
M — Payton Schafer 30 field goal, 6:52
B — Jon Tharaldsen 65 pass from Gibson (Olson kick), 6:44
B — Galindo 10 run (Olson kick), 5:07
B — Tharaldsen 30 pass from Gibson (Olson kick), 1:59
B — Jaxon Ford 15 run (Olson kick), :52
B— Dalton Sanders 46 run (Olson kick), 9:43
B — Andrew Kraft 1 run (Olson kick), 11:06
First downs 6 17
Rushes-yards 35-95 29-239
Yards passing 3 203
Comp-att-int 2-15-3 10-16-1
Fumbles-lost 3-1 0-0
Punts-avg. 7-26 1-26
Penalties-yards 6-30 5-40
Rushing: M — Nick Miller 3-39, Trever Leingang 12-29, Cameron Christopherson 12-24, Dmitri Tausend 3-12, Matt Ziemann 2-1, Dustin Hermanson 1-1, Jake Carlson 2-minus 1, team 1-minus 10. B — Jaxon Ford 9-98, Ricardo Galindo 6-62, Dalton Sanders 2-48, Noah DuBord 1-28, Jake Sanders 2-11, Kole Bauer 1-1, Brayden Thomas 1-minus 1, Andrew Kraft 5-minus 3, Hayden Gibson 2-minus 5.
Passing: M — Leingang 1-9-2, minus 4 yards; Jake Carlson 1-6-1, 7. B — Gibson 10-15-1, 203 yards; Kraft 0-1-0.
Receiving: M — Christopherson 1-7, Hermanson 1-minus 4. B — Jon Tharaldsen 3-100, Galindo 1-44, Tanner Hegre 2-37, Ford 1-14, Connor Hellebust 2-5, Jacob Schulz 1-3.
Interceptions: M —Derrick Markel. B D. Sanders, Colton Ford, Hellebust.
Records: Mandan 0-4 West Region, 0-6 overall; Bismarck 3-0, 6-0.
Reach reporter Steve Thomas at 701-250-8244 or firstname.lastname@example.org.