It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to bite.
It also didn’t take long for Bowman County to chew up the visiting Nedrose Cardinals in the school’s first home football playoff game and spit out a 48-0 halftime lead.
With most of his top players sitting out the second half, the Bulldogs still cruised to a 55-8 win over the visitors, which sets up a showdown next Saturday at 1 p.m. against Velva.
On their first play from scrimmage at Saturday’s playoff, junior quarterback Jacob Svihovec scrambled for a 62-yard score with 8:44 left in the quarter. He cut to the left, then back to the right to find an opening downfield. With the extra-point, the Bulldogs built a quick 7-0 lead.
The next time the Bulldogs were on offense, it was Adam Powell getting a 53-yard touchdown on the second play of the series and Jaxson Fischer adding another extra-point with 5:59 on the clock.
After Matthew Osendorf grabbed a 53-yard pass from Svihovec, the Bulldogs made the first quarter lead 21-0 with Fischer’s extra-point and 2:38 still left.
The high-powered Bowman County continued to roll over the visiting Cardinals in the second quarter with Jason Ortiz scoring on a 27-yard pass from Svihovec just nine seconds into the quarter. Fischer’s kick made the score 28-0.
Svihovec followed with a second touchdown run, this time from 10 yards out with 6:58 showing on the scoreboard, to make the lead 35-0 with Fischer’s kick.
Caleb Duffield scrambled through the Nedrose defenders for a 65-yard punt return to add the Bulldogs’ advantage. Fischer’s kick made the score 42-0 and 5:08 still left.
The Bulldogs were not finished. With 2:14 left before the break Alex Madrigal scrambled for a 26-yard score to make it a 48-0 lead for the hosts. The extra-point was no good.
With the Bulldogs sending the reserves out in the second half, they added another touchdown in the third quarter when Brody Headley punched it in from one-yard out and Fischer added the extra-point.
The score was set up with Powell’s interception at 5:45 left brought the ball back to the Cardinals’ 10 yard line. Headley followed with three straight carries to score.
The Bulldogs lost the shutout in the fourth quarter when Kelly Eggen broke through the Bowman County defense on the first play on the quarter for a 63-yard score. Nedrose’s Duncan Pryor added the tw0-point conversion to make the score 55-8 with 11:43 left in the game.
Svihovec finished the game going a perfect 4 for 4 for a total 118 yards and two touchdowns – all in the first half.
On the ground, Svihovec picked up another 72 yards on three carries and had two scores.
Powell finished his half on offense with four carries for 102 yards and one score. He also had an interception in the third quarter which set up another score.
Madrigal had five carries for 39 yards, while Headley carried the ball 15 times for 19 yards. Both Madrigal and Headley scored once.
Osendorf led the Bulldog receivers with one catch for 53 yards and a touchdown, while Ortiz had two catches for 39 yards and a score.
Duffield had one catch and one score for 26 yards.
The Bulldogs dominated the offensive stats in all but two categories – total plays and penalties.
The visitors finished with a 42 to 36 edge in plays.
But in total yardage, the Cardinals were buried by a 350-yard explosion. Nedrose finished with 98 yards.
In passing, the visitors were blanked, connecting on zero and getting zero yardage.
The Bulldogs also had a big edge in rushing yards, scrambling for 232 yards to the Cardinals’ 98.
The Bulldogs snagged an interception and recovered a fumble.
The Cardinals had just two penalties for a total of 10 yards. The Bulldogs had four for 44 yards.
Big Bulldog victory
According to Nick Frei, the second-year coach of the Bulldogs, his team came to play in the most important game in school history.
And the team played like it in the first.
“Those are probably the two biggest plays that we have had,” he said, talking about the team’s first two touchdowns on a total of three plays.
“We haven’t had a lot of huge, huge plays this season. We just kind of work it downfield. But, we got better looks than I thought that we were going to have offensively. What would have been a 10 or 15-yard play, they had nobody left (on defense). Our guys just executed. It was a great way to start the game,” he said.
Another thing that helped the Bulldogs was penalties. “We only had two in the first half. We had seven or eight last week. It was really good not to have so many penalties. It shows our kids are playing smarter,” he said.
“Getting off to the start that we did, three and out defensively and score on the first play, you can’t ask for a better start than that. The guys came prepared to play. The first quarter and the first half really showed that.”
The Bulldogs kept some starters in during the third quarter and had mostly reserves in the fourth quarter, the coach said. “In the third quarter, we did a lot of subbing. Tucker (Strand) took all the snaps at quarterback in the second half. There were other guys who didn’t play a down offensively in the second half. That was good to get the younger guys some experience and have them play in this kind of atmosphere (playoffs).”
It also provided the coach with a chance to rest some of his players for the showdown against Velva Saturday.
Velva earned the road trip to Bowman after beating Hazen by a 24-8 margin.
The playoff game and the lopsided win are important to the community, the coach said.
“It is history. It is a new milestone for this town, this community.
“These kids and these kids’ parents have never seen this before. They have earned every bit of it. I can’t be more proud of the way they have played this season and today.
“To be in the state quarterfinals, that is a lot of fun. We know we are stepping into places we have never been before. But the kids are enjoying it. The coaches are enjoying it.
“We knew coming into this year we would have a talented team. But, to be here at 9-0 now, it has been special.
The coach praised Powell, not only for his offensive play but his impact on defense. “He’s a player that makes a lot of plays for us. He did it last year. He even got playing time as a freshman and sophomore, so we expected a lot of things from him.”
The coach is wary of his next opponent, Velva. “They are very, very good. They are fast. They are physical. They are talented. Their only loss of the year is an overtime loss in the fianle. Other than that, they were ranked in the top five in state all year,” Frei said.
“It is going to be a battle here next Saturday.
“They give you a lot of different looks. We are going to have to prepare