The Bulldogs looked poised to make another appearance in the semifinals after getting out to a 14-0 lead early against the Bishop Ryan Lions. But turnovers and a porous defensive line let the Lions take over and captured the 52-21 victory.
By Cole Benz
For The Pioneer
The game started to turn late in the first quarter, when just one play after senior Jacob Svihovec picked off their quarterback, he threw an interception himself. Bishop Ryan took advantage of the turnover and scored their first touchdown. They forced a Bulldog fumble and scored again to cut the lead to 14-13.
The Lions took their first lead of the game with about 30 second left in the half on a throw to junior Logan Merk.
The Bulldogs regained the lead midway through the third quarter when Svihovec kept it for a 1-yard run, reaching over the line as he was tackled by a host of Bishop Ryan defenders. Senior Jaxson Fischer kicked the extra point to give Bowman County a 1-point lead.
The Lions would convert on a fourth-and-goal from the 13 yard line on a pass to junior Bryson Elm for another six points to grab the lead. They never trailed the rest of the game.
Bishop Ryan scored 26 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, which included a 38-yard field goal that just hit the crossbar as it passed the uprights of the goal post.
Svihovec has been the focal point of the Dawg offense all year, and Bishop Ryan’s defense went after him hard. Although he accounted for all of Bowman County’s three touchdowns, the Lions intercepted him once and forced three fumbles from the senior. Bowman County’s defense played a big role in their success this year and they two were exposed. Normally a staunch defender of the run, Bishop Ryan ran for more than 211 yards.
With the loss, Bowman County’s season came to an end. They finished with an overall record of 7-1 and went undefeated in region play this regular season. They entered the postseason as the No. 4 overall seed and won their first game 52-0 against Kenmare/Bowbells/Burke Central.
Bishop Ryan will face Velva, who beat Shiloh Christian 14-6.
GAME STATS–Passing: J. Svihovec (6-20-91yds, 1INT); Rushing: Svihovec (27-96yds, 3TD), B. Headley (11-26yds), C. Schaff (2-10yds); Receiving: C. Duffield (5-81yds), M. Osendorf (2-10yds).