By Tim Huether
Bennett County’s defense has been tough all year, and they showcased their talents last Friday night in Hot Springs with a 20-6 road win, allowing only a passing touchdown with just 5.1 seconds to go in the first half.
That would be the only bright spot for the Hot Springs team as Bennett County kept them out of the end zone the second half with big play after big play. Warrior sophomore Mason Heath had several big tackles for loss for the Warriors, with 3 quarterback sacks, 1 forced fumble and a team leading 11 tackles.
The Warriors as a team had 11 sacks in the game, 2 interceptions and three fumble recoveries.
Hot Springs started the game with the ball first but that drive ended quickly with an interception by Warrior Ace Hahn at mid-field, returned to the 30 for excellent starting field position for the Warriors.
Hahn had an excellent night on the field, with 3 receptions for 52 yards and a nice pass deflection late in the game on defense that likely saved a touchdown by the Bison.
Hahn took a Kaedom Jack pass for 24 yards to the Hot Springs 15 but Jack was then intercepted at the 12, setting up the Bison at the 39 of Bennett County on a nice return.
The Warrior defense stepped up and delivered a big hit, resulting in a Bison fumble on the next play, putting Bennett County in business at the 45.
Jack and Hahn connect again on a deep pass for 28 yards, setting up a first down at the 18. The Warriors would drive to the 4 yard line but fumble it back to the Bison at the 6 with 4:57 to go in the first quarter.
The defense again held and the Bison punted from the end zone, setting up the Warriors at the 34 of Hot Springs.
Trevin Vasquez checked in as quarterback and promptly fired a 32 yard touchdown pass to Deryck Two Bulls with 1:01 to go in the quarter, putting the Warriors on the scoreboard first. The pass for conversion failed making it 6-0.
With 7:28 to go in the half, the Warriors defense forced a Hot Springs fumble, putting the ball at the 35 of Hot Springs. Vasquez and Two Bulls connect again, this time for a 35 yard touchdown pass with 7:15 to go in the half to make it 12-0. The run for conversion was stopped short.
Hot Springs looked to steal the Warriors momentum by scoring on a short touchdown pass from Brynn Thompson to Garrett Rhoe with 5.1 seconds to go in the half. The kick after was blocked, keeping it at 12-6.
Bennett County didn’t take long to steal back the momentum as Two Bulls picked up a dribbling kick at the 35 and sprinted around the left end for a 65 yard touchdown as time expired in the half. Vasquez tossed a pass to Ace Hahn for the two point conversion, making it 20-6 going into halftime.
Both teams played good defense in the second half with the Warriors getting big plays out of several players. Haden Chase Alone intercepted the Bison at the 5 yard line with 1:43 to play in the third quarter; Ace Hahn made a leaping knockdown of a Bison pass near the goal line that likely saved a touchdown; Mason Heath made several big hits for loss.
With neither team scoring in the second half, the Warriors won the game 20-6 and improved to 2-3 on the season. They face Custer this Friday for Homecoming with game time set for 6:30 p.m.
“This one felt really cool,” said head coach Michael Barnaud. “The pure joy and ecstasy on guys’ faces at the end of the game was worth all the pain of the past three weeks. Guys gutted it out through hard times when it wasn’t easy to be a part of this team. The ones that are still standing are champions and they played like it last Friday.
“Hot Springs is a team that has always had Bennett County’s number,” added Barnaud. “The two previous meetings in the past few years ended 45-0, 44-0 and then this past year we slugged it out to a 21-0 loss, so to go up there and dominate them on their home field like that was a great moment. We sacked them 10 times (11 if you count the intentional grounding call) and our offense moved the ball consistently all night. As with each week, that unit understands more and continues to improve.”
“Defensively, we battered them,” stated Barnaud. “Really no other way to say it. When you sack a team 11 times and force four turnovers, you had a good day at the office. So many guys played well. Ace Hahn had a revelation day forcing the first turnover (INT on their second play and forcing a fumble we recovered on their next drive), Ty Allen came back from a rough couple weeks and did a great job on the edge in the 4th quarter, Sam Byrne was a problem all evening with just his size, length and toughness-all reasons we play him on the strong side of formations. The player of the game defensively though has to go to Mason Heath who played one of the greatest games I’ve ever seen a linebacker play. He brings the kind of attitude, intensity and passion to the position that is required for elite status and his leadership is incredible for a kid who is only a sophomore.”
“Our Overall Player of the Game is Ace Hahn,” said Barnaud. “He was a sensation on both sides of the ball with huge splash plays on defense and spectacular catches down field. A breakout performance for that kid and I couldn’t be happier for him.”
“Now we shift our focus to Custer, another team that has had BC’s number for years. Their running back is huge and fast, they play tough team defense and they’re aggressive. It will be a great challenge, a huge game for us and it couldn’t come at a better time but homecoming,” continued Barnaud. “Our boys will be ready. “
“It was a great team win,” said offensive coach Arthur Brown. “We had many players who were injured. We prepare for sudden changes all season with players learning multiple positions in case we get in those situations. It was great for us to adapt.
“Our Offensive Player of the Week is between Ace Hahn and Deryck Two Bulls,” said Brown. “Ace started us off with amazing catches and being a dude for us. After we lost our first and second string quarterbacks, he was able to step in at QB and finish out the game for us. Deryck Two Bulls showed how explosive of an athlete he is with two touchdowns by torching the secondary. Multiple catches and a kickoff return for a touchdown. These two guys balled out and gave us an opportunity to win this game early. Also, Trevin Vasquez threw two touchdowns before he was injured in the 3rd quarter. Overall great win for the guys.”
Rushing: Mason Heath 14 carries, 58 yards; Trevin Vasquez 7 carries, 5 yards; Haden Chase Alone 2 carries, 4 yards; Ace Hahn 8 carries -2 yards; Alonzo Lamont 1 carry, 4 yards
Passing: Kaedom Jack 5 for 7, 86 yards, 1 interception; Trevin Vasquez 2 for 7, 67 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 pass for conversion; Ace Hahn 0 for 2
Receiving: Deryck Two Bulls 4 receptions, 101 yards, 2 touchdowns; Ace Hahn 3 receptions, 52 yads, 1 conversion
Kick return: Deryck Two Bulls 65 yard touchdown
Defense: Haden Chase Alone 3 solo, 4 assisted tackles, 1 interception, 1 kick block; Kaedom Jack 2 solo, 1 assisted tackle; Trevin Vasquez 2 assisted tackles; Sam Byrne 1 solo, 2 assisted tackles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 pass deflection; Ace Hahn 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception, 1 pass deflection; Mason Heath 4 solo, 7 assisted tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble; Elijah Johnson 5 assisted tackles; Henry Johnson 2 assisted tackles; Brad Little Whiteman 1 assisted tackle, 1 sack; Alex Little Whiteman 4 assisted tackles, 1 sack; Alonzo Lamont 3 solo tackles 6 assisted tackles, 1 fumble recovery; Ty Allen 2 assisted tackles, 2 sacks; Brandon Babby 1 solo tackle