By Tim Huether
Bennett County had some positives in a 21-0 loss in high school football play to Class 11A Hot Springs last Friday night, specifically the defensive effort by the Warriors.
Hot Springs jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead, but the Warrior defense played solid all game long. The last score by the Bison was a late touchdown. Two of the visitors’ scores came with a very short field, the first set up by a turnover, and the last when Bennett County went for it on fourth down late in the game.
Hot Springs scored with 2:29 to go in the first quarter on a short run and added the kick after, then after a Warrior fumble at the nine yard line, the Bison capitalized with another rushing touchdown, this time with 1:42 to play in the first quarter. The kick after was good making it 14-0.
That was all the scoring for the first half with both defenses playing well.
The defenses played well in the second half with the Bison scoring late with the short field, making the final score 21 to 0.
The Warriors ended the game with a nice drive, coming up just short, reaching the one yard line as time expired.
Warrior senior Frank Huber had an interception in the game.
“Games like the last two weeks are won in the off-season,” said coach Tucker Risse. “These kids need to commit to open fields and the weight room in order to win the close games. Jr. High kids, if you want to be successful, get in the weight room now. Do not expect to win without being committed. It doesn’t work that way. Hard work pays off.”
Player of the Week is Weston Ireland.
“We had some breakdowns in techniques and assignments but we only gave up one true drive the entire game to a strong offensive football team which, if you exclude their St. Thomas More game, was averaging 35 points per game and hung 55 on Lead-Deadwood,” said defensive coach Michael Barnaud. “We held them to 14 until the cheap one we gave them at the end with several starters out. Their top receiver/return man had five or six return touchdowns on the year, and he did not get a yard against us, nor did he catch the ball a single time, which is a credit to the work of Jared Harris. We made adjustments and got stronger as the game went on which is a testament to the guts of our players to turn the tide when things were not going our way. Regardless of who we play, we will stand and fight for every inch of the field. The performance was not to the standard, but there has been great improvement throughout the year and our guys deserve praise for that. This next game will test our mettle. They have a dynamite backfield and most people and teams have written us off; we will answer the hard questions about ourselves this Friday in Custer. Things will change in the future. We will not always lose; I guarantee that.”
Defensive player of the game was Jared Harris.
“During the Hot Springs game our offense did some great things, and we were able to get the ball moving up and down the field, unfortunately too many mistakes killed drives,” said offensive coach Anthony Muilenburg. “As an offensive unit, we have to play with more urgency and correct little mistakes that prevented us from being more efficient. Personally, I thought our offensive line provided great holes for our running backs and quarterbacks to run through, and our skill players did a great job of running hard and making plays when given the opportunity.”
Offensive Player of the Game was Weston Ireland.
Rushing: Weston Ireland 19 carries for 33 yards; Mason Heath 14 carries for 19 yards; Tristin Richards 2 carries for 8 yards; Jared Harris 3 carries, 0 yards
Passing: Tristin Richards 2 for 2, 39 yards; Weston Ireland 2 for 7, 7 yards
Receiving: Alex Little Whiteman 1 reception, 22 yards, Jared Harris 1 reception, 6 yards
Defense: Weston Ireland 5 solo, 11 assisted tackles; Ty Allen 4 solo, 3 assisted tackles; Jared Harris 2 solo tackles, 1 pass deflection; Haden Chase Alone 2 assisted tackles; Sam Byrne 2 solo, 2 assisted tackles, 1 sack; Mason Heath 4 solo, 9 assisted tackles; Gabe Fanning 7 assisted tackles; Henry Johnson 3 solo, 4 assisted tackles; Titan Soderlin 2 solo, 3 assisted tackles, 1 sack; Brad Little Whiteman 1 solo, 3 assisted tackles; Coby Mosher 1 assisted tackle; Lyle Cottier 1 assisted tackle; Frank Huber 1 interception