It didn't take long for the Southern McLean Rough Riders to get some respect in Bowman Friday.
The Rough Riders used big plays to take an early 6-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
But the Bulldogs hammered the visiting Rough Riders for the rest of the game with big plays of their own to take a 48-12 regional win (Sept. 11). The victory improved Bowman County to 4-1 for the season and 2-1 in Region 4 play, while Southern McLean dropped to 2-3 for the year.
The Bulldogs will host Heart River Friday night in a 6 p.m. contest at Reinhiller Field. The two teams met in first game of the season as a replacement for the COVID-19 canceled preseason contest scheduled with Oakes. The games against both regional foes Heart River and Richardton-Taylor-Hebron were non-counting games and do not count in the regional standings.
Heart River will be in Bowman after losing to Killdeer by a 22-0 score. In other Friday results among regional rivals, the Skyhawks of Shiloh Christian knocked off New Salem by a 35-14 margin and Dickinson Trinity battered Richardton-Taylor, 43-18.
On a third-and-19 play from deep in Rough Rider territory, senior quarterback Caden Germundson hit Garrett Pfleiger with a pass to set the visitors up on the Bulldogs' 29 yard line.
After a penalty moved the team back to the 39-yard line, the Rough Riders hit Pfleiger with a 34-yard scoring toss with 10:24 left in the first quarter. The conversion failed, giving the Rough Riders a 6-0 lead.
The Bulldogs responded on their first drive of the game.
Quarterback Quaid Lardy started the drive with a quick pass to senior Caleb Duffield for close to a first down.
Lardy went back to Duffield again for a big 46-yard gain inside the 10-yard line.
Lardy then went to Clay Heimer for a seven-yard scoring pass that tied the game. Caleb Duffield got the two-point conversion to give the Bulldogs an 8-6 lead.
The Rough Riders got one first down before being forced to punt on a fourth and 11 play.
On the return by Caleb Duffield took the ball to the 50 yard line, but penalties forced the Bulldogs to start at their own 33-yard line.
A pair of hard runs by Colby Schaff gave the hosts a first down at their own 45 yard line.
Lardy followed that with a pass to Heimer for another first down, then hit Heimer again with a 24-yard pass down tot he Southern McLean 19-yard line.
On a fourth-and one on the 11-yard line Caleb Duffield took it to the 10 before slipping just short of the first down marker to turn the ball over on downs deep in Rough Rider territory.
After getting a first down, Germundson tossed a pitch out to Hunter Klindworth for six yards.
But the Rough Riders made their first turnover of the game when another pitch out was fumbled and recovered by Bowman County's Mace Stuber at Southern McLean's 24-yard line with 3:23 left in the first quarter.
But after one rushing play, the Rough Riders recovered a Bowman County fumble at their own 23 yard line.
After an incomplete pass, Germundson went to the air again, only to have the pass intercepted by freshman Bohden Duffield at the 46-yard line with 2:53 left in the first qaurter.
The Bulldogs moved the ball down to the 20 yard line on passes to Caleb Duffield and runs by Schaff, only to turn the ball over on downs again.
Two plays later, Germundson scored again – only it was throwing an interception to Caleb Duffield for a pick-six with just one second left in the first quarter. A failed extra-point attempt left the Bulldogs
with a 14-6 lead.
The Bowman County defense stepped up again forcing the Rough Riders to punt and Caleb Duffield returning it to visitors' own 45-yard line.
Schaff bulled his way through the Rough Riders, taking the ball to the 31-yard line first, then to the 18-yard line on a second straight run.
That set up a 20-yard scoring pass to Schaff running down the sidelines with 8:56 on the clock, which gave the Bulldogs a 20-0 lead. The conversion failed.
The Rough Riders continued to struggle, with Germundson throwing his third interception of the half to Heimer, who brought the ball out to midfield.
After Heimer gave the team a first down reception just inside the 40, the Bulldogs struggled, giving up a sack and and incompletion.
On a third and 13 play, it looked liked the Bulldogs scored again on a 42-yard pass to Brady Senn, only to have the play called back on an illegal shift penalty.
That made it a third-and-23, with Caleb Duffield catching a pass that erased the penalty, but on the fourth down play, the Bulldogs could not convert and turned the ball over on downs.
The visiting Rough Riders used penalties and a fake punt to move the ball into Bulldog territory before missing on a fourth and 12 pass play fom the 50 yard line.
After Schaff moved the ball down to the 38 yard line, then moved it again down to the 31.
The next play was a 31-yard scoring pass to Caleb Duffield, with the Bulldog senior diving into the end zone. Heimer added the two point conversion to give the Bulldogs a 28-6 lead with 54 seconds left in the half.
In the second half, the Bulldogs got the ball first, but after moving into Southern McLean territory, penalties and miscues led to the visitors taking over the ball on downs.
Caleb Duffield caught the punt at the Bowman County 10 and carried it out to the 28-yard line.
A blocking in the back penalty called the play back and set the Bulldogs inside the seven-yard line.
Caleb Duffield took the snap and broke tackles in the backfield before racing down the sidelines for a 93-yard touchdown run with 7:14 left in the third quarter. Heimer caught a pass for the two point conversion, giving the Bulldogs a 36-6 lead.
The Bulldogs made another drive in the third quarter only to see it end inside the five-yard line on a fumble.
It started when Caleb Duffield intercepted his second of the game with 5:32 left in the third quarter, ending a Rough Rider drive.
The visitors were able to take advantage of that turnover in the red zone, moving into Bowman County territory when freshman quarterback Alex Retterath grabbed a 45-yard scoring pass with 8:38 left in the game. The conversion failed, cutting Bowman County's lead to 36-12.
The Bulldogs scored quickly when Brady Senn snagged a scoring pass from 21 yards out with 7:09 left in the game. That gave the hosts a 42-12 lead.
The Bulldogs added one more score when freshman Riggs Rotenburger ran in from 16 yards out through the middle of the Rough Riders' defense with 1:47 left.
According to coach Nick Walker, his young team is still improving and hopes to see that improvement continue when the Bulldogs host Heart River.
With the amount of young guys we played, I am really happy with our team.
“We had four freshmen in starting positions and they stepped up and got the job done,” he said after the game.”
The quick score by the Rough Riders helped the team focus, the coach said. “We were in position to make the play. We tipped the ball up and the (Southern McLean) kid catches it. Sometimes, those things are going to happen in football. The freshman corner playing in his first game... we are proud of him. He did a great job,” the coach said.
He praised the performance of both the offense and defense. “It was a team victory.”
The Bulldogs will face Heart River in the homecoming game Friday evening.
Bowman County 48, Southern McLean 12
Southern McLean 6 0 0 6 12
Bowman County 14 14 8 12 48
Halftime – Bowman County 28, Southern McLean 6
SM – 34-yard pass Germundson to Pfeigler, conv. failed, 10:24
BC – 7-yard pass Lardy to Heimer, Caleb Duffield conv., 9:32
BC – Caleb Duffield interception return, PAT not good, :01
BC – 20 yard pass Lardy to Schaff, conv. failed, 8:56
BC – 31 yard pass Lardy to Caleb Duffield, Heimer conv.
BC – 93 yard run Caleb Duffield, Heimer conv., 7:14
SM – 45-yard pass Germundson to Alex Retterath, con. Failed, 8:38
BC – 21-yard pass Lardy to Caleb Duffield, conv. failed, 7:09
BC – 16-yard run Riggs Rotenburger, conv. failed, 1:47