When a top-ranked team plays a winless team, you can pretty much guess how the game will come out.
There were no surprises on that front Friday night in Lake Preston, as the De Smet Bulldogs swallowed the Arlington/Lake Preston Badgers 62-0 in Lake Preston’s Homecoming game.
It doesn’t get much easier for the Badgers this week as Arlington's Homecoming game Friday night will feature the 4-1 Hamlin Chargers, who have lost only to fourth-ranked Florence/Henry.
There are some lopsided games, such as in Garretson the week before, that aren’t quite as bad as the score appears. And then there are some that are. The Arlington/Lake Preston Badgers had to go through one of those Friday night.
The Badgers played hard and never quit, but they were clearly overmatched Friday—and the football gods were not smiling upon them--- as pretty much everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.
The game began with a three-and-out by the Badgers, followed by a shanked, three-yard punt. That gave the Bulldogs the ball at A/LP’s 20, and one play later, running back Kalen Garry was in the end zone.
The two-point run was stopped, however, leaving the score at 6-0 with 10:26 left in the first.
The Badgers got the ball back at their own 23, but lost 10 yards on three plays. The snap on the punt went bad, and kicker Nate Kersting was tackled at the two. One play later, quarterback Colt Wilkinson was in the end zone. This time the Bulldogs passed for two, and led 14-0 with 8:58 left in the first.
A/LP had a little spark of life on their next possession, starting at their own 17 and getting a first down; however, the drive stalled just past the 30, and a fourth-and-eight at the 32 turned into a seven-yard sack.
That gave De Smet the ball at A/LP’s 25. This time it took three plays, with Kadyn Fast scoring from the 21. The pass was good, and with 4:10 left in the first, the Bulldogs were up 22-0.
The next kickoff went short, resulting in relatively good field position for the Badgers, starting at their own 38. But penalties and losses led to a punt which didn’t go well, and the Bulldogs took over at A/LP’s 26.
It might have all been a diabolical plan to limit De Smet’s offensive stats, and if so, it was working. On the second play from scrimmage, Fast took a pitch down the left sideline to score from the 26. The two-point run made it 30-0, with 2:03 left in the first.
A/LP’s next possession saw a little more life, with sophomore Caden Murphy squirting up the middle for 11 but getting concussed at the end. This time the Badgers gave Kersting room and time enough to get off a booming punt.
And so, because Mama said there’d be days like this, Garry brought it back for a punt return touchdown as the first quarter expired. The two-point run was good, and De Smet led 38-0.
The second quarter began with the Badgers starting from their own 10. Three plays resulted in seven yards, but an incomplete pass on fourth down turned the ball over on downs.
The Bulldogs took over at the A/LP 17, but this time the Badgers pushed them back, forcing a fourth-and-13 from the 20. So, of course, Wilkinson hit Rett Osthus for a touchdown. Wilkinson added the two up the middle and it was 46-0 with 8:49 left in the half.
The Badgers went three-and-out and punted. And that resulted in De Smet’s worst field position of the night by far, starting at A/LP’s 46.
With reserves now in, freshman Gannon Gilligan ran for nine, then junior Dylan Zell for 13. Four plays later, Zell scored from the 10 with the two-point pass making it 54-0 with 3:53 left in the half.
The ensuing kickoff was curious, but went in the Bulldogs’ favor, recovered by De Smet at the 50. It took four plays from there with Gilligan scoring from the 17. The two-point pass made it 62-0, with 2:12 left in the half.
The A/LP reserves got the ball back at their own 47, after a good return by freshman Brecken Vossler. On second down, Vossler ran to the left for 34 yards to the DS 20 and then junior Ashton Wienk added 12 more to the eight. But with time running down, a hurried play resulted in a fumble which was recovered by the Bulldogs.
One kneel down later, the half was over, and with it, the game.
The Badgers fell to 0-4 with the loss, while De Smet improved to 5-0.
(And since such games are best forgotten, and the stats were not pretty, we’ll skip that part.)
A/LP 0 0 x x 0
De Smet 36 26 x x 62