The Bulldogs began post-season play on Thursday in De Smet. The playoffs are a little different this year with no regions, but a straight 16 team seeded tournament format. De Smet (8-0) is the #4 seed in class 9A, and they took on the #13 Britton-Hecla Braves (3-5).
The Bulldogs won the coin toss, but deferred to the Braves, and began the game on defense. They forced a quick punt by Britton-Hecla, and Rett Osthus returned the punt 63 yards, all the way to the 9-yard line. De Smet handed off twice to Tory Holland, and on third down he was in for a Bulldog touchdown. Colt Wilkinson’s pass to Gannon Gruenhagen was good for the 2-point conversion, and De Smet led 8-0.
The Bulldog defense forced another Britton-Hecla punt, and De Smet began their second drive at midfield. After a run by Osthus, a pass from Wilkinson to Osthus, and a pass interference penalty by the Braves, Holland again ran for a 22-yard touchdown for De Smet. Wilkinson rushed for the 2-point conversion, and the score was 16-0 early in the first quarter.
Britton was able to put some offense together on their next drive, however, and scored a touchdown on a 45-yard run by quarterback Aiden Fredrickson. Their 2-point try failed, and De Smet led 16-6.
De Smet marched quickly back down the field with runs by Osthus and Wilkinson, and a pass to Kalen Garry. Osthus finished it out with a 45-yard touchdown run. Wilkinson took it in for 2, and the Bulldog lead was 24-6, ending the first quarter.
De Smet got the ball back again after a Britton Hecla punt. Wilkinson had a long run to the 3-yard line, and was able to take it in himself on the next play. Holland ran for the 2-point conversion, and the score was 32-6 in favor of De Smet.
The Bulldog defense held again, and took over on downs at midfield. De Smet quickly moved down the field with runs by Wilkinson and Osthus, and Osthus was again able to find the endzone. Holland took the pitch in for the 2-point conversion, and the lead was 40-6.
De Smet forced another quick punt by the Braves, and this time Osthus took it all the way back for a 57-yard touchdown return. The 2-point try was no good, and the score was 46-6 Bulldogs.
After another punt by Britton-Hecla, De Smet scored another touchdown on the first play of the drive. This time Wilkinson found Garry for a 34-yard touchdown pass. Holland scored the 2-point conversion for a 54-6 lead.
Britton would fumble on their next possession, and Osthus took the next play in for a 16-yard touchdown run. Garry caught 2-point conversion pass from Wilkinson, and the score was 62-6 De Smet.
The Braves were able to score one more touchdown on a 15-yard run by Fredrickson. The defense held on the 2-point conversion, and the game was ended by mercy rule at halftime with De Smet up by fifty points, 62-12.
Offensively for De Smet, Wilkinson was 5/9 passing for 61 yards and 1 touchdown. He also ran for 75 yards and 1 touchdown. Osthus ran for 112 yards and 3 touchdowns and he also had 177 return yards and one punt return went for a touchdown. Garry had 2 catches for 46 yards and a touchdown, and Holland ran for 26 yards and 2 touchdowns.
On defense, Holland led with 7 tackles, Garry had 6, and Wilkinson and Owen Kerkvliet each had 5 tackles.
No stats were reported for Britton-Hecla.
The Bulldogs move on to the second round of the playoffs. They will take on the #5 seed, Warner. The game will again be in De Smet on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Britton-Hecla 6 6 - 12
De Smet 24 38 - 62
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