What a difference in fortunes a week can make. In last week’s season openers, Sturgis looked very impressive in knocking off Belle Fourche while the Douglas Patriots struggled in dropping a one-sided decision to visiting Huron.
Flip the script: on Friday night as Douglas jumped out to a 13-2 first quarter lead and never looked back in dismantling the Scoopers 33-9 at Patriot Stadium in Box Elder.
The Patriots wasted little time in establishing superiority at the line of scrimmage, forcing a three-and-out by Sturgis on the game’s opening possession, and quickly putting seven points on the board. Senior running back Trevor Severson did the damage, sprinting around left end on a 28-yard scoring scamper. Chance Sorensen’s boot put Douglas up 7-0.
The Sturgis offense, often plagued by penalties, continued to sputter managing but 28 total rushing yards in the opening quarter. Nor was the passing attack able to provide relief completing only 3-of-11 for 32 yards on the night.
“The penalties were frustrating.” Sturgis coach Chris Koletzky said. “The delay of games and the mental error type penalties are what we are concerned about. And our offense didn’t have an answer tonight and we as coaches need to do better in coming up with an answer.”
The Scoopers managed to get on the board, sacking Patriot quarterback Daniel Hand in the end zone for a safety with 1:31 remaining in the quarter.
“Actually, I thought our defense did a pretty good job considering where our offense put them,” Koletzky added. “They played hard, got some turnovers and kept us in the game for the most part.
Douglas quickly responded mounting a nine play 79 yard drive culminating in a 16 yard TD pass from Hand to Justin Zbranek. A blocked PAT kick left the score at 13-2 after a quarter of play.
The second quarter was much like the first as Sturgis was unable to find space inside with the running game and quarterback Gavin West struggled to find receivers allowing the Douglas defense to load the box with eight or nine defenders.
“The execution by our defensive line was outstanding tonight and that’s a credit to the preparation made by our defensive coaches to play against their offense,” Douglas coach Dan Maciejczak said.
The lone score of the second quarter came via a 68-yard drive by the Patriots with Hand targeting Sorensen with a 10-yard scoring toss. A Sheldon Wagner to Zbranek 2-point conversion pass upped the Douglas margin to 21-2 at halftime.
Douglas quickly drained the remaining suspense from the contest early in the third quarter (9:53) as Severson took a pitchout, broke a tackle and scampered 53 yards for the score.
“We moved him from quarterback to tailback this week,” Maciejczak said. “He’s one of the fastest kids in the state and we knew if we could get him finishing plays downhill he will be a pretty deadly weapon for us.”
In addition to scoring twice, Severson compiled 233 yard rushing on the night.
“We didn’t exactly plan to run outside so much,” Severson added. “We came in knowing that we just had to pound them and pound them. We didn’t have a plan to run outside but when it started working we just kept going with what was working.”
The Sturgis offense finally crossed the goal line with 7:58 remaining as Gavin West hit Josh Fowler with a 13-yard scoring strike.
Sorenson added a 37 yard field goal late in the period to boost the Douglas lead to 33-9. And a Douglas safety with 1:54 remaining closed out the game scoring.
“We came out facing a little adversity from last week and pushed the kids hard this week and they came out and responded and looked like an old school football program,” Maciejczak said. “That showed tonight. We were able to get back to where we think we belong as a football team.”
Sturgis (1-1) hosts Rapid City Central next Friday night in a 7 p.m. encounter while Douglas (1-1) travel to Pierre on Friday night as well to meet the Governors in a 6 p.m. (MDT) contest.