HOT SPRINGS – The Hot Springs Bison football team dropped to 2-6 on the season last Friday night, as they hosted the Douglas Patriots in the final home game of the season and lost by a score of 14-34.
“Douglas is a tough physical team,” said Hot Springs Bison head coach Ben Kramer. “They broke us physically and we had no answer for what they were doing. I thought the boys played hard but we fatigued and just couldn’t get the momentum in that second half. We got a taste of what we’ve been doing to teams for years.”
The Patriots scored on their first two possessions of the game, including a punt return for a touchdown following a Hot Springs three-and-out on the second drive, which put Douglas up early 14-0 with just over seven minutes left in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, despite turning the ball over on an interception on Hot Springs’ first possession, the Bison got it right back when Matt Norton earned an interception of his own to end Douglas’ first drive of the quarter. Hot Springs punted on that drive, but then forced another turnover when sophomore Gavin Heil popped the Patriot punt returner and forced a fumble.
The Bison however could not capitalize on the good field position on that drive, but did earn their first points of the game on their next possession when quarterback Morgan Harkless found Norton wide open down the left sideline for a 43-yard touchdown pass. The score pulled the Bison to within a touchdown difference of 7-14 right before halftime.
Douglas did not waste any time in the second half to add to their lead however, and were soon up 27-7 after two more touchdowns, the second of which came following another Bison turnover midway through the third quarter.
Harkless narrowed that lead to 14-27 with a nifty 80-yard kick-off return where he criss-crossed the field and didn’t stop until he made it into the endzone for a touchdown.
The Patriots added another touchdown later in the game before ultimately earning the 20-point victory, 34-14. The win pushed their record to 4-4 on the season and the fourth seed of the statewide Class 11AA standings.
Harkless finished the night passing 4-for-8 with 66 yards, two interceptions and one touchdown pass. He also had nine rushes for 43 yards, while adding seven tackles on defense.
Brand Baker had eight tackles, while Norton added three and an interception.
“We’ll work this week like it was Week 1,” Coach Kramer added. “We have a lot of things that we can coach and they have a lot of things to learn. We won’t be wasting our time.”
The Bison (2-6) finish up their season with a 7 p.m. kickoff this Thursday at Sturgis (2-6), who last week was forced to forfeit their homecoming game versus Pine Ridge after the school board voted to cancel the game due a racially-charged incident involving some Sturgis students earlier in the week. This season, the Scoopers have wins over Belle Fourche (40-21) and Spearfish (20-6), both of which have defeated the Bison earlier this year.
“We need to go out on a high note, play one clean game this season and end it with a ‘W’,” Kramer added.