Rapid City Stevens came back from an opening-week loss with a dominating performance during its 40-12 defeat of Watertown Friday night at O’Harra Stadium in the opening game of the Rushmore Bowl.
The Raiders put up 390 yards of total offense while holding the Arrows to 173 offensive yards to level their record at 1-1 on the season.
“It feels good, our first win,” Stevens coach Steve Svendsen said. “Our kids did a nice job, especially defensively. Coach Seebo, coach Crosswait and Coach Keen did a good job coming up with a scheme then playing it against Watertown.”
Aside from a tipped ball that led to Dawson Schmidt breaking away for an 89-yard touchdown, the Raiders stifled Watertown’s offense all game long. Stevens shut the Arrows out over the first two quarters, allowing only 25 yards of total offense.
“It took the offense a little while to get clicking, but we just stayed as one and got the W,” said Raider linebacker Jakob DeSmet, whose first-quarter interception staked Stevens to a 7-0 lead. “We didn’t change anything up, just come out and work hard and get it done.”
Stevens marched the ball downfield on its first two possessions but came up empty on the scoreboard after not converting on fourth down twice.
DeSmet’s touchdown, which came when he gathered in a tipped pass from Watertown’s Brandon Smith took some pressure off the offense to carry the point-scoring.
The Raider defense stopped the Arrows on the ensuing possession, and Stevens marched the ball right downfield. Michael Norman, who missed last week’s game, made it a 13-0 contest when he gathered in a 16-yard TD strike from Colton Hartford.
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Watertown’s best look at paydirt came late in the first half, when the Arrows converted a fumbled punt return on the Stevens 31-yard line. Watertown drove to the Raiders 7 but failed to score when Schmidt couldn’t reel in Smith’s toss to the corner of the end zone.
Stevens took advantage of favorable field possession on its first possession of the second half as Norman scored his second TD of the game, this time on a 37-yard catch.
The Raiders responded to Schmidt’s long TD midway through the third quarter with a long touchdown of their own. Bridger Nesbit got open deep behind the Arrow defense and hauled in a 41-yard strike from Hartford to make it 26-6.
Norman added his third TD catch of the game to make it 33-6 and the rout was on.
“I was a little disappointed early on; we’d get ourselves into the red zone and we didn’t finish the drives,” Svendsen said. “We came out the second half and our kids fought really well. We just kept getting after it.”
Hartford finished the game 23-of-38 passing for 307 yards and four touchdowns. Uriah Glynn carried 12 times for 48 yards and a score to lead the Raider ground game. Stevens’ defense sacked Smith three times for 24 negative yards to go with DeSmet’s seven-yard interception return for a score.
Watertown’s Smith went 9 of 25 through the air for 177 yards. The Arrows rushed 18 times for minus-5 yards.
Up next, Rapid City Stevens (1-1) will travel to Harrisburg to take on the Tigers next Saturday.