Last time North Dakota State College of Science and Dakota College at Bottineau squared off, the Wildcat offense failed to score any points in a 9-7 win. In their rematch on Sunday, Oct. 29, the NDSCS offense scored early and often on their way to a 41-15 playoff win.
“You could tell the kids were ready to go,” NDSCS coach Eric Issendorf said. “It was a nice day and it felt like a really long week with the extra day of prep. We just came out and hit on all cylinders.”
Kingston Myles burst loose for a 40-yard run on the first play from scrimmage. Quarterback Max Race capped off the drive by faking the handoff and finding Grant Brown for a 34-yard hookup in the end zone. The big-play receiver beat the defender on a jump ball and bobbled it to keep possession.
“We’ve been working really hard on offense to clean up our stuff and we just got back to the basics,” Issendorf said. “We just executed really well.”
After the defense forced a punt, NDSCS’ special teams came up with the next big play. Habonimana Simon, who ran a fumble for six last time they played Bottineau, scooped the return and took it 85 yards to the house. A blocking-the-back penalty called it back, but the energy from the dynamic play fired up his team.
A difficult diving catch by Marcus Hill got his team 31 yards and the run game did the rest of the work to set up a first and goal from the one. The first three runs were stuffed, but on fourth down Race fumbled the snap and called his own number to get into the end zone.
Nyheim Tucker nabbed an interception to set up a field goal. The next Wildcat touchdown, which was set up by another 34-yard leaping grab by Brown, was a 20-yard score by Jay-Len Brown. The shifty back slipped through the grasps of multiple tacklers on the TD run.
“I thought JB did a great job,” Issendorf said.
A pair of big runs by Prince Kruah set up a field goal to make it a 27-0 advantage at halftime.
“Prince just throws it up there. There’s so many change-ups that we make, so it’s hard to get a feel,” Issendorf said. “A lot of credit goes to our fullbacks and our offensive line.”
Race, who was off to one of his best games of the season, suffered an ankle injury in the first half and Jase Sorenson came in to finish the game out.
“Our quarterbacks really stepped up. Jase did a phenomenal job coming in after Max got hurt,” Issendorf said. “(Race) could’ve came back in, but we figured at that point we’d be playing on.”
The Lumberjacks scored first to start the second half, but Myles got the points back on the ensuing drive for the Cats. The speedy sophomore found a gap, spun out of a tackle and hit pay dirt from 45 yards out. Myles led the rushing attack with 119 yards in the win.
“King’s coming into his own,” Issendorf said. “King does a nice job of cutting and using his vision.”
An NDSCS snap sailed into the back of the end zone to give Bottineau’s defense some points, but the home team’s defense one-upped them. Darian Clark strip-sacked the quarterback and Nathaniel San came up with the scoop and score to put the finishing touches on the win.
“We just play fast. We’re physical and we can get get after it,” Issendorf said. “Anytime our defense can score and we win the turnover battle we’re in good shape.”
The Wildcats (8-1) host the Central Lakes Raiders for another Sunday game at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 4. Last time the two teams squared off NDSCS squeaked out a 20-14 win in overtime.
“I appreciate the fans and I hope we get a good crowd to travel with us,” Issendorf said.
Max Race- 3-4, 75 yds, TD
Jase Sorenson- 1-2, 34 yds
Kingston Myles- 12 carries, 119 yds, TD
Prince Kruah- 6 carries, 68 yds
Jay-Len Brown- 10 carries, 47 yds, TD
Grant Brown- 2 catches, 68 yds, TD
Marcus Hill- 1 catch, 31 yds
Antonio Howard Jr.- 1 catch, 10 yds
JaDerian Johnson- 4 solos, 7 assists
Darian Clark- 2 solos, sack, fumble forced
Tony Madison- 1 solo, 4 assists, INT
Nyheim Tucker- 1 solo, 1 assist, INT
Nathaniel San- 1 solo, 1 assist, fumble recovery, TD
Spencer Skeesick- 2-2 FGs, 5-5 XPs