BISMARCK — Exactly 300 days had passed since the Bismarck-Henning Blue Devils had last been on their home football field. The memories of the Nov. 3 7-6 playoff loss to DuQuoin weren’t exactly fond, and after losing so many key players from the 2012 squad, question marks loomed for the defending Vermilion Valley Conference champions.
But any question marks that existed prior to Friday’s season opener against Martinsville were quickly changed to exclamation points as the Blue Devils dominated the Bluestreaks 48-6. It was the 14th consecutive regular-season win for Bismarck-Henning, and it only took one half to complete.
Just as the two teams were set for the second half kickoff, the officials stopped the game because of lightening. After a 32-minute delay, the game was officially called, and the Blue Devils picked up their first win in their quest for another VVC title.
“If you’re in this game long enough, you see just about anything,” Bismarck-Henning coach Mark Dodd said. “I’m pleased with our kids; first game and there were a lot of new guys out there. We executed the offense pretty well, and really, didn’t have too many first-game mistakes or blunders.”
Instead, it was the Blue Devils forcing the Bluestreaks into making mistakes.
On the very first drive of the game, Bismarck-Henning’s Patrick Ganley picked off a Matt Piehl pass that eventually led to a 28-yard touchdown run by Dustyn Ingram. Ingram was one of seven different Blue Devils to reach the end zone as Bismarck-Henning lit up the scoreboard despite possessing the ball for just over eight minutes in the first half.
“It felt really good because coming from last year, I couldn’t really play defense because of my ankle,” Ganley said of his interception. “To get an interception on the first drive on defense, I think boosted us up. Then we followed it with the interception for return, and then a few tipped passes. We stayed pretty steady on defense.”