BISMARCK— For fans of fast-paced football, Bismarck was the place to be on Friday night.
Trevor Land scored from 11 yards out with just under six minutes to play, leading the Eagles of Chicago Hope Academy to a 33-28 victory over the Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin Blue Devils in a non-conference clash of powers in Bismarck.
BHRA, who came into the game 5-0 and ranked fifth in the latest Class 2A football poll, scored first, then watched the Eagles come right back and tie the game at 7-7 on a 27-yard pass from Land to Neil Campbell.
“This was a great football game between two good teams, and we just didn’t have enough tonight,” Blue Devils coach Mark Dodd said following the game on his team’s effort.
Caleb Lahey, the BHRA workhorse for a few years, has been dealing with an injury and hadn’t practiced all week, and as a result, Weston Strawser got the start in the backfield and made the most of his opportunity, gaining 67 yards on 12 carries from scrimmage.
Lahey would eventually come into the game, and did his routine work, getting 23 carries for 81 yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns from one-yard out.
“Caleb had something going on with him this week, and thus didn’t practice, but he was good enough to go tonight, and gave us some good yardage when he touched the ball,” Dodd added about Lahey and what he brought to the team in the game.
Blue Devils quarterback Avery McConkey was 6-of-13 for 148 yards passing, most of those going to Eric Watson, who caught three passes for 141 yards. Watson had grabs of 57, 58 and 26 yards, giving his team a good chance to score each time.
McConkey also scored from five yards out, but was sacked several times, losing big chunks of yardage each time.
The Blue Devils exhibited some trickery in the third quarter, as Brody Sexton took a kickoff and reversed it to Strawser, who ran it 85 yards down the sidelines for a special teams touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, Dodd called for an onside kick, which was successful as well.
Still, in the end, the playmaking ability of Land and the Eagles proved to be the difference in the game.
“We knew what we were getting into when we scheduled this game, because they are a great team that has played a tough schedule,” Dodd said on their opponent.
Hope Academy has played in California already this year, as well as in suburban St. Louis, and with the victory, moves to 5-1 on the season. The Eagles had received votes in the most recent Class 1A poll, released earlier in the week.
Land finished the game 8-of-18 for 175 yards passing, and shared the signal caller duties with Carlos Feliciano, who also ran several plays under center.
Leading the way for the Eagles was Eric Green with 56 yards on 10 carries. Land also carried the ball 8 times for 54 yards and scored twice on the ground.
“They (Hope Academy) are a great team, and we did everything we could tonight. We have nothing to be ashamed about after playing them, Strawser said after the game on playing the Eagles.
The Blue Devils (5-1) will be back in action next Friday night when they return to Vermilion Valley Conference action at Oakwood, a game that could go a long way toward the title in conference play.