BISMARCK — The sorrow and tears after a heart-wrenching loss can be attributed to as many reasons as there are players.
It can be for unfulfilled expectations.
It can be for the shattering of dreams.
It can be for a performance less-than-satisfying.
It can be the realization that the last chance for success for a particular group has passed.
For Bismarck-Henning, which had its seasonlong winning streak snapped Saturday by DuQuoin, 7-6, in a Class 2A playoff game, it can be knowing that its best was not good enough.
In the final analysis, the Blue Devils (10-1) played well and did the things needed to keep control of the game for three quarters. The Indians (9-2) matched that level of play and did the things needed in the final quarter to salvage a victory.
It took a fourth-down touchdown pass — the route DuQuoin had to travel after its rushing game went nowhere — followed by an extra-point conversion from a straight-on kicker who doubles as the quarterback, Brenden Fred.
Then it took an interception — one of only two thrown all season by B-H’s Caleb Bergman — 3 yards in front of the DuQuoin end zone with three seconds left in the game to secure the Indians’ move into the Elite Eight.
“We feel very fortunate to come out on top,” DuQuoin Hall of Fame coach Al Martin said. “Their defense played an outstanding game.
“They have big-time run-stoppers at the end, and their linebackers are outstanding. You don’t see many high school kids like that.”
B-H senior Morgan Supergan, one of the touted members of the defensive front, was at a loss to explain the loss.
“I don’t know what it is,” he said. “We couldn’t do it. The whole game, we had momentum. We fell apart at the end. We did the best we could, but we couldn’t come out with the ‘W.’ ”
Dustyn Ingram returned the opening kickoff 9 yards and Bergman then directed an 11-play, 66-yard scoring drive, capped by a 5-yard run by the game’s top rusher. Kevin Allen ended with 104 rushing yards on 21 attempts.
The lead was preserved in the second half when DuQuoin advanced into B-H territory and had first and goal on the 6. The Indians turned the ball over on downs at the 4.
“That was great defense on that goal-line stand,” Martin said.
Bergman was at the controls for an 18-play drive that took the next 9:04 off the clock but ended on downs at the DuQuoin 33.
“We could never get the big one like we’re accustomed to,” B-H coach Mark Dodd said. “They did a nice job of holding us to 3, 4 or 5 yards.
“It came down to two good teams slugging it out. They made a fourth-down play and the extra point, but our kids didn’t quit.”
Though DuQuoin played two Class 4A and one Class 5A team in the regular season, Dodd didn’t feel B-H was at a disadvantage.
“They are used to playing physical football, and we expected that,” Dodd said. “It doesn’t matter who you’ve played. It’s how you play on that day.”
B-H held DuQuoin to 87 rushing yards on 30 attempts, a pattern that was consistent with what occurred all season. The Blue Devils’ opponents generated 443 yards on the ground on 285 tries.
Allen (12) and Supergan (10) were the Blue Devils’ top tacklers.