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BISMARCK — There was no anxiety, Mark Dodd said, associated with Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin football’s desire to get out of the Class 2A playoffs’ second round.

“The only pressure we felt was from Nashville,” Dodd said.

The Hornets delivered enough of that Saturday while capitalizing on the Blue Devils’ miscues, running BHRA’s second-round postseason exit streak to five years via a 28-14 Class 2A result.

“We’ve faced good teams. You’ve got to play great and understand they’re going to play great, too,” Dodd said. “They played better than we did.”

Fourth-seeded BHRA (9-2) was shut out in the second half against fifth-seeded Nashville (9-2) after the two teams entered the halftime break tied at 14.

Part of that outcome was based on the Hornets’ “two really giant defensive tackles.” And another part was based on the Blue Devils’ errors.

“We turned the ball over on a first-down run at midfield on our first drive (after halftime),” Dodd said. “Second drive, we converted a fourth down and were called for a false start and ended up having to punt.”

Avery McConkey later threw an interception in the end zone to boot, and an offense that averaged 45.3 points per contest entering Saturday was largely stifled.

“We’re a team that has to learn as we go what defenses are doing and what schemes are good for us,” Dodd said. “We kind of got short-changed on two of those drives (via turnover).”

Caleb Lahey capped his prep career with 94 rushing yards and a touchdown, and McConkey also scored on the ground.

Nashville’s Cole Malawy tossed a pair of touchdowns to key his club’s offense.

“They were just really good at throwing short passing routes,” Dodd said. “Their quarterback was getting it out of his hand so quickly we couldn’t get any kind of rush on him.”

Ultimately, however, BHRA was stunted by an inability to stay out of its own way in crucial situations.

“Our mistakes kind of gave them two or three more opportunities,” Dodd said. “You can’t make those mistakes against a team that talented.”

Falcons come up short. For the first time since 2016, there will be a new Class 2A state champion.

That’s because two-time defending titlist Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley was shut down in a 2A second-round matchup Saturday, with Sterling Newman snagging a 21-6 win to avenge postseason losses to the Falcons in 2017 and 2018.

Aidan Laughery weaved 13 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter, but fifth-seeded GCMS (9-2) was unable to do anything else offensively. The sophomore Laughery finished with 109 yards on the ground, but the Falcons put up just 185 total offensive yards.

The fourth-seeded Comets (10-1) scored all of their points in the first half, including six on a Connor McBride kickoff return of 88 yards with 36 left before halftime.

Warriors blasted. After third-seeded St. Teresa and sixth-seeded Tuscola traded touchdowns in the first seven minutes of Saturday’s Class 2A second-round bout in Decatur, the Bulldogs rattled off 29 consecutive points and ran away from the Warriors 63-20 in a rematch from Week 4 of the regular season.

Denim Cook churned out 180 of 371 rushing yards put up by St. Teresa (10-1), notching three touchdowns in the process. Jack Hogan also accounted for three total touchdowns, completing 14 of 17 passes for 153 yards in the process.

For Tuscola (9-2), Logan Tabeling racked up 146 all-purpose yards and factored into all three Warriors touchdowns. He ran for two of them and slung a 1-yard pass to Brandon Douglas for the third.

Comets doused. Eighth-seeded Oakwood trailed just 8-0 after one quarter of Saturday’s Class 2A second-round tilt with top-seeded host Pana, but the Panthers dominated offensively the rest of the way en route to a 47-20 triumph over the Comets.

This marked the second consecutive postseason in which Oakwood (8-3) was ousted by Pana (10-1), as the Panthers held off the Comets in the 2A second round a year prior.

Warriors falter late. Zack Dean completed a 6-yard touchdown run with 2 minutes, 5 seconds to play in Saturday’s Class 2A second-round bout, lifting top seed and host Knoxville past No. 8 Watseka 20-14.

The Blue Bullets (11-0) produced 20 unanswered points versus the Warriors (7-4) after Watseka jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

Drew Wittenborn hit Ethan LaBelle on a 23-yard touchdown toss to open the scoring, and Wittenborn then connected with Conner Curry on a 90-yard play for more points.

The Warriors did lose a pair of fumbles on top of a Wittenborn interception, and Knoxville outgained Watseka in total yardage 355-204.

class 2a roundup

Blue Devils’ rough stretch continues

Colin Likas is prep sports coordinator at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

Prep Sports Coordinator

Colin Likas is prep sports coordinator at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).