BISMARCK - With hopes of a win against Horatio on Friday night, the Bismarck high school student body got behind their Lions for support and encouragement.
It was appreciated by the entire football team, but Horatio proved to be too fast on the edges of the offense and eventually put down a tough Bismarck attack to win 41-8.
At halftime, Bismarck trailed only 13-8.
“We played a very good game, but we got beat on the ends or on long passes,” Bismarck head football coach Lewis Jolly said.
The Lions only score was a 70-yard catch and run for Braden Gill from quarterback Jordan Webb.
“In the second half, our protection broke down because they were blitzing and we couldn’t get the ball out to our receivers,” Jolly said. “They came at us. I really think that was a team we had to beat.”
The Lions fumbled a kickoff and Horatio scored after a Bismarck punt.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” Jolly said.
The Lions had Horatio pinned at the 1 yard line after a punt, but the visiting Lions managed to get a score. Horatio also got an interception for a touchdown in the third quarter to extend its lead.
Skylar Checots had an interception for Bismarck off a tipped pass from Zach Brown. Sam Diaz played on the front lines for the Lions at nose guard and had a sack, a forced fumble and Noah Emerson emerged as one of the leading tacklers for Bismarck against Horation. That is until Horatio started running to the other side of the field from Diaz and Emerson.
“They stopped running at them and picked on our weakest side,” Jolly said. “We finished the game with 15 bodies who could play. We had a sophomore corner back get beat deep, but for the most part it was not because of a lack of effort. It was a lack of execution, but we had so many kids out of positions and in some cases they were overmatched.”
Horatio scored four times in the second half to break open the game.
“We have to figure out how to slow people down,” Jolly said. “We’re hoping to get some kids back for next week’s game. We are going to have to play aggressive and see if we can slow down Gurdon.”
The Lions have six players out of the lineup and four of those are starters.
“We don’t have the kids to put up a similar defense we were going to see on Friday,” Jolly said. “Horatio did a great job, but we stopped them if they tried to run up the middle. When they got to the edges, though, it was off to the races.
“The student  body rallied behind our team this week and they all came out when we had the run-through to start the game,” Jolly said. “That was good they were standing behind them.”
The Lions play at Gurdon next week.