BISMARCK — With two running backs that had accounted for more than 4,000 yards in the past two seasons out for the year with knee injuries, Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin head football coach Mark Dood has been forced to go deeper into his playbook.
The Blue Devils cannot just rely on the ground-and-pound approach they had with senior Izaack Kitchens and sophomore Caleb Lahey in the backfield. Kitchens tore his ACL in the first game of the season and Lahey suffered the same injury two weeks ago against Milford.
Instead Bis-Henn/Ross-Al put the ball in the hands of senior quarterback Wyatt Edwards and senior running back/receiver Travis Lappin.
They hooked up for a pair of fourth quarter touchdown passes — 73 and 43 yards — to lead the Blue Devils past the Carmi-White County Bulldogs, 37-34, in an IHSA Class 2A first-round playoff game at Bismarck.
The game-winning touchdown, with 1 minute, 15 seconds left in the game, came on a fourth down-and-9 play.
It was also a pass play that BHRA (7-3) didn't put in their offensive playbook until Wednesday.
"I think we ran it three or four times in practice,'' said Lappin, who had two receptions for 116 yards and two touchdowns. "Basically, it was a pass play with a lot more options for Wyatt. I was the first choice going on a vertical route and then we had someone in the flat and another receiver on a crossing route.''
Just a few minutes earlier, Lappin and Edwards had hooked up on a 73-yard touchdown pass giving the Blue Devils a 31-28 lead with 5:29 remaining.
Carmi-White County, which ends the year at 6-4, had more than its share of big plays in this contest.
The Bulldogs seemingly answered every score by the Blue Devils as junior quarterback William Pugsley threw four touchdown passes in the contest, including a 58-yard strike to Bryce Northcutt with 4:18 left to give Carmi-White County a 34-31 advantage.
"Give those guys a ton of credit, they just kept making big plays like we did,'' Dodd said. "Thankfully, we just made one extra play in the final minute to secure the victory.''
After the Blue Devils had taken the 37-34 lead, the Bulldogs had one last chance in the final minute.
Pugsley had a couple of runs and a couple of completions to get Carmi-White County to the BHRA 44 with just under 15 seconds on the clock. That's when a freshman Brody Sexton made the play of the day for the Blue Devils. As Pugsley scrambled to his right, Sexton shot through a gap in the pass protection to record the sack. Without any timeouts remaining, the clock ran out on the Bulldogs.