No. 4 Rugby routs Bombers
RUGBY – All-state quarterback Brad Heidlebaugh rushed for three touchdowns and 142 yards as No. 4 Rugby crushed previously unbeaten Lewis and Clark-Our Redeemer’s 39-9 in a Class A, Region 3 football game Friday at Johnsen Field.
The Panthers (5-0 overall, 4-0 region) dominated late after a turnover- and penalty-filled first half.
Heidlebaugh, a 6-foot-4 dual threat, broke the game open on the Rugby’s second play from scrimmage in the first half. Leading 16-2, Heidlebaugh started left on a keeper and juked three Bombers (4-1, 3-1) on a 54-yard touchdown.
“We were just running read, read, read and I saw the defender trying to bite down,” Heidlebaugh said. “I just tried to move around people.”
L&C-OR defenders barely got a hand on him as he shifted upfield toward the right. With 41 seconds remaining in the first half, Heidlebaugh rushed for a 47-yard score. The Panthers started the drive on their own 48-yard line with 1 minute left. On the second play, RHS sent four wide receivers to the right, but Heidlebaugh kept the ball, side-stepped a defender near the line and cruised to the end zone.
“We were running the ball well,” Rugby coach Scott Grochow said. “The thing that really set this whole thing up was the stand by our defense in the first half.”
Rugby had three turnovers in the first half and the Bombers gave the ball away twice. L&C-OR had a chance to tie the game at 6 late in the first quarter, but Rugby senior linebacker Bennie Mygland stuffed senior quarterback Austin Lee on fourth-and-1 at the goal line. A botched snap resulted in a Rugby safety, but the Bombers didn’t score again until late in the fourth quarter on a 21-yard run by Lee.
“They just came out more ready,” Lee said. “They were more physical tonight and it showed.”
Rugby senior Eric Hooker rushed for a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter, and Mygland iced the contest with a 77-yard interception return for six in the final frame. Mygland was running out of steam in the red zone before juniors Victor Gronvold and Blackhawk Jones sprinted ahead to deliver crucial blocks.
“I believed the game was won, but that really sealed the deal,” Mygland said. “Our coverage was good and (Lee) had to scramble and we were able to get guys on him.”
Grochow doesn’t get surprised by the Heidlebaugh-led offense, but was especially pleased with his defense setting the tone. L&C-OR coach George Duenas remained upbeat and was aware of previously undefeated Des Lacs-Burlington’s 12-0 loss against Harvey-Wells County.
“The great thing about this is having a Week 5 opponent that’s a second- or third-round (playoff) caliber team,” Duenas said. “We can still get a home game in the playoffs.”
Duenas blamed himself for not getting the passing game going early to open the run for Lee and senior running back Marshall White. Lee finished with 115 yards on 20 carries and White had 44 yards on 15 carries with limited action in the second half following an injury.
Heidlebaugh shook off two first-half interceptions and set up one of Hooker’s touchdowns with a 24-yard strike to classmate Tanner Bernhardt in the third quarter.
“I don’t think we hit our limit yet,” Heidlebaugh said. “We didn’t have the pass going tonight. Our defense is crazy, especially with the way we practiced this week. We knew what was going to happen.”
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