Posted 9/29/15 (Tue)
By Jody Michael
Atati Mita totaled 118 yards and two TDs on 12 carries and five catches for Ray in a 26-22 loss at Divide County on Friday.
Taylor Landsverk carried for 158 yards and Noah Lorentz added 97 yards and two second-half scoring runs to lift Divide County to a playoff berth-clinching homecoming win.
The Maroons are now 5-0 in Region 6 after the North Dakota High School Activities Association last week announced that Kenmare must forfeit its Sept. 4 win against DC.
Garrett Hodenfield completed eight of 16 passes for 154 yards and three TDs for Ray (2-4, 2-3 Region 6).
It was the first meeting between the schools since 2008, when Ray was part of a Williams County co-op team with Tioga that later moved up to 11-man play. The Jays are fielding their own team this season for the first time since 2001.
The Jays moved as close as their own 35 with 1:14 remaining, but their drive ended on a play in which Bunker Hill took a handoff and then launched a nearly 20-yard pass that Landsverk intercepted.
“I told them it was my fault,” Ray head coach Steve Perdue said. “It probably wasn’t the best play to call, but he was trying to make a play. It’s just one of those deals where it comes down to a play or two. We didn’t make them, and they did.”
Lorentz’s first score, a 14-yard breakthrough, pushed DC in front 20-14 in the third.
“Ray had a nice game plan for us defensively,” DC offensive coach Bob Brown said, “but when you put that many people up in the box, you are susceptible to bigger plays, and we were able to capitalize on that with some perimeter plays and misdirection.”
The Maroons’ next drive saw Lorentz find daylight again, a 22-yarder to make it 26-14 with 11:54 to play, but Derek Hale took a Hodenfield pass on the Jays’ ensuing possession for a 34-yard score.
DC moved to Ray’s 17 following Hale’s score before Aidan Eriksmoen fumbled a snap and Clay Thoreson recovered the loose ball. A nearly identical turnover also occurred in the second quarter.
“We had problems tonight putting the ball on the ground, which is just something we can’t afford,” Brown said.
After offenses had at the start been bogged down, with a punt by each team and a Hodenfield pass picked off, the Maroons jumped ahead 14-0 when Landsverk rolled to a 40-yard score and Deering added a 54-yarder on the final play of the first quarter, with Eriksmoen running in the two-point conversion.
As soon as Hodenfield was throwing with the wind in the second quarter, he connected with Mita for a 54-yard TD.
“We felt going in that we had a little better passing game than running game,” Perdue said.
Two plays after DC fumbled on the following series, Hodenfield found Mita in the end zone for another TD, then again for the game-tying two-point conversion, and the deadlock held into halftime.
The Jays head on the road again Friday, visiting Mohall.