BROOKINGS – Carter Eidem scored a pair of third-quarter touchdowns to help the Bobcats take control as Brookings moved to 2-0 with a 29-6 defeat of Lennox on Friday night at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.
“It was a hard-fought game. I thought Lennox played really well, played hard and hit and gave our kids everything they wanted tonight,” said BHS coach Lee Schmidt. “After having kind of an easy road last week, it was nice to get hit in the mouth a little bit. I thought we responded well; we kept our composure; we kept grinding away.
“We just, again, didn’t make some of the big plays I think that were wide open. We have to make those; we have to take advantage of teams – teams are going to start loading the box on us so we’re going to have to be able to throw it downfield and do that kind of stuff.”
The Orioles went three-and-out on the game’s opening possession and Brookings took over at its own 38-yard-line.
Cole Mahlum made a leaping catch on a pass from Tanner Shepardson on third-and-13 soon thereafter, as the 36-yard gain set the Bobcats up with a first-and-goal at the 10.
Preston Helmbolt found the end zone from 4 yards out two plays later and Payton Theodosopoulos added the PAT kick to make it 7-0 midway through the first.
The teams exchanged a few punts after that.
Gus Miller and Rhett Zelinsky ended an Oriole drive in Bobcat territory with a big sack on fourth-and-5.
Miller also halted the next drive with a sack on third down. A short punt and solid return by Cole McKeown set the home team up at the Lennox 25.
Parker Rykhus bulled 4 yards to paydirt to push the margin to 13-0 at the 9:05 mark of the second period.
Theodosopoulos’ 28-yard field goal put Brookings ahead 16-0 just before halftime.
Eidem had TD runs of 13 yards (9:13) and 9 yards (4:55) in the third. Theodosopoulos converted the PAT following the first score as the Bobcats grabbed a 29-0 advantage.
Lennox used a big play to find the scoreboard.
Caleb Metcalf’s 52-yard reception from Josh Arlt on third-and-9 put the ball on the BHS 13.
Arlt finished off the drive with an 8-yard scoring scamper early in the fourth as the touchdown ended the Bobcat defense’s scoreless streak to open the season at 84 minutes, 42 seconds.
Lennox blocked a 39-yard FG attempt midway through the fourth and the return and a penalty set the visitors up at the Brookings 39.
The Bobcats stopped the Orioles on fourth-and-2 to get the ball back with 4:03 remaining and then ran out the clock.
“In the first half, I think our kids had a little frustration handling, you know, not just getting out there and doing what they wanted to do,” Schmidt added. “We tell them, that’s why you get ready to play every game like it’s the Super Bowl because if you don’t and you’re not mentally ready then things come up and you get frustrated.
“We talked about it at halftime and talked about the idea that the growth of a team is based upon maturity and doing your job – we had guys not doing their job a few times tonight; not making their reads; looking in the backfield; guys that are veterans wanting to make a play but not doing it the right way. So those are things that will just be a blaring thing on film and those are things that we have to grow up from.
“It’s always hard to get on a darn bus and go all the way out west and play. And Sturgis has kids and, kind of like these kids, they’ll come out and hit you and get after you. How you respond to that is going to be important. It was a good learning lesson tonight about being ready and staying within yourself and doing your job and I think our kids did a much better job in the second half doing that.”
Brookings hits the road for the first time this season to face Sturgis on Friday at 7 p.m. Lennox (0-2) travels to Custer for a 6 p.m. matchup.
BROOKINGS 29, LENNOX 6
Lennox. 0 0 0 6 – 6
Brookings 7 9 13 0 – 29
BHS – Preston Helmbolt 4 run (Payton Theodosopoulos kick), 6:57
BHS – Parker Rykhus 4 run (kick failed), 9:05
BHS – Theodosopoulos 28 FG, :04
BHS – Carter Eidem 13 run (Theodosopoulos kick), 9:13
BHS – Eidem 9 run (kick failed), 4:55
L – Josh Arlt 8 run (run failed), 11:18