The Trinity Bible College Lions football team headed out on the road to Bottineau, North Dakota for their second straight road game. The Lions were looking to recover from their last game which was a 47 to 21 loss at Peru State College. They were also looking to spoil Dakota College’s homecoming.
The Lions won the toss, elected to defer and receive the ball in the second half. The Dakota College Bottineau Lumberjacks took full advantage of receiving the opening kickoff, returning it all the way to their 40 yard line. The Lumberjacks then would use eight plays and go 60 yards scoring on a 2 yard touchdown run by EJ Gibson. They would add the extra point giving themselves the early 7 to 0 lead over the Lions just four minutes into the game. Both teams would then trade punts until the Lions would force a Lumberjack fumble and Diego Ramirez would recover it giving the Lions the ball on Bottineau’s 20 yard line. The Lions would then use eight plays and go 20 yards to score on a 3 yard touchdown run by Johnny Perry. Christian Troxler would add the extra point tying the game at 7 to 7 with two minutes left in the first quarter. After the opening stanza the Lions and Lumberjacks were all knotted up at 7.
On the next drive for the Lumberjacks’ the Lions defense would come up with another turnover this time it was Seth Petersen, who would intercept the pass on Trinity’s own 19 and return it 25 yards to the Lions’ 46 yard line. On the next play Justin Smith would find Barry Bighorn for a 34 yard pass and catch. Six plays later Justin Smith would QB sneak from the one yard line for the Lions touchdown. After the Christian Troxler extra point the Lions led 14 to 7. Dakota College Bottineau would answer right back using a five play 56 yard drive taking only 2:38 to score on a 3 yard run by Matthis Thomas. The Lumberjacks missed the extra point attempt trimming the Lions lead to just one point 14 to 13 with 11:26 left in the first half. The next possessions for both teams would lead to punts. The Lumberjacks then would put together a drive with only 2 minutes left in the half. Dakota College would drive all the way down to the Lions’ 15 yard line. The Lumberjacks looked to score on a pass, but Josh Conner would make the interception on the 3 yard line, he returned the interception 22 yards to the Lions’ 25 with only 3 seconds left in the half. The Lions took a knee to end the half and take the slim one point lead 14 to 13 into the break.
The Lions would get the first possession in the second half but failed to get any momentum, going three plays and out punting to Bottineau. Bottineau would again drive all the way down in the redzone but for a second time they were not be able to convert, this time they went for it on fourth down and the pass attempt was incomplete. The Lions took over on downs with the ball on their own 18 yard line. The Lions would put together the drive of the game going 19 plays for 82 yards for a touchdown taking over seven minutes off the clock. The Lions used 14 run plays and only 5 passes to find the endzone on a 4 yard touchdown pass from Justin Smith to Cooper Spurgin. Following Christian Troxler’s successful extra point the Lions went up 21 to 13 with 2:20 left to play in the third quarter. On the kickoff the Lions would try an onside kick and recovered it getting the ball right back on Bottineau’s 46. The Lions would fail to convert however after driving all the way down to Bottineau’s 14. The Lions went for it on fourth down and the pass fell incomplete in the endzone. The Lions would hold the 21 to 13 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The Lions would be the first to score in the final quarter as they needed only 3 plays to go 51 yards to score on a 51 yard touchdown pass from Justin Smith to David Rivera. Christian Troxler added the extra point again giving the Lions a commanding 28 to 13 lead with 12:12 left in the game. Dakota College was not giving up quite yet as they would return the kickoff to the 50 yard line. The Lumberjacks then went 50 yards in six plays taking just over 2 minutes to score on a 16 yard touchdown pass. Their two point attempt failed cutting the Lions lead to 28 to 19. The Lions would answer on their next possession after a 51 yard pass and catch from Justin Smith to Barry Bighorn. After that play the Lions found themselves on the doorstep to the endzone on the one yard line. Victor Smith would score on the next play from one yard out and Christian Troxler added his 5th extra point giving the Lions the 35 to 19 lead with just over eight minutes to play. The Lions defense would come up with another turnover and again it was Josh Conner with the interception. The Lions would take over on their own seven yard line. This time the Lions were unable to get anything going and were forced to punt from their own endzone but in a strategic move the Lions took a safety and their lead was now 35 to 21 with 4:34 left in the game. After the free kick the Lions defense would come up with its fourth interception of the game, this time it was Devonte Davis with the pick giving the Lions the ball on their own 20. The Lions would go three and out on their possession and punt the ball back to Dakota College Bottineau with 1:18 left in the contest. Dakota College Bottineau tried to score but failed as time would expire as Seth Petersen sacked the quarterback. The Lions finished the game winning 35 to 21.
In the win quarterback Justin Smith went 15 of 27 for 210 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Johnny Perry would lead the ground attack for the Lions with 26 carries for 101 yards giving Johnny Perry his third straight game rushing for over 100 yards. Barry Bighorn again led the Lions in receiving with 5 catches for 110 yards, while David Rivera had 2 catches for 56 yards and one touchdown (his first career college touchdown). The Lions were led in tackling by Seth Petersen with 9 total tackles, 1.5 sacks and 1 interception. Jerel Richardson added 8 total tackles including 1 sack and 2 tackles for loss. Josh Conner had two interceptions for the Lions.
The win moves the Lions to 2-5 on the year with their next game on the road in St. Paul, Minnesota. They play Macalester College at 6:00pm on Saturday, October 20th.