The Trinity Bible College Lions football team was hoping to get back to the winning ways last Saturday as they welcomed Dakota College at Bottineau Lumberjacks to Ellendale, ND and Bob Tatum Field. They were also hoping to give the home crowd one more win as this would be their final home contest of the 2012 season. Entering the game the Lions were 3-5 on the season and the Lumberjacks were 0-4.
The Lions kicked off to Bottineau to open the game and the Lumberjacks chewed some clock on their opening possession using 11 plays eating 6 minutes and 46 seconds off the clock before throwing a pass which was intercepted by Seth Petersen, who returned it 28 yards to the Bottineau 31. The Lions would capitalize on the Lumberjack turnover going 31 yards in 6 plays scoring on a 5 yard touchdown pass to Cooper Spurgin from Justin Smith. Christian Troxler added the extra point giving the Lions the earl 7 to 0 lead with 6:16 left in the first quarter. The Lions defense would come up big again on the next Lumberjacks possession as another pass was intercepted this time by Josh Conner. Conner would return the interception 36 yards before being tackled down at Bottineau’s 29 yard line. However the Lions would turn the ball back over to the Lumberjacks on a fumble and the Lumberjacks would pick up the fumble and return it 48 yards for the touchdown. With the successful extra point the Lions and Lumberjacks were tied 7 to 7 with 1:40 left in the first quarter. The Lions on their next possession would go 3 and out punting the ball back to Bottineau as time expired in the first quarter.
Trinity Bible College would strike first in the second quarter following an 87 yard drive taking only 1:04. Justin Smith connected with Barry Bighorn on a 31 yard pass and catch to set the Lions up and 2 plays later the pair connected again this time on a 52 yard touchdown pass and catch. After the extra point the Lions took back the lead 14 to 7 with 11:08 left in the first half. Dakota College at Bottineau answered back two drives later after intercepting the Lions on defense, the Lumberjacks offense went 4 plays for 33 yards scoring on a 10 yard rush but the Lions blocked the extra point attempt. The Lions took a 1 point lead into halftime leading 14 to 13.
The Lions received the opening kick-off of the second half but on the very next play they fumbled and gave the ball to Bottineau. On the next play the Lumberjacks found pay dirt on a 26 yard touchdown pass giving them the 21 to 14 lead after successfully converting the two point try. After exchanging punts the Lions offense got on the score board with a 29 yard field goal by Christian Troxler, cutting the Lumberjacks lead to 21 to 17. The Lions however would fumble yet again, this time out of the back of their own endzone while trying to punt adding to their deficit 23 to 17 with 3:35 left in the third quarter.
Bottineau would use the momentum from the safety to score on their next possession which carried them into the fourth quarter. The Lumberjacks found the endzone once again on a 1 yard touchdown run giving themselves a comfortable 29 to 17 lead just 30 seconds into the fourth quarter. The Lions would not go quietly however as they would go 10 plays for 67 yards scoring on a 19 yard touchdown pass when Justin Smith found Barry Bighorn for the second time in the game. After the extra point the Lions then trailed 29 to 24 with 11 minutes to play. The Lumberjacks answered back and scored on a 28 yard touchdown pass capping a 6 play 63 yard drive pushing their lead back to 13, 37 to 24 with 10 minutes left in the game. Both teams would trade punts and the Lions failed to convert a fourth down try with 3 minutes left giving the ball back to the Lumberjacks. Dakota College only needed one first down to run the clock out for their first victory of their season, defeating the Lions 37 to 24.
In the loss the Lions were led on the ground by Johnny Perry who rushed 12 times for 66 yards. Justin Smith went 12 of 23 for 184 yards 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions for the Lions at quarterback, while getting sacked 6 times. Barry Bighorn added another 100+ yard receiving day as he caught 5 passes for 109 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Lions were led in tackling by safety Jason Elliott with 14 total tackles, joining him in double digits was Seth Petersen with 13 tackles. Jerome Green added 8 total tackles with 2 sacks and 4 tackles for loss and Rondell Tucker Bayne added 7 tackles and 1 sack.
The Lions ran 64 plays for 247 yards of total offense compared to the Lumberjacks 74 plays and 437 yards of offense. The Lions turned the ball over 5 times during the game with 3 fumbles and 2 interceptions. Bottineau also won the time of possession battle controlling the ball 36 minutes of the game while the Lions had the ball for 24 minutes.
The loss drops the Lions to 3-6 on the season with 2 games remaining. The next game for the Lions is Saturday, November 3rd in Aberdeen, SD at Swisher field against rival Presentation College Saints. Kick-off has been moved up to 6:00pm.