Playoff Picture: Hornets hold onto lead to advance to state quarterfinals

The Nashville Hornets outscored the Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin Blue Devils in the first three quarters and then held on after a two-touchdown rally in the fourth to move on to the IHSA Class 2A quarterfinals.

Nashville won 33-26 Saturday at Bismarck. The Hornets scored first after a one-yard run from quarterback senior Kolten Gajewski. Senior Evan Knolhoff would recover a fumble at 3:15, which would start a drive that would lead to Eduardo Garibay’s field goal and a 9-0 lead for the Hornets in the first.

Soon after the second quarter started, the Blue Devils would find the end zone, inching closer to Nashville’s lead. After swapping turnovers, Gajewski would send a pass to RAdyn Schwartzkopf for a 22-yard touchdown with 7:09 left in the second. Garibay would get another field goal in to send the halftime score at 19-6.

The third quarters more Hornet dominance on offense and defense. When the Hornet defense forced a turnover on downs, Nashville used that opportunity to add more to the scoreboard, this time Connor Gladson for.a touchdown at 6:07 in the third. BHRA would answer back with a one-yard rushing touchdown from Dawson Dodd but Nashville wasn’t done as Gajewski found Isaac Turner for 32-yard touchdown.

The Blue Devils would begin their late-game rally with a three-yard rushing touchdown from Michael Hackman and then a 35-yard passing touchdown from Dodd. Nashville would recover a failed onside kick from BHRA with two minutes left in the game to secure the victory.

Nashville (10-1) moves on to face the Pana Panthers next weekend. The second-seeded Pana is undefeated 11-0, after defeating 7th-seeded Maroa Saturday 29-7. The Panthers have averaged 42.5 points per game so far this season.

Nashville also faced the Panthers during the 2019 playoffs and won 41-19 to move on to the semifinals.

Top: Kade Ridgeway (63) chases down Bismarck-Henning Rossville-Alvin quarterback Dawson Dodd (10) and Bottom:, Connor Gladson gains ground for the Hornets.

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