Wolves Win Turnover, Possession Battle in Win Over Warriors


ROCHESTER — After taking the ball away from Rochester four times in the first half, the Black Hills football team ran away with a road victory, 34-14, Friday night. 

The Warriors turned the ball over on their first three possessions, and couldn’t dig themselves out of an early hole in the defeat. 

For the Wolves (3-0, 1-0 2A EvCo), that was all a part of the gameplan. 

“It’s always nice when the gameplan works out, that was the plan,” Wolves coach Garrett Baldwin said. “Take care of the ball on offense, be aggressive on defense, and we did that. I’m excited and proud of the guys.”

Black Hills couldn’t capitalize on Rochester’s first turnover, but after grabbing an interception on the next defensive possession, punched in a Johnnie Stallings touchdown to take a lead it would never relinquish. 

A third straight turnover on the Warriors’ third possession gave the Wolves another short field, and Stallings rushed in another score from 25 yards out, with barely over half a quarter played to that point. 

The Warriors (2-1, 0-1 2A EvCo) didn’t go down, quietly, though. On their fourth drive, James Morris did a bit of everything on the ground, and capped off a drive with a 3-yard plunge to make it just a one score game, despite losing the turnover battle. 

But another interception and a blistering rushing attack from the Wolves proved to be too much for the Warriors, as the Wolves rattled off two more scores in the second quarter to take a three-score, 27-7 lead into the half. 

“We couldn’t get out of our own way,” Warriors coach AJ Easley said. “We didn’t do a great job on offense of doing what we’re good at: staying in front of the chains and maintaining the ball. We can’t survive doing what we did tonight, we have to be better.”

The Warriors managed to move the ball up and down the field almost all night on the ground, with Braden Hartley and Morris both approaching 100 yards on the night, and Brady Baird adding a second half touchdown, but couldn’t finish drives or get anything going through the air when they needed to. 

On the other side, the Wolves blitzed the Warriors defensively, putting constant pressure on Tate Quarnstrom, and did enough offensively to stay perfect on the year. 

Stallings had 75 yards and two scores, and Travis Carson and Tanner Parkinson each added rushing touchdowns of their own to lead the Wolves. 

“It’s huge,” Baldwin said of the win. “First league game, starting the right way with a win on the road, it’s important. We learned a lot of lessons tonight that are going to be important to carry over and help us go even deeper.”

The Wolves will put their unbeaten record to the test against W.F. West in Tumwater next Friday. 

For the Warriors, it would have been a tall order to overcome the turnover disparity, but they’ll have to flush it and move on quickly in the ever-competitive 2A Evergreen Conference if they want to achieve their goals this season. The Warriors take on Shelton next week on the road. 

“It doesn’t get any easier from here,” Easley said. “We can sit here and cry about spilled milk but Shelton’s not going to do that. We have to pull our big boy pants on and go take it to them.”