BAXTER — The Baxter football team scored first in the game, but top-ranked Don Bosco was as good as advertised as the Dons rolled to an 84-6 win during an 8-man non-district contest on Aug. 31.
Don Bosco led 40-6 at halftime and dropped the Bolts to 0-2 after outscoring them 44-0 in the second half.
“With kids that are brand new to this, you have to keep the positives. At 16-6 and scoring first, we battled for awhile,” Baxter coach Rob Luther said. “We probably should have gotten into the end zone a few more times, but I thought we played better than last week.”
Baxter went 64 yards on its first possession and capped the eight-play drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass from junior Cole Damman to senior Dalton Heer. It was the first TD of Heer’s career.
“He’s a senior and a kid who has never played before so that was good to see,” Luther said of Dalton Heer. “We have to highlight the little battles that we won. Our kids won some battles individually. They just have way too many horses for us.”
The scoring drive was highlighted by a 38 yard pass play from Damman to freshman Rory Heer.
Unfortunately for the Bolts, the highlight plays were few, far and between against the state’s two-time defending champion.
Don Bosco needed three plays to crack the scoreboard on its first possession.
The Dons (2-0) went 53 yards in three plays on their next drive to go up 16-6. That was the score after one quarter.
Damman had runs of 15 and 11 yards on the Bolts’ next drive, but the home team turned it over on downs.
Don Bosco went up 24-6 on its next possession, marching 43 yards in five plays. The lead grew to 32-6 with a five-play, 62-yard drive that culminated with a 34-yard touchdown pass from Cael Frost to Cael Tenold.
The Bolts (0-2) went eight plays on their next drive but fumbled the ball away. Damman started the drive with a 16-yard run and also hit junior Carter Nelsen for a 14-yard gain. But the fumble halted the drive, and Don Bosco scored one more time before halftime.
“At times defensively, against a better team than Coon Rapids-Bayard, we were making a few stops and a few plays,” Luther said. “We gave up too many big plays though.
“We just have to stay positive. It is what it is. We’ll keep better.”
The Dons drove 48 yards in three plays. They had a third and 34 after senior Will Clapper and Damman got to the quarterback for a sack on first down and then Damman got a tackle for loss on second down.
But, on third and 34, Frost hit Carson Tenold on a screen pass that went for a 63-yard TD.
The Dons kicked on the continuous clock on their first possession of the second half. Baxter did not score in the second half and pulled starters early in the fourth quarter.
“They brought four against our three all night. They have a great scheme and they know what they are doing,” Luther said.
Damman finished 17-of-23 through the air for 138 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. The Bolts lost four fumbles, too.
Damman gained 38 rushing yards, but the Dons held the Bolts to 41 yards on the ground and 179 total yards.
“Cole tried to make plays and do what he could,” Luther said. “There was just not a lot of time to stand back there and survey things. He did some good things though.”
Senior Brendyn Padget had six catches for 47 yards, Rory Heer had four catches for 38 yards, Nelsen hauled in three catches for 30 yards and Dalton Heer added 23 yards on four catches.
Baxter’s best player, Will Clapper, was hoping to use this game as part of his college recruiting highlight tape. With offers already from South Dakota State, Iowa Western Community College and several NCAA Division II schools, Clapper held his own against the best 8-man team in the state.
Clapper was particularly impressive on defense, finishing with 5 1/2 tackles, one tackle for loss and one sack.
“He won’t win all of the battles, but he won most of them,” Luther said. “He was noticeable out there. He handled himself well tonight. He’s a player.”
Damman had 6 1/2 tackles, one tackle for loss and one sack defensively. Senior Peyton Johnston added 5 1/2 tackles.
Frost led the Dons with 198 passing yards and five TDs on 7-of-8 passing. Junior Thomas Even rushed for 128 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries and also had eight tackles on defense. Don Bosco rushed for 239 yards in the game.
The Dons defense had two sacks, two interceptions, recovered four fumbles, had eight tackles for loss and scored a defensive touchdown. Cael Tenold had 7 1/5 tackles, four tackles for loss and an interception.
Luther stressed to his team in the post game huddle that they are close, even though the score against Don Bosco doesn’t show it. The district season begins next week, and the opponents get considerably weaker.
“We are going to find out a lot about ourselves the next two weeks with Melcher-Dallas and Collins-Maxwell,” Luther said. “We’ll drop back against the horses we should be running against next week.”
The Bolts play Melcher-Dallas at 7 p.m. on Sept. 7 in Melcher-Dallas.