High School Sports

Black Hills rolls past R.A. Long, 40-14, into state playoffs

Black Hills wide receiver Jewell Day (34) makes a juggling catch over R.A. Long defensive back Riley Opgrande during Saturday's 2A district playoff football game at Tumwater District Stadium on Nov. 7, 2015.
Black Hills wide receiver Jewell Day (34) makes a juggling catch over R.A. Long defensive back Riley Opgrande during Saturday's 2A district playoff football game at Tumwater District Stadium on Nov. 7, 2015. Staff photographer

The record-breaking season will continue for Black Hills High School football.

Off to the best start in school history, the No. 10 Wolves (9-1) hammered R.A. Long, 40-14, on Saturday night at Tumwater District Stadium to lock up their first Class 2A state playoff berth since 2009.

“It’s a long time coming,” Black Hills coach Kirk Stevens said. “We’ve hoped a couple times, we’ve been kind of close.”

Well, this time they’re in.

The Wolves jumped out in front early when Jordan March wove through the Lumberjacks’ defense for 38 yards two minutes in.

March led the Wolves in rushing with 112 yards and the one touchdown on 10 carries.

Mark Melendres capped a three-play, 47-yard drive two possessions later by beating the Lumberjacks on the corner to cruise in for 20 yards. Melendres also scored the Wolves’ final touchdown on a 51-yard pass from Chase Morrow with 3 minutes, 8 seconds to play.

The Lumberjacks (3-7) struck in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 13-6. Ethan Sterkel swept by the Black Hills defense on a reverse from 19 yards out, but they wouldn’t get closer. Their only other score came with 2:08 to play in the fourth quarter on a 37-yard pass from Owen Enriquez to Gino Juarez.

But the Wolves broke it open before the half ended.

In his first game since exiting against Tumwater in Week 7 with a head injury, quarterback Christian Williams tossed for two touchdowns in a 21-point second quarter for the Wolves.

He finished 9 of 14 passing for 175 yards and three touchdowns.

“I’m feeling good, I’m feeling complete,” Williams said. “We got back into sync with everybody. Things are just jelling right now.”

Williams found Jewell Day on a slant for seven yards with 3:39 to play in the first half.

The Wolves found the end zone again two minutes later. Cameron Berndson picked off freshman Enriquez’s pass across the middle on the ensuing drive — quarterback Owen Bertram (shoulder) has been absent from the Lumberjacks’ offense since Week 5.

Three plays later, Williams hit Gabe Adamson for 15 yards to make it 27-7 at the half.

“That really set up momentum for us and things just started flowing really easily with the passing game,” Williams said.

Day, who finished with four receptions for 52 yards and two touchdowns, pulled down one more in the third quarter on a 7-yard pass from Williams. He out-muscled Riley Opgrande on a leaping touchdown catch to make it 33-7 — just like the Wolves out-muscled the Lumberjacks all night.

Black Hills forced three straight R.A. Long punts to open the game before picking off the Lumberjacks on the next two possessions.

The Wolves forced two turnovers on downs and three interceptions.

“We made some little changes,” Stevens said. “We kind of forgot some of our responsibilities earlier in the season and tried to do too much. We got back to some basics and played well.”

R.A. Long dropped five of its last six to close the season.

The Wolves will travel to fourth-ranked Archbishop Murphy (10-0) in the first round of the state playoffs next week.

Lauren Smith: 360-754-5473

lsmith@theolympian.com

@smithlm12

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