Braham’s 11-0 season came to an end at the hands of a very strong Dawson-Boyd squad which rolled to a 27-8 win over the Bombers in the Class A State quarterfinals Nov. 8 on the St. Cloud State turf.
The Blackjacks featured a hard-hitting defense that racked up four sacks and two interceptions, along with an offense that scored both on the ground and through the air. Dawson-Boyd (11-1) will take on undefeated Sleepy Eye (12-0) in the Saturday morning ‘A’ semis at the Metrodome.
A stiff wind was blowing across the field from the Mississippi River when Friday’s game got underway, and D-B’s Michael Anyasike broke a long opening kick return to the Braham 33. The Blackjacks got to the 21 yard line before the Bomber defense stopped them on fourth down.
A good Elijah Overton run and a 31-yard bomb reception by Noah Bone quickly had the Bomber offense threatening on its first possession. But a fumbled snap was followed by two incompletions to turn the ball back to the ‘Jacks.
Mixing the pass and run, Dawson-Boyd marched 75 yards for the opening score and 7-0 lead, scoring on a 1-yard sneak by QB Joey Lee. D-B’s Noah Stelter then picked off a Braham bomb attempt on the next series, but the Blackjacks were stopped when D-end Zach Dahlman swatted down a third-down pass attempt.
Following two more Braham punts, the Blackjacks put together another good drive down the final minutes of the first half. They were facing a 3rd-and-26 when Lee hit 6’5” brother Michael Lee with a 37-yard bomb and a 13-0 lead at the break.
M. Lee kept the big plays coming to start the second half, too, when he leaped for an interception and return to the Braham 20. Blackjack junior Dalton Palmer (20 carries, 168 yards for game) rambled hard on a couple of big gainers, then he plowed ahead on a 9-yard TD to make it 19-0 at the 9:36 mark of the third quarter.
Braham’s passing game got rolling on the next possession as John Larson first connected with Quinn Richmond, then twice to Dahlman for first-down pickups. Larson then zipped 19 yards on a QB draw and reached the end zone to cut the lead to 19-8 after he found Bone for the two-pointer.
A sack stopped Braham on its next possession, and Palmer runs had Dawson-Boyd back inside Bomber territory. On 4th-and-9, M. Lee leaped over the defense for a 10-yard scoring pass and the 27-8 lead just into the fourth quarter.
The Bombers forced a Blackjack fumble the next time they were on defense, and the offense had one last good chance to stay in the game. Converting an Overton fourth down run got them inside the D-B 30, but a 4th-and-6 incompletion ended that opportunity.
“Our kids played hard right to the end. It’s tough to lose anytime, but to lose knowing that it will be the last time our seniors are able to put on the Braham football jersey, that makes it really tough. We had a great bunch of senior leaders that helped develop our team for an overall very successful season, on and off the field,” wrapped up a proud Bomber Coach Shawn Kuhnke.
Mahnomen (12-0) and Bethlehem Academy (9-3) will play in the other Nov. 16 semifinals. The Class A championship will be on Nov. 30 (10 a.m.) at the Metrodome as part of Prep Bowl XXXII.
Dawson-Boyd 27, Braham 8
First downs 10 17
Rushing 28/73 44/309
Passing 25/10/2 12/6/0
Passing Yds 122 81
Total Yds 195 390
Bomber Individual Stats: Rushing: Overton 11/52; Foote 6/14; Larson 11/7, TD. Passing: Larson 25/10/2- 122 yds. Receiving: Dahlman 6/70; Bone 1/31; Richmond 3/21. Tackles: Held 9, Clemmer 9, Dahlman 7, Braund 7, Eskuri 5, Overton 4, Larson 4, Sutton 3, Bone 3, Slama 3, Richmond 3, Smith 2.
More State Football tourney notes
Brainerd, out of Cambridge-Isanti’s Section 7AAAAA, moved on with a 35-7 thumping of Henry Sibley Friday at St. John’s. The Warriors (11-0) take on Chaska (11-0) in the 7 p.m. Class 5A semis at the Dome.
St. Michael-Albertville of the Mississippi 8 also stayed alive in the 5A State brackets by downing Sartell 52-28 on Nov. 7. The Knights (10-1) play Owatonna (11-0) in Friday’s semis.