Bloomington, Ill. - When the Bloomington Edge and the Bismarck Bucks met all the way back in week five of the season it was one of the lowest scoring games of the year with the Edge squeaking out a three point win in a game with 45 combined points. It would be an entirely different narrative on Saturday night when the two teams met again in the final week of the regular season. This time around, Bloomington and Bismarck combined for 45 points halfway through the second quarter. The outcome was the same, however, with Bloomington holding on for a slim victory 79-78.
Pick your favorite sports clichÃ© to describe the first half. It was a back and forth, seesaw battling, barn burning, championship fighting, haymaker landing, lead changing, point scoring extravaganza that ended with Bloomington ahead 52-42 as the teams exited the field for the intermission.
The Edge put together their biggest offensive half of the season largely due to running back Darrilyn Dunn. Dunn started the scoring for Bloomington by punching in a three yard touchdown on the game's opening possession. He also closed out the scoring with a touchdown reception with 27 seconds left in the half. In between, he found the end zone two other times ending the first half with three rushing and one receiving score.
Edge quarterback Caleb Hoolbrook started the game with an interception on his first attempt, but was surgical from that point on. He hit J.J. Hayes on a 35 yard touchdown after a 15 yard penalty against the Edge. Holbrook then proceeded to connect with Marcus Lewis twice for scores, one of which came on fourth down.
For Bismarck, their offense was almost as productive scoring on every drive but two. Elby Pope had two receiving touchdowns for the Bucks in the first half. Michael Ashley had a one yard rushing touchdown, and Jauhem Byrd-Mix and Tray Boone each caught passes in the end zone.
The difference in the first half score was due to newly signed Bloomington defensive back Fred Griggs who got had an interception in the last minute of the half. That turnover set up Dunn's 4th touchdown and allowed the Edge to open up a two score lead at the break
Although the second half also saw its share of points, including a safety from Bucks defensive linemen Brandon Daily, the tempo and flow of the game was severely marred by an endless stream of penalties. At one point there were three consecutive procedure penalties called which helped push the game well past the three hour mark.
In the second half Dunn scored his fifth and sixth touchdowns, Hayes caught his second touchdown, and Brandynn Clark caught his first touchdown of the season, but the excitement peaked with a series of plays that unfolded over the final 1:12 of the game.
Dunn scored with just over a minute to play in the game pushing Bloomington's lead back to seven 79-72. Bismarck answered with less than 30 seconds to play on Tyler Floyd's rushing touchdown. Rather than kicking the PAT to tie the game at 79, the Bucks opted to go for two. The pass was batted down by Bloomington defensive back Marquis Drayton, and the Edge clung to a one point lead.
With only 24 seconds left in the game, it appeared as if Bloomington would survive, but Bismarck recovered the ensuing onsides kick. The Bucks attempted a potential game winning field goal with five seconds left, but the kick sailed just wide of the left goal post.
With the win, Bloomington moves to 7-5 on the season and will finish in 3rd place in the CIF North. They will face the Omaha Beef on June 10th in the opening round of the CIF playoffs. That game will be held in Omaha. Bismarck finished the season 5-7 and in 4th place in the CIF North. The Bucks will play at Sioux City in their first round playoff game.
2018 season tickets are now on sale for the Bloomington Edge. Please call 484-840-3343 for more information, or visit www.bloomingtonedge.net.
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