Bangs finishes pre-district slate with 0-5 mark

BANGS — It’s been a tough start to the football season for the Bangs Dragons as they endured their fifth straight loss to the Jim Ned Indians with a final score of 68-22. The game was hard fought and both teams powered through big hits and frustrating penalties but Bangs (0-5) had no answer for Jim Ned’s (4-1) high powered offense — which generated 651 total yards, 353 rushing and 298 passing.

Bangs began the game in a no huddle offense and saw some success en route to a 372-yard performance — 231 passing and 141 rushing. But the Indians’ defense was able to convert on too many mistakes. Once again the Dragons found themselves trailing early after Jim Ned’s Brandon Amidon returned a 45-yard interception for a touchdown on the first play of the game. After a quick Bangs possession, Jim Ned began its next drive with good field position and was able to score quickly after a 61-yard run by sophomore running back Riley Perry.

Bangs had no intention of giving up early and was able to put some big plays together. The Dragons’ first trip to the end zone was on a short pass to junior tailback Seth Anderson. Anderson then turned what should have been a short yardage play into a 33-yard touchdown. The Bangs offense has shown a lot of promise in the past five games and quarterback Colton Brewer’s ability to find the open man when scrambling has saved many possessions. After the Anderson’s touchdown, Jim Ned would answer with a 21-yard run of its own to end the first quarter.

The battle continued in the second quarter when Bangs, down 20-6, was able to reach the end zone on a Brewer touchdown run for 10 yards, but Jim Ned continued to make big plays. One possession later, the Indians were able to stretch a quick swing pass into a 45-yard catch and run that was almost a touchdown if not for Bangs’ secondary that stopped the pass just short of the end zone.

The grit the defense showed throughout the game was palpable but, in the end, couldn’t stop the well oiled machine that was the Jim Ned offense. Multiple times the Dragons’ linebacker play would penetrate deep into Jim Ned’s backfield but just couldn’t hold the fort down for four consecutive plays at a time setting up an opportunity for Jim Ned to make big play after big play. With 5:12 remaining in the first half, Jim Ned quarterback Coalby Rives was able to connect with junior wide receiver Brady Montgomery for a 53-yard shot straight down the hash mark. Bangs took its next possession seriously making consecutive first downs but ended the half just shy of another touchdown with a score of 33-14.

The Dragons started the second half with a lot of fight, especially by senior linebacker Kobey Hoffman who found himself behind the line of scrimmage multiple times. There were big hits by both teams but the Dragons dusted themselves off after every single one and were able to put bodies on the ground themselves. The biggest issues seemed to be mental lapses and missed tackles that the Indians capitalized on. After a 30-yard reverse, the Indians were able to score on a 9-yard zip pass. After a Bangs’ turnover on downs, the Indians scored again on a 47-yard pass from to flats to make the score 47-14.

The Dragons’ passing game showed great promise throughout the night by both Brewer’s ability to elongate plays and find open receivers and also by his receivers fighting to find the open field. After a fumbled snap at their own 35 yard line, Brewer somehow managed to dodge three defensive linemen and find Justin Wilson open 20 yards downfield. After making the catch, Wilson then scampered another 41 yards for a touchdown on a play that seemed destined for failure.

Later in the fourth quarter, in what was perhaps their best possession of the night, Brewer was able to connect with George Nichols on an outstanding 30-yard reception that kept a puttering drive alive. The very next play, Justin Wilson snatched the ball out of the air from two Jim Ned defenders on a 25-yard touchdown pass. In just a matter of seconds, the Dragons’ offense was able to move over half the field to put points on the board.

After the game, Bangs head coach Jim Bird praised both his team and their competitors, “Hats off to Jim Ned. They were very fast and attacked well. Our kids played their absolute hardest but need better technique in order to win. I’m proud of our fight and hustle. We are blocking better and running harder and we’ve shown that we have the ability to put points on the board. We just need to tighten up our defense.”

Next week the Dragons will have a bye before traveling to Coleman (1-4). a 45-7 loser to Clyde Friday, to take on the Bluecats for their first District 4-3A Division II game.