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Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan’s Jonah Bailey run for a 39-yard touchdown on a pass from Blake Bartscher in the first quarter of the Seahawks’ 30-8 win over Gregory in the semifinals of Class 9AA high school football Saturday in Gregory. (Nick McCutcheon/Republic)

Seahawks return to Dome with win over Gorillas

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GREGORY — Jordan Grosdidier took the opening kickoff 83-yards for a touchdown to propel No. 4 Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan to a 30-8 win over No. 1 Gregory Saturday night in Gregory.

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With the win, the Seahawks (10-1) move on to play No. 2 Arlington in the finals of the Class 9AA state playoffs at 2:30 p.m. Thursday at the DakotaDome in Vermillion.

BEE has made it to the Dome three of the past four years, winning the title in 2010 and 2011.

“It’s a great felling every time it happens,” BEE’s 34-year coach Jeff VanLeur said after the win. “That return on special teams got us momentum right off the bat and gave us a charge.”

Gregory (9-2) coach Brain Allmendinger felt his team had a tough time recovering from the initial shock of the opening Seahawk score.

“It was devastating and put us on our heels right away,” Allmendinger said. “We never really recovered.”

BEE followed up with another first-quarter score when quarterback Blake Bartscher found running back Jonah Bailey slipping out of the backfield for a 39-yard touchdown to put the visiting Seahawks up 14-0.

Gregory’s offense failed to get much movement in the first half, and BEE would take a 22-0 lead into the half after Bartscher found Wade Miller for a 25-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Gregory was able to get on the board as time expired in the third quarter when junior quarterback Kurt Braun found senior Andrew Taggart for a 5-yard touchdown to pull the home team to within 14.

The Gorillas would get no closer as Bartscher would spring loose from a pile at the line of scrimmage for a 16-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter to seal the game for the Seahawks.

The BEE defense stood strong against a Gorilla offense that averaged 36 points per game coming into play Saturday. Gregory managed just 167 yards of total offense in the loss.

Tyler Myers led the Seahawk defense and seemed to be a permanent fixture in the Gregory backfield.

“I felt like we had to contain their quarterback and keep him from throwing deep,” Myers said. “I told the guys before we came out that we have to go hard and play Seahawk football.”

The senior lineman, who will be making his third trip to the Dome along with other BEE seniors, racked up 17 total tackles for the Seahawks. Ethan Riggs added 16 tackles in the win.

The BEE ground game, which has run wild all year, was keep in check for the most part by Gregory, but big plays in the passing game and timely runs helped the Seahawk offense control the pace.

“We could have maybe been a little more aggressive at times, but we wanted to keep the clock under control,” VanLeur said.

Bartscher finished 4-of-9 passing for 123 yards and two touchdowns, while adding another 82 yards on 24 carries and a score on the ground.

Wade Miller, who had been averaging over 160 yards per game in 2013, was held to 24 yards on 17 carries, but the senior running back caught two passes for 46 yards and picked up an interception on defense.

Bailey finished with two catches for 67 yards and a score to lead the Seahawk receiving corps.

Gregory was led by Braun, who finished with 60 yards on 21 carries on the ground, while completing six passes for 59 yards and a score.

Brandon Warnke had a team-high 15 tackles for the Gorillas, while Jonah Beck racked up 14 tackles.

Gregory’s season ends with a record of 9-2.

“Even though we are 9-2 it is still hard to end it like this,” Allmendinger said.

Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan 14 8 0 8 – 30

Gregory ……………………… 0 0 8 0 – 8

First Quarter:

BEE: Jordan Grosdidier 83 kickoff return (Wade Miller run)

BEE: Jonah Bailey 39 pass from Blake Bartscher (conversion failed)

Second Quarter:

BEE: Miller 25 pass from Bartscher (Bartscher pass to Camden Myers)

Third Quarter:

G: Andrew Taggart 5 pass from Kurt Braun (Derek Stukel run)

Fourth Quarter:

BEE: Bartscher 16 run (Miller run)

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