TYNDALL — The Bon Homme High School football team will have a chance to reign again.

A gritty defensive performance and powerful run game propelled the Bon Homme Cavaliers football team Friday night, earning themselves a trip to their second straight Class 9AA state championship game after winning in 2018.

In what started off as a defensive battle, Bon Homme running back Noah Heesch began marching his way down the field at will, helping the Cavaliers cruise past Deuel 26-6 in the state semifinals in Tyndall. Bon Homme (10-1) will play Viborg-Hurley for the state title on Thursday.

“We have some crazy emotions right now, and these kids have built their own legacy,” said Bon Homme head coach Byron Pudwill, as he celebrated with his team.

To open the second quarter, Heesch cut it to the outside and burned past Deuel’s defense for a 43 yard touchdown run, putting the first points on the board 7-0.

In the next drive, the Cardinals responded in a big way, as running back Nick Kasten led Deuel down the field midway through the second quarter, capping it off with a 14-yard touchdown run on a third down. The two-point pass failed, leaving the Cardinals down 7-6 in early in the second quarter.

And that was it for the Cardinals’ damage on the scoreboard Friday.

“This is just a great group of kids, and we’ve only given up six points in three playoff games, and that’s hard to do,” Pudwill said.

Bon Homme’s defense came alive, led by Isaac and Josh Crownover, as the two combined for 13 tackles in the first-half. Defensive tackle Cole Bares, also chipped in with five tackles.

Heesch continued doing damage in the backfield for Bon Homme, powering his way to the outside and diving in for the Cavaliers second touchdown of the game midway through the second quarter, and leaving the halftime score at 13-6.

As Logan Stoltenburg completed a pair of passes with just under a minute left in the half for 23 yards, Deuel was in position to score, but the Cavaliers’ defense made a big stop to run out the clock for the half-time break.

As Heesch received the kickoff to open the second half, he weaved his way through a few tackles and brought Bon Homme fans to their feet with a 96-yard return to put the Cavaliers up 20-6.

“That kickoff return was a game changer, and we used it to get us back to the championship game,” he said.

The Cavaliers added a touchdown run in the fourth quarter, with Josh Crownover adding a 7-yard touchdown run and capping the scoring at 26-6.