BRIDGEWATER — Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan pitched its third shutout of the playoffs and this one sends it back to a familiar spot.
The Seahawks blanked McCook Central/Montrose 42-0 to earn their third straight trip to the Class 11B state title game on Friday. BEE (11-0) will play Winner (11-0) at Nov. 15 at the Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium in Brookings.
“We know the feeling of getting there. We also know the feeling of getting there and not completing what we want to complete,” said quarterback Brady Hawkins, referencing BEE’s last two state title game defeats. “Right now it starts that we have to get ready in practice and get ready to go. This is a big game. We have to be ready for it.”
They were ready on Friday. Friday’s 11B semifinal matchup was the second meeting between BEE and MCM this season. BEE knocked off the Fighting Cougars 57-35 on Sept. 20 as it was the most points scored against the Seahawks this season.
But there was no repeat on Friday. BEE’s defense smothered MCM’s offense, which finished with 370 yards in the first meeting. The Fighting Cougars managed just 222 yards on Friday.
“It was a team effort all the way around with the defense and I thought coming on the field tonight there was kind of a ‘We are going to get this job done together,’ ” BEE coach Jeff Van Leur said. “Everybody was disciplined and did their job and shut things down. Our offense got some points on the board and we got them out of their game just a little bit.”
Offensively, Hawkins had a hand in three touchdowns, while Jonah Hofer scored two total touchdowns. Rylee Schultz and Chase Arend both scored receiving touchdowns. Koby Kayser added a touchdown for BEE, which racked up 355 total yards.
“We have a lot of weapons there and a lot of kids you have to defend and I thought tonight they did a good job,” Van Leur said. “We made big plays when we needed to make big plays.”
Hofer started the scoring with a 32-yard touchdown run on BEE’s opening possession. After forcing a turnover on downs, Kayser found the end zone on a 14-yard score to make it 14-0.
“It makes my job a lot easier, being able to hand off the ball and watch Jonah run,” Hawkins said about the balanced offensive attack. “But that all starts up front. That’s all our O-line and how hard they play. Passing the ball, running the ball, all the credit goes to the line.”
The Seahawks then went into halftime with some momentum. After failing to convert a fourth down deep in MCM’s territory, the Seahawks forced the Fighting Cougars to punt. Hofer scooped up the short punt and returned it 34 yards for the 21-0 lead.
BEE’s defense then keep the shutout intact. MCM converted a long pass play inside BEE’s 10-yard line. However, the Fighting Cougars couldn’t capitalize and BEE forced another turnover on downs to preserve the 21-0 advantage at halftime.
“Our kids got down there and bowed a little bit,” Van Leur said. “But we came back and made a couple great plays and shut them down and we were getting the ball back right after halftime. So that was huge.”
Arend hauled in a 22-yard touchdown reception from Hawkins in the third quarter made it 28-0, while Schultz’s 11-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter pushed the lead to 35-0. Hawkins’ 34-yard touchdown run completed the scoring and another spot in an 11B title game.
“We are back to the same place,” Van Leur said. “We are 0-0 and we have to go back to work again and have a good week of practice and go from there.”
Hawkins finished with 156 rushing yards, while Hofer added 129 yards on the ground.
For MCM, Raygen Randall recorded 103 passing yards and Jacobi Krouse had 98 rushing yards. Jake Cheeseman had 99 receiving yards for MCM, which finishes the season 9-2 and both losses were against the Seahawks.