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#BeyondTheKeystone North Dakota (Heart River v. Bowman County) @BCHSBulldogs @heartrivercgrs

Written by: on Sunday, August 23rd, 2020


August 22, 2020
Heart River Cougars v. Bowman County Bulldogs
Belfield Football Field, Belfield, ND

BC — 6 – 20 – 0 – 0 — 26
HR — 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 — 0

BC 6:11 44 yd TD pass, PAT failed BC 6-0
BC 9:52 25 yd TD pass, pass good BC 14-0
BC 5:52 21 yd TD pass, run failed BC 20-0
BC 1:24 16 yd TD pass, pass failed BC 26-0

A rather rare Saturday afternoon game kicked off the season for two southwest North Dakotan football teams this week. The Bowman County Bulldogs and Heart River Cougars were originally scheduled for different opponents. But, due to covid-19, the regional rivals were forced to schedule a second game between the US85 foes just 58 miles apart.

The Bulldogs are formed from a co-op between Bowman and Rhame. The other Bowman County school, Scranton, is in a co-op with Hettinger. Meanwhile, Heart River is a three-way co-op between Belfield, South Heart, and Billings County (located in Medora). These are the only two southwestern 11-man teams.

And are contrasts in pedigree. Heart River is starting the season with a new head coach, while Bowman County is one of the stalwarts of Class A in North Dakota. And this afternoon, that was aparrant.

For the game, Bowman County started strong and methodical. Moving the ball systematically down the field. Their passing game unable to be hindered by Heart River’s defense. The first quarter they gave their all, but when their own offense stumbled, their special teams was consistently underwhelming. To the point a fourth-and-long from inside their own 25 was attempted, rather than go with another 5-to-10 yard punt attempt. It failed, but it was at least an agressive move.

Holding a strong, but tantalizing lead at the half, Bowman County would not score again. There were a myriad of turnovers and fourth down stops. Late in the game, it felt as if Bowman County were easing up and getting some in-game practice going rather than trying to just demoralize their hosts with a deluge of points.

For Heart River’s credit, their defensive line played well and kept the game in front of them. Their secondary struggled mightily against the pass. For Bowman County, their passing game was sharp for most of it and their line play was decent. Though Heart River did a manageable workman-like gameplan to neutralize them. Their passing defense, however, made their advantages they did have moot.

For a highlight, Bowman County’s #56, Ashton Battest, a sophomore, looks to be one of the baddest hombres waiting to take his turn in the ensuing years. 6’5 and listed at a svelt 265, he was an anchor on the line late in the game.

Bowman County (1-0) hosts Richardton-Taylor-Hebron at Bowman County Stadium, while Heart River (1-0) goes on the road to play at New Salem.


For more, and larger, photos from this game, click HERE.

Fore photos from previous weeks and seasons, visit

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