Given two hours during a weather delay to ponder its 10-point lead over Northwest, Dodge City's football team apparently decided it didn't need to take as many chances in the second half.
The Demons' conservative approach after halftime worked just as well as their passing attack did in the first 30 minutes. Quarterback Jared Helfrich and running back Parker Davis combined for 181 rushing yards in the second half in Dodge City's 30-10 win Friday at Northwest. Helfrich and Davis combined for minus-4 rushing yards, all by Helfrich, in the first half.
Helfrich passed for 181 yards in the first half, but after Dodge City took a 20-3 lead soon after the lengthy delay, the Demons had less of a desire to stretch the field.
"They've got good playmakers, they've got a good football team," Northwest coach Weston Schartz said. "They probably won't lose many football games. We played them tough for a while and ran out of gas."
Helfrich established Rico Hogan as his favorite target in the first half. Hogan's speed makes him a deep threat, but it also helps him outrun defenders after a short reception. Helfrich took advantage of the latter, hitting Hogan on two screen passes that turned into two touchdowns for a combined 118 yards.
"We were actually in a man-to-man and we should have been taking care of that," Schartz said. "I don't know why we weren't."
The first touchdown to Hogan deflated Northwest after the Grizzlies went ahead 3-0 on a field goal late in the first quarter. Hogan reached the end zone 19 seconds later and again about three minutes after that.
"He's just a good receiver and it's hard to take him down," Helfrich said. "He's quick. A good ballplayer."
Parker Davis scored on a 33-yard pass from Helfrich less than four minutes into the third, but Northwest found hope with a nine-play drive that ended when quarterback Cedrick Jay snuck it in from the 1-yard line.
Northwest got the ball back after a three-and-out by Dodge City, but the Grizzlies fumbled on their first play of the next series. Northwest missed another chance to rally when a wide-open Chris Hughes dropped a potential touchdown near midfield with Dodge City leading 23-10.
"We should have caught that," Schartz said. "He's a young kid and he'll make plays in the next two years for us."
Helfrich scored on a 34-yard run to extinguish Northwest's dim comeback hopes. The Demons quarterback had another run of 49 yards in the second half and David had three rushes of at least 20 yards in the second half after going without a carry in the first.
Dodge City (2-0) 7 6 7 10 — 30
Northwest (0-2) 3 0 7 0 — 10
NW—Mills 27 FG
DC— Hogan 67 pass from Helfrich (Burkhard kick)
DC— Hogan 51 pass from Helfrich (kick failed)
DC— Davis 22 pass from Helfrich (Burkhard kick)
NW—Jay 1 run (Mills kick)
DC— Burkhard 19 FG
DC— Helfrich 34 run (Burkhard kick)
Rushing—Dodge City, Davis 11-92, Helfrich 13-85, Hallman 1-0. Northwest, TJ Thurman 11-87, Wallace 16-79, AJ Thurman 12-18, Jay 8-7, Thompson 2-3, Cuda
Passing—Dodge City, Helfrich 13-23-243-0. Northwest, Jay 4-9-78-1.
Receiving—Dodge City, Hogan 6-157, Hallman 4-40, Davis 3-46. Northwest, AJ Thurman 2-63, Hughes 2-15.