The Bishop Ryan football team led 6-2 at halftime and shut down Bottineau's passing game.
That wasn't good enough for coach Brad Borkhuis.
Borkhuis ripped into his team at halftime, emphatically stating that his team needed to work harder and play more disciplined. He challenged his team to play with intensity in the second half and break the game open.
Bishop Ryan junior quarterback Austin Eggl sheds off a couple Bottineau defenders at Herb Parker Stadium on Friday.
"The kids had to understand that our team's success is based on discipline and intensity," Borkhuis said. "In the first half we showed none of it. The kids had to understand that commitment to what we do - the little things - is how we win games. If we don't do it that's how we're going to lose games."
The Lions listened.
Junior quarterback Austin Eggl completed 13-of-23 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown and junior wide receiver Nick Berentson caught six passes for 88 yards in a 28-2 victory over West Region opponent Bottineau on Friday at Herb Parker Stadium. Eggl also led the team in rushing with 67 yards on 13 carries.
"We performed a lot better in the second half," Eggl said. "The first half was pretty disappointing. (Bottineau) was really trying to key in and stop our inside run game so it left me with some open runs and opened up the passing game too."
The defense matched the offense's intensity, forcing two turnovers and stopping the Braves (2-3 overall, 0-3 region) on three fourth-down attempts.
Bottineau senior running back Trevor Wettlaufer rushed for 113 yards on 25 carries, but turned the ball over twice on consecutive possessions, giving the Lions a short field.
Ryan capitalized on Wettlaufer's second fumble as Eggl scored on a five-yard run to give the Lions a 14-2 lead with 5:32 remaining in the third quarter. Eggl found junior wide receiver Brody Bosch in the end zone for the two-point conversion.
The Lions (4-1, 3-0) dominated the fourth quarter on both sides of the ball. Berentson rushed for a pair of 1-yard touchdowns in the quarter to put the game out of reach with 8:24 remaining. Eggl connected with Berentson on a 53-yard pass to the 1-yard line, which set up Berentson's first touchdown of the game.
"In the second half we came out with more energy," Eggl said. "We were more focused and executed our plays and got a lot better push up front."
After a strong three quarters of work, Wettlaufer struggled to find running room in the fourth. Wettlaufer was held to 34 yards on nine carries in the fourth quarter.
Ryan's defense held firm on two fourth-and-short situations in the second half. The first came at Ryan's 38-yard line on fourth-and-2 and the second occurred late in the fourth quarter on a fourth-and-1.
"On defense we were flying to the ball," Borkhuis said. "That really makes a difference. The second half I was very happy. They made a statement and they set the tempo. The team responded very well in the second half."
Ryan plays at Carrington at 7 p.m. on Friday.