HAZEN - With weapons like Briar Bornemann and Stetson Carr, the Hazen offense is a threat to score from anywhere on the field. Making that field a short one seems almost unfair.
But with the Hazen defense and special teams consistently handing the ball to the offense in great field position in Saturday's opening round of the Class A playoffs, the Bison playmakers were able to strike quickly.
With Bornemann rushing for five touchdowns, Hazen rattled off one big play after another as the fourth-ranked Bison breezed past Lewis & Clark-Our Redeemer's 50-20.
Hazen (7-2) ran just 35 plays from scrimmage, but 11 went for more than 10 yards and seven of those for more than 20.
Bornemann, who rushed for 120 yards on just 10 carries, was Hazen's primary threat. Carr, who completed 5-of-8 passes for 85 yards and ran for 46 more, was a prime accomplice.
"Any play you call, honestly, they have the potential to turn it into something," Hazen coach Rick Philion said. "Even if the defense closes it off, they have the ability to shake and bake and spin the other way. It makes it much easier for me, that's for sure."
Hazen made it look very easy on its first possession, swiftly marching 65 yards for a score. Bornemann had runs of 23, 29 and 10 on the drive, the last for a touchdown.
The Bombers controlled the ball for much of the rest of the first quarter with two sustained drives. The first ended with a 35-yard field goal attempt by Jordan Nelson that had the distance, but sailed wide left. The second culminated with an 8-yard touchdown run by Dalton Njos.
"There were a couple of mental mistakes," Philion said. "We let third downs turn into first downs, but that's stuff that can get corrected. It's when you don't get it corrected, that's when it gets frustrating. "
The Bison offense got back on track with three second-quarter scores. The defense had a big hand in that, with a pair of interceptions giving Hazen field position deep in Bomber territory.
The play that kick-started Hazen was a 40-yard play-action pass from Carr to Dominick Opp. Bornemann lugged it in from 4 yards out on the next play, and the two-point conversion made it 15-6.
Carr then picked off a pass from his Bomber counterpart, Austin Lee. Carr nearly took it back all the way, returning it to the 5-yard line. One play later, Bornemann backed his way into the end zone, and Hazen's lead was 22-6.
Hazen hosts No. 3 Heart River in next week's quarterfinals. The Cougars defeated the Bison 28-20 in their regular-season matchup.
"The kids are looking forward to it," Philion said. "... Any time you have a loss like that, I'm sure the kids are going to want to avenge it."