HARRIS - North Dickinson entered Friday's match-up against Bark River-Harris needing one win to run their playoff streak to a state record 23rd year.
The Nordics were going to have to do it without their star running back Tim Hruska, who suffered an ankle injury a week prior.
"Losing Tim is just like taking away half our offense," said Nordics head coach Joe Reddinger. "I told the guys last week that everybody has got to step it up another notch, we've got to cover up from that somehow."
Paul Gerard photo
Bark River Harris Broncos running back?Hunter Messersmith (14) carries for an 8-yard gain in the first quarter against North Dickinson, Friday night at Harris.
The team ran with the advice as they beat the Broncos 33-8 behind the legs of senior Matt Schultz's big night.
"First half was a little rough, we came in the first two drives and scored then we went flat from there," Schultz said. "We've been conditioning hard the past couple weeks and we came out and showed it in the second half."
After being held to 23 yards on nine carries in the first half, Schultz erupted for 120 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries in the second half; including a 65-yard score on third-and-four with 3:49 left in the fourth quarter.
"At halftime we switched up a couple blocks," Schultz said. "I played wing a little bit to get the end out because he was making a lot of tackles. We put a new play in, that's the play I broke off for. It worked good, we had good blocking."
The Broncos were unable to score in the second half but stayed within striking distance of North Dickinson for the most of the game.
After falling behind 14-0, with 2:48 left in the first quarter, BR-H got right back in the game with a two-play drive that ended with a 66-yard run up the middle by Brian Latta.
The Broncos scored on the two-point conversion as quarterback Jorden Sodergren rolled out of the pocket to find Hunter Messersmith streaking across the endzone.
"That's a good football team," Reddinger said. "Them going up and beating Gwinn last week and the way they played in the first half tonight shows that they're a quality team."
The Broncos started the second half with possession but went three-and-out.
The Nordics capitalized, as they drove seven plays, capped off by a Schultz touchdown run from seven yards out. BR-H head coach Al Stenberg said that score took a lot out of his team.
"We changed in the second half, when they scored that 20-8 touchdown that kind of put a fork in us and we just couldn't get back into it emotionally at that point," Stenberg said.
As the deficit grew the Broncos were forced to shy away from their run game and go to the air more, a strategy that Stenberg was hoping to avoid.
"Were inconsistent with the pass and we knew that," Stenberg said. "Once you're down by that much you've got to pass the ball more. We would've liked to run the ball better but they did somethings defensively that I didn't expect coming into this game."
The Nordics finished the game with 193 yards on the ground, and though quarterback Logan O'Neil was 5-6 for 132 yards, Reddinger said he prefers the ground attack.
"If you can't run the ball it's hard to win. There are only so many Aaron Rodgers' to go around. In high school you're lucky if you can hit 50 percent of your possessions."
North Dickinson improves to 5-0 on the season. They travel to Forest Park next week in a battle of undefeated teams.
Bark River-Harris drops to 1-4 on the season as they travel to Stephenson next week.