'You have to be consistent' - 3 takeaways from Devils Lake's 28-0 shutout loss (Sept. 16)

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – The sights and sounds of summer passed well before Devils Lake’s Sept. 16 home contest against Fargo South at Roller Field. 

Devils Lake vs. Fargo South Football 9/16/22

Any thoughts of any opposing offense taking it to the opposing defense via the air attack passed, too, given the weather conditions. A misty and muddy environment only meant one thing. Or two, even – how would each team’s rushing game dictate the pace, and where would a turnover or two mean all the difference? 

One side was bound to reap the benefits. The other, meanwhile, was going to be at the receiving end of such a murky punch to the gut. 

After a not-so-enticing 49-0 road loss against Shanley on Sept. 9, Fargo South (3-1, 2-0) found enough of a jolt on the rushing end to come away with a convincing rebound in the form of a 28-0 shutout against Devils Lake (1-3, 1-3) Friday evening. The Firebirds, meanwhile, continued their losing skid after a 53-7 loss against Valley City last week. 

Here are three takeaways from the Bruins’ 28-0 shutout against the Firebirds: 

1. Turnover’s the word (and defense, too)

Such a hostile environment for passing the ball – let alone carrying it – was only heightened as the Roller Field gridiron got damper and damper as bodies clashed up and down the field. Turnovers breed momentum swings, and the Firebirds initially found hope in this regard when the Bruins fumbled the ball on a goal-and-go opportunity as the first quarter came to a close. 

A Firebird punt later gave the Bruins a second chance. And this time, they didn’t let it go to waste. After Bruin quarterback Kolby Nissen connected on a pair of slant plays, a facemask penalty helped put the Bruins on the board first after running back Damarion Semanko found enough space on the edge. 

Devils Lake's Beau Brodina (#12, background) takes practice snaps before Friday's game against Fargo South.

Three interceptions from Devils Lake quarterback Beau Brodina, coupled with a resurgent Semanko, wore down a Firebird defensive front that continued to see prolonged time on the field. 

“We were out of position a few times,” Devils Lake head coach Todd Lambrecht said after the game. “It’s things we go over, and we [have] a few young guys that we had to move to new positions. A few things came up, and they didn’t quite do what they were supposed to do, and that’s part of my job, not coaching them to get in that better spot. So, that was on me.” 

Defense wins games, so the saying goes. One too many turnovers can be a deciding factor, too. The Firebirds learned that lesson all too well Friday evening. 

2. One tandem against another 

Fargo South's Damarion Semanko (#22, center) rushes with the ball against Devils Lake on Sept. 16.

Brodina, in addition to senior running back Colton Schneider, had experience on their side as they looked to take on Fargo South’s Nissen-Semanko QB-RB duo. Heading into Friday’s contest, Schneider and Brodina combined for 466 rushing yards (260 for Schneider and 206 for Brodina) and five rushing touchdowns (two for Schneider and three for Brodina). 

A stagnant first half looked to be rectified during Devils Lake’s first drive during the second as the duo continued to juggle between seam runs and bootlegs. An untimely sack, however, saw the Brodina-Schneider stall once again. Such momentum was not built on over the remainder of the game. 

Even still, Lambrecht has noticed promise in the duo. And with experience on their side, Lambrecht will still look to lean on the duo as the second half of the season gets underway. 

“They’re working well together,” Lambrecht said. “Colton is a very strong runner. Beau is, too, so them working together, it’s a dual threat. It makes our offense that much more playable.” 

3. Inconsistency here, consistency there 

The statement speaks (and writes) for itself. After scoring 12 points in their Aug. 26 season-opener against Wahpeton, the Firebirds went on to shell West Fargo Horace, 41-8, on Sept. 2. 

The Firebirds have been unable to muster enough offense to counteract the youth and transition on the defensive side since. Over their last two games, the Firebirds have scored seven points and have allowed 81. 

Despite moving the ball at times Friday evening, Lambrecht knows his team’s x-factor if he ever saw it. 

“Be consistent,” Lambrecht said. “We were moving the ball on them. We were doing things, and [we] just got to a point where we were inconsistent, you know. We had a hiccup here and a hiccup there, and just boom, boom, boom. We can’t have that, especially against good teams like this. You have to be consistent.” 

Consistency will be critical, especially as the Firebirds begin a stretch where three of their next four games take place away from the home confines of Roller Field. 

John Crane is a sports/general assignment reporter for the Devils Lake Journal. Feel free to contact John via work phone (701-922-1372), cell phone (701-230-4339), email (jcrane@gannett.com), Instagram (johnbcranesports) or Twitter (@johncranesports) with any story ideas.