BELLE FOURCHE – Despite a late second half surge Belle Fourche fell one touchdown short of matching rival Spearfish in the Broncs’ final game of the season, falling 28-21. Belle Fourche finished the season 3-6 as they said farewell to 11 varsity players on senior night.
“From top to bottom, I appreciate all these seniors. It’s been a tight knit group and lot of them came in with great numbers and they stuck it out,” said Bronc Head Coach Scott Slotten. “They fought with everything they had and it wasn’t quite enough. But they are going to be better men because of it.”
Spearfish took the opening kickoff and moved 47 yards in seven plays to take a 7-0 lead with just under 9:00 left in the first. Belle Fourche responded with a 7-play 66-yard drive powered by a 51-yard pass play from quarterback Nolan Wahlfeldt to senior Gabe Heck. Sophomore Kyren Nulle powered in standing up from 3-yards out for the score. The Newell transfer completed an impressive season in the purple and white. Anthony Staley’s extra point tied the game at 7. Staley was perfect during the 2021 on all of his extra point attempts.
Each side traded possessions in the second quarter with the Bronc defense stopping Spearfish on 4th down in the red zone. Late in the second Spearfish’s Ian Rath blocked a Nulle punt and drove 31 yards in six plays for a score. The touchdown came on a 1-yard quarterback sneak on 4th down that was the final play of the half, it was 14-7 Spartans at the break.
After an early 3rd quarter unsuccessful fake punt by the Broncs the Spartans capitalized going 37-yards in four plays to take a 21-7 lead. Spearfish extended the lead to 28-7 after a 4th down 1-yard quarterback sneak for a score to make it 28-7 after three.
Belle Fourche mounted a comeback in the fourth quarter. Spearfish quarterback Jaden Guthmiller fumbled at the 48 and the Bronc’s Jayden Sechser picked it up and returned it to the 13-yard line. Three plays later Wahlfeldt took it in from 3 yards out and it was 28-14 with 11:30 left in the game.
Sechser came to the fore on the Spartans next drive as he intercepted a 4th-down pass from Guthmiller to set the Broncs up on their own ten yard line. Belle Fourche then put together a 90-yard drive in 11 plays to score. Wahlfeldt hit Gabe Heck on a 12-yard pass over the middle for the score to make it 28-21 with 4:48 to go in the game, and that’s where the scoring ended.
The Broncs finish with three wins as they did last year. Eleven seniors were honored before the game: #78 center Riley Newman, #77 tackle Sean Wahlfeldt, receiver #12 Dalton Davis, lineman #79 Ryan Evans, tight end/ linebacker #22 Aidan McCarty, lineman #74 Brooks Clooten, center #62 Cade Bikerdyke, lineman #52 Dagan Burns, fullback/ linebacker #89 Devin Burns, receiver/ linebacker #33 Gabe Heck and receiver/ defensive back #7 Ryker Audiss.
Slotten paid special recognition to his team captains in his post-game comments; Dalton Davis, Aiden McCarty, Gabe Heck and Brooks Clooten. “I can’t thank those captains and those seniors enough,” Slotten said. “I picked those guys for a reason. Gabe Heck, we’ve talked about all season. He’s that dude, and still is, and did everything we’ve asked him to all season. Dalton didn’t start football until he was junior and look what he’s done. Aiden, a Spearfish transfer, he meshes with all our boys right away. Whatever the team needs he tells me he can do it. Brooks came back from a serious knee injury and no one knows the hard work he’s done to get that knee back to full strength. It’s not the way you want to end the season, but at least we ended up fin a fight. They gave everything they had.”