The first half was all about defense with the Bulldogs of UMS-Wright controlling the line of scrimmage for much of the 24 minutes. Creating three turners that led directly to two touchdowns, UMS-Wright put Deshler in an early hole with quarterback Michael Scott pulling all the right buttons.
On the first scoring drive of the game the Bulldogs had to go less than 50 yards and Scott handled much of that on one play. On third down the 5-9 signal-caller dropped back to pass, but saw a running lane and pulled the ball down. Twenty-two yards later and UMS was knocking on the door of the endzone for the first time on the night. It took four plays from inside 10 yards before they put six on the board though when Rashod Bumpers scored from one-yard out.
Junior Terrell Edwards will be one of the state's top players next season. The 6-2, 197 junior can play both tailback and wide receiver.
The Bulldogs extended the lead to 14-0 in the second quarter on a four-yard touchdown pass from Scott to Terrell Edwards. It capped a 27-yard drive following a Deshler fumble. Trying to mount a comeback, Deshler responded with an 11-play, 62-yard drive that resulted in a Jerrod Henry field goal. It cut the lead to 14-3, but that's as close as things would get the rest of the way.
The half closed with a flourish for the Bulldogs as they answered a Deshler field goal with a 77-yard scoring drive that ended with a Preston Dial 40-yard touchdown catch with just 25 seconds left in the first half. Once again Scott was the key for the Bulldogs with a scramble for a first down on the drive. After a nine-yard completion to Brandon Gibson on first down, Scott threw a perfect middle screen to Dial who made one man miss and was home free for the score. That put UMS up 21-3 and in good position for its fourth state championship since 1990.
Things got even better for Coach Terry Curtis' team in the second half as the Bulldogs opened with a drive that lasted almost five and a half minutes and resulted in Bumpers' second touchdown of the game. Pounding the ball on the ground, UMS-Wright drove down to the Deshler eight-yard line where Bumpers pushed it across for the touchdown. That made it 28-3 and put the Tigers up against the wall.
They responded with the game's first big play on the ground. Averaging over nine yards per carry on the ground this season, senior tailback Rafael Hogan raced 54 yards for Deshler's first touchdown just over one minute after Bumper's score. It was his 10th touchdown of the season and put the Tigers right back in the thick of things as long as the defense could hold up its end of the bargain.
Junior receiver Brandon Gibson finished his junior season with 50 catches for 700 yards and 10 touchdowns. The 6-1, 185-pounder will be a player to watch next season.
It didn't happen. Taking the ball from its own 42-yard line following a good kickoff return, the Bulldogs drove the heart right out of the Tigers behind the play of Scott. Scrambling for yardage and making big plays, Scott capped the 10-play drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Gibson and just like that this game was over and done.
Deshler did cut into the lead momentarily thanks to a 55-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Hogan, but it was too little too late for Deshler as the Tigers lost their third consecutive state championship game. A late touchdown run by UMS-Wright's Erling Riis put the finishing touches on a dominant 42-16 victory for the Bulldogs.