WILLISTON - Kolton Larson opened the scoring with a 29-yard interception return for a touchdown and the Minot High School football team crushed Williston 42-0 at Cutting Field on Friday.
The deep and fast MHS defense posted its second shutout in three games to remain undefeated following the West Region opener for both teams. The overmatched Coyotes dropped to 0-3.
Sophomore quarterback Ben Bolinske made his second varsity start and tossed two touchdowns to senior Kimani Benjamin. Senior running back Brady Lampert rushed for two touchdowns and led the Magicians with 107 yards on 12 carries.
Minot High School senior Kimani Benjamin heads upfield on a reception at Cutting Field in Williston on Friday. Benjamin caught two first-half touchdowns.
"We had a nice defensive effort and we're excited when we create a turnover and create short field," MHS coach Barry Holmen said. "That helped us a lot. Our defense was solid. (Williston) only had two different moments in the contest where they had a couple successive first downs."
Larson picked off Williston junior quarterback Dillon Brunelle and streaked up the left sideline to give MHS its first score with 8 minutes, 34 seconds left in the first quarter. The senior linebacker led a stingy defense that stuffed Williston nearly every play at the line of scrimmage. The Coyotes didn't earn a first down until late in the second quarter on their fifth possession of the game.
"Coming in here, we were looking for a three-and-out," Larson said, "and, I mean, an interception returned for a touchdown is even better. Coverage downfield was there and the linemen they were rushing, putting pressure on the quarterback and I was just kind of sitting there and he threw it up for me."
On the Magicians' third possession, Bolinske found Benjamin streaking up the sideline for a 40-yard touchdown reception. WHS coach Jim Klein said the visitors did a great job quickly finding the mismatches in his inexperienced secondary.
"Their speed is really good and they line up and just play football," Klein said. "They got the depth to do things and the speed. Their line did a nice job of coming off the football and sticking to their blocks."
MHS rushed for 252 yards and Bolinske finished 10 for 15 for 181 yards and two interceptions. Lampert scored on a 9-yard rush for the second score of the first quarter.
The offense stalled in the second quarter with three turnovers, two coming in the red zone. WHS junior Bradey Miller had both interceptions and junior Dillon Brunelle ripped the ball from Benjamin's hands near the goal line. MHS penalties also nullified two touchdowns.
"Way too many mistakes on the line of scrimmage - just snap counts and things like that," Holmen said. "Lots of mistakes in the red zone, so certainly an important part of the game that we need to improve upon."
Bolinske appeared to force throws on both interceptions, but played well overall. He connected with senior Tre Kinchen, who had game-highs of five receptions and 79 yards. Bolinske's second touchdown pass to Benjamin came on a 15-yard play with 33 seconds remaining in the first half. Benjamin finished with 73 yards on three receptions.
"Two interceptions is way too many interceptions," Bolinske said. "I gotta get back to work this week. I was leaving it up a little bit. (I need to) get better at reading coverages and not forcing the ball."
Junior linebacker Alex Mack set up Benjamin's second score with a 34-yard interception return to the Williston 26-yard line.
Lampert scored again in the third quarter on a 13-yard run and junior Karter Gorney capped the day with a 7-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Williston finished with just 80 yards from scrimmage.
The Magicians remain on the road for a 6:30 p.m. game against Mandan on Friday.
Tim Chapman covers Minot High School athletics. Follow him on Twitter @chapmatp.