With star RB Huus sidelined, Bismarck remains ready to battle for Dakota Bowl berth

Bismarck's Lucas Miller (26) finds running room during Friday's Class 3A quarterfinal playoff game last week. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

BISMARCK — Lucas Miller thought he was filling in for Isaiah Huus at tailback for just one practice. Miller, a senior at Bismarck High School, figured Huus was sore and maybe a little beat up after a tough loss to Bismarck Century, and needed a day off.

He didn’t know he’d be starting in Huus’ place for the remainder of the football season.

It wasn’t something Huus was expecting, either. Instead of being on the field at practice preparing for Bismarck’s opening-round North Dakota Class 3A playoff game, Huus, the team’s star runner, was prepping for surgery.

“I didn’t hear anything about him being hurt after the (Century) game, and then come Monday, I was practicing for him because he was hurt,” Miller said. “I didn't really know what was going on. And then that night was when he told us he needed surgery and that his season was over.”

Huus rushed 92 times for 1,195 yards and 21 touchdowns — nearly double that of the next highest rusher — before he was sidelined due to a lingering knee injury that required surgery last week.


Miller stepped up in the absence of all-state tailback, running for two touchdowns last Friday, Oct. 30, to help the Demons (7-1) narrowly advance to the Class 3A semifinals.

“I’m so happy for them. I knew they could do it,” said Huus, the Western Dakota Association’s top rusher. “I just hope they can go all the way. I’ll be here 100% watching them and cheering them on.”

Huus watched Bismarck edge West Fargo 21-20 in the quarterfinals on TV. His doctor advised against being on the sidelines.

“It was honestly really hard. It was painful. I’m happy for them, but just sitting there watching and not being able to play with all those boys was really sad,” Huus said.

Bismarck tailback Isaiah Huus is out for the season with a knee injury. Will Kincaid / Bismarck Tribune

Huus, a 6-foot-2 junior, may have to watch his team battle for a berth in the Dakota Bowl on Friday from his couch. He doesn’t know if he’ll be able to make the trip as Bismarck hits the road to play West Fargo Sheyenne (8-0) in the semis.

The Demons, the No. 2 seed from the West, will face the three-time East Region champs at 7 p.m. Friday at Essentia Health Mustang Stadium.


Huus initially underwent surgery in May for knee bursitis, which is when the bursa, a small fluid-filled sac situated near the knee joint, becomes inflamed. Huus, who also wrestles and won the 182-pound state wrestling title in February, said his knee looked like a water balloon.

His knee didn’t heal properly from the procedure, and had bothered him the entire football season. He landed pretty hard on his knee during a midseason game against Bismarck Legacy and busted it open a little bit. He played through it for three games before one of the high school’s athletic trainers suspected it was infected.

They noticed his knee was warm and starting to get red. On top of the pain, the infection was causing a fever and Huus started getting sick. A visit to the emergency room confirmed what the trainers had suspected.

BHS tailback Isiaah Huus 2.jpg
Bismarck's Isaiah Huus carries against Minot on Sept. 4, 2020. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

If it were up to him, Huus would’ve played last Friday, and for a brief moment, it looked like he would. Huus asked the doctor if they could put him on an antibiotic instead of surgery so he could play in the quarterfinal. The doctor initially said he’d be good to go.

The surgeon came in about five minutes later and said Huus would have to be admitted to the hospital and was going to have surgery the following morning. The sudden surgery was a shock.

Huus said the operation went well and everything has gone fine since. He's expected to be able to wrestle this winter.


The season-ending injury was a blow to the Demons, who have relied heavily on Huus to fuel the ground game. Luckily, the team gets plenty of help from a veteran offensive line that can create holes, and Miller, who has no problem running through them.

“We have a great line. They’ll create the holes for Lucas Miller. He's a really good running back. He could be running back No. 1 on basically any other team in the state,” said Demons senior defensive end Jack Steckler. “We've always got confidence in each other, and the linemen will do their thing like they do every week.”

Bismarck's Jack Steckler carries the ball into the end zone for a touchdown during a game this season. Will Kincaid / Bismarck Tribune

After falling short in the opening round last year, the outcome fueled the Demons. They had a strong offseason as a whole and have noticed that translate to the field. Bismarck trained with Sanford POWER this summer and worked with a strength and conditioning coach.

“As a team, we got stronger, bigger, faster and everything that we needed to do for this year,” Steckler said. “I think it really shows on the field that we did that this summer.”

Bismarck knows it will face one of its biggest tests of the season Friday against Sheyenne.

“They’re a really good team. They’ve got a lot of talent,” said Steckler, who has 12 catches for 149 yards. “They can run the ball hard, and when they need to pass it, they can pass it, too. They have a lot of athletes. We know we’re gonna be in for a battle. We just have to stick to our game, but we know it’s gonna be a good game.”


Friday will be Bismarck’s first appearance in the semifinals since 2018, when the Demons won the state title.

Carissa Wigginton is a high school sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. A Fargo native, she graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Wigginton joined The Forum’s sports department in August 2019.
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