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Van High took a 27-0 lead into the locker room at Montcalm on Friday night and rolled to a 40-8 victory.

BLUEFIELD — Van High’s David Stewart scored on runs of 23 and 55 yards in the first quarter of play as Van used a smothering defensive effort and key special teams play to beat Montcalm in Mercer County, 40-8. 

It would be all the Bulldogs would need on this night.

Van (2-3) spread the scoring around, and their defense put points on the board as well, which was a narrative that pleased their coach.

“We are a different team than we were in game one,” said head coach Steve “Foot” Price. “I’ve got 12 freshmen, and the game is slowing down for them and our first-year guys. We’re starting to understand scouting reports on opponents and were starting to recognize tendencies and things like that. I feel good with where we are right now and how far we’ve come in just a few weeks. We’ve grown up a lot.”

Swedish foreign exchange student Frank Bergqvist, also the team’s kicker and punter, scored on a short dive for the Bulldogs, marking the seniors’ first taste of pay dirt in a football career spanning just five prep games.

Brady Green scored defensively, and Kalen Booth found the end zone in the game for the Bulldogs.

One score came on a pick-6 play and the other on a 3-yard run for Van.

The younger Booth caught a shanked punt in the air, setting up a score by Stewart in the first half.

Lineman Hunter McMicken has been switched to the team’s full-time fullback.

“Not many kids really want to take on a 290-pounder running downhill,” added Price. “He’s doing a real good job in the role, and he’s taking it seriously.”

The final score of the game came on Shaun Booth’s 55-yard interception return good for a TD.

Stewart, while only touching the ball from scrimmage five times, rushed for 133 yards to lead the squad offensively. Freshman signal caller Brady Green completed 2-of-3 passes.

“We got a lot of kids some touches and played everybody,” Price added. “It was good to spread it around, and it was a good game for us headed into next week.”

Van hits the road to Mount View next week.

Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at pperry@hdmediallc.com or 304-307-2401.