The DeSmet Bulldogs came out with a 42-38 victory against the Dell Rapids St. Mary Cardinals at Cardinal Field in Dell Rapids on Wednesday night in the first round of Class 9B Region 2 football.
The victory gives DeSmet a season that the team hasn’t seen in years.
“We haven’t played in November for eight years,” said DeSmet Coach Mike Warne.
As for the win, the Bulldogs were down by two points when the team overcame a tough St. Mary defense who fought over the final yard for a fourth down touchdown and the win.
“Our kids gutted it out and came away with the win,” Warne said.
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But it was St. Mary who was first to the scoreboard when Christian Schnieders scored a touchdown early in the first quarter. The team failed to complete a two-point conversion for a 6-0 lead.
DeSmet’s Matt Larson scored the Bulldogs’ first touchdown with 5:08 left in the first quarter. The team added two more points to the board for to take an 8-6 lead.
St. Mary’s Josh Brown turned out to a valuable player for the night with several impressive double-digit runs. Brown scored the Cardinals second touchdown with 2:16 left in the first quarter to take a 14-8 lead.
With less than thirty seconds into the second quarter, the Bulldogs’ Tate Munger scored to give DeSmet a 16-14 lead.
Bad luck visited the St. Mary team when Brown fumbled on an impressive punt return giving DeSmet control of the ball. The unlucky streak continued when a St. Mary had a defensive holding penalty called after stopping a fourth down play.
DeSmet was able to take advantage of the St. Marys’ misfortune and scored a touchdown after a pass to Monger. DeSmet’s Zach Wolkow had an interception against the Cardinals. Then Larson was able to score off the two yard line.
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But St. Mary started an offensive rally that would continue after halftime when Brown scored a touchdown and Schnieders added two-points for St. Mary.
The score was 30-22 in favor DeSmet going into halftime.
After halftime the Cardinals came back and tied the game with another Brown touchdown and two-point conversion from Schnieders, bringing the scoreboard to 30-30 in the third quarter. The pair added the same scoring combination early in the fourth quarter for a 38-30 lead.
DeSmet answered with a touchdown from Larson but failed on a two-point conversion attempt. The score remained 38-36 until near the end of the fourth quarter when DeSmet scored a hard fought one-yard, fourth down touchdown against the St. Mary defense with 27 seconds left on the clock for the 42-38 final.
“It was good game, we just came out on the wrong end,” said St. Mary Coach Ross Flemmer. “Our kids battled hard and had the lead until the last 27 seconds.”
Leading for DeSmet was Larson with 112 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Max Poppinga had two touchdown passes and ran for one touchdown.
For Dell Rapids, Brown ran the ball for 295 yards and had three touchdowns. Schnieders had one touchdown and 99 rushing yards.
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On defense, DeSmet’s Larson had 12 tackles and Balke Horning had 11.5 tackles.
St. Mary’s Schnieders had 10 tackles and two interceptions. Dalton Schnieders had 10 tackles.