Kidder County holds off Dakota Prairie
McVILLE, N.D. -- Fifty-nine seconds and 66 yards to go -- Tyler Luehring knew it was attainable. "I thought we'd go down and score," the Dakota Prairie quarterback said. "We did it last week. We've been doing it all this game. "This is a huge dis...
McVILLE, N.D. -- Fifty-nine seconds and 66 yards to go -- Tyler Luehring knew it was attainable.
"I thought we'd go down and score," the Dakota Prairie quarterback said. "We did it last week. We've been doing it all this game.
"This is a huge disappointment."
That's because the Knights' final drive came up just short. Dakota Prairie turned the ball over on downs, inches short of the 10-yard line and a first down, with 11 seconds left. And that sealed a 44-42 win by Kidder County here Tuesday in a wild first-round game in the North Dakota 9-man high school football playoffs.
Dakota Prairie had reason for confidence -- the Knights closed the regular season by beating New Rockford-Sheyenne 54-52 last week with a touchdown as time expired.
Steve Rohrich's 13-yard touchdown run and his two-point conversion run gave the Pirates a 44-42 lead with 1:05 remaining.
After the ensuing kickoff, Dakota Prairie started its final drive on its own 34. It took only three plays for the Knights to move to the KC 20-yard line. But a run lost a yard, Luehring was sacked, then threw incomplete. On fourth down, Braydon Gourneau caught a 16-yard pass that was just shy of first down.
"I thought we'd score," DP coach Garret Magner said. "We'd have had 11 seconds. That was good for two plays. With Tyler's ability to run and pass, I'd have liked our chances."
Both quarterbacks had huge games.
Luehring finished 10-of-14 passing for 159 yards and rushed for 122 yards. He rushed for four touchdowns -- one a spectacular 30-yarder in which he rolled left to pass, reversed directions to the right, scrambled back to his left and dove into the end zone on the left sideline. He also threw for two TDs.
Wes Nicholson was just as effective, but in a different manner. The Pirates quarterback rushed for 199 yards, scoring two touchdowns. He attempted only one pass, but it was a crucial completion. He threw 35 yards to brother Norman Nicholson on the game-winning drive, giving the Pirates first down on DP's 25. Three plays later, Rohrich went in for the score.
"We usually throw 8-10 times a game," Kidder County coach Jack Biesterfeld said. "We felt we could run more. We have a good group of linemen and Wes did a good job of reading things. That (completion) was a big one. It got us downfield and got us momentum.
"We watched (Dakota Prairie) last week. That quarterback is something special. I was thinking we'd scored too quickly at the end."
Instead, the combination of Wes Nicholson and Rohrich (136 rushing yards) was too much. Kidder County had nine possessions -- the Pirates scored on six, stopped themselves with lost fumbles on two and were stopped on the Knights' 1-yard line on one.
"Stopping a running game has been a problem for us all year,'' Magner said. "We aren't physical enough."
Dakota Prairie closed the season with a 6-4 record. Kidder County advances with a 7-2 mark.