The Killdeer Cowboys had Hazen right where they wanted them. They were up by two scores with less than two minutes remaining in the first half.
Wyatt Carr, Hazen’s starting quarterback, took over and the Cowboys couldn’t respond, falling 33-25. The loss hurts Killdeer’s odds of getting back to the state title game for a third straight year because Killdeer will have to go on the road in the state semifinals instead of being at home.
Killdeer played strongly at the start of the game, stopping Hazen in the red zone and keeping Carr under wraps for most of the first period. The Hazen offense didn’t score any points but neither did Killdeer.
Headed into the second quarter it was 0-0 and both teams were trying to get a score. Killdeer got the first score, polishing off an 89-yard drive with a 1-yard run by quarterback Alex Sadowsky.
Killdeer was in the lead with 8 minutes and 28 seconds left in the first half. Killdeer head coach Lou Dobitz and his coaching staff went for a momentum turning blitz.
The only problem was that Hayes LeMieux missed the tackle and Carr escaped the pocket for a 77-yard touchdown run. The game was tied and both teams were still wrestling for the Region 4 regular season championship.
Killdeer didn’t falter and put together another touchdown drive. Dillan Jepson rammed the ball in for a touchdown to end the drive but missed the extra-point.
The missed extra-point was all Hazen needed to take the lead. Carr went on another monster run, this time covering 68 yards and its kicker, Peyton Leintz, made the extra-point.
Hazen was in control of the game with five minutes left in the first half but Killdeer kept fighting and appeared to have the upper hand.
Sean Tuhy returned the Hazen kick to the 1-yard line and Jepson rammed the ball in. Then moments later LeMieux made up for his missed tackle by returning a fumble 36 yards for a touchdown.
Killdeer had a 25-14 lead but after both scores Killdeer failed to make an extra-point.
Hazen looked gassed and distraught. They were on the road and down two scores with 1:32 left in the half.
Carr did what he does and took over the game – leading Hazen on scoring drive capped by a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Leintz. Hazen’s score made it 25-20, which seemed to be salvageable in the second half.
There were 44 seconds left in the half and Hazen successfully completed an on-side kick.
Carr made sure to capitalize and threw his second touchdown pass of the game. He found Quentin Corcoran in the end zone for a 12-yard pass as time expired.
Killdeer entered the half trailing 27-25. Killdeer never recovered from that stanza and went scoreless the rest of the game.
Killdeer had one chance late to force overtime. The Cowboys were trailing 33-25 at the 13-yard line with 36 seconds left. They needed a touchdown and two-point conversion to force overtime.
Dobitz and his staff called for a pass play to LeMieux on the outside. LeMieux, a 6-foot-5 wideout, was matched up with a 5-10 cornerback. Sadowsky floated the ball but it wasn’t in the position LeMieux expected, so it didn’t turn into a jump ball matchup.
Incomplete pass, Hazen wins.
After the game Dobitz said Carr made too many big plays and his team didn’t recover from the onside kick.
“We won the first half. We just let Wyatt Carr get too many big plays and that helped swing momentum. That onside kick we didn’t recover and we didn’t regroup fast enough to stop them,” Dobitz said.
Killdeer is still in the playoffs and will host a first round game. Dobtiz talked about his team’s focus going forward.
“We have a game to play and we have to come to play a good game. Basically we are not done. We might get an opportunity to play Hazen again. We have to earn that right,” Dobitz said.