The Killdeer Cowboys got off to a bad start against Park River-Fordville-Lankin.
By Jarann Johnson
For the DC Herald
Most 1A state football fans in the state had heard about the vaunted and dangerous Park River-Fordville- Lankin defense but seeing it in action was impressive and concerning.
After two consecutive runs to start the game Park River-Fordville- Lankin senior quarterback Levi Cudmore found Daman Flaten for a 52-yard gain, then Cudmore ran the ball in for a score on a 3-yard keeper.
Park River-Fordville- Lankin’s first drive of the game covered 80 yards in six plays. Park River- Fordville-Lankin added a two-point passing connection between Jackson Hankey and Cudmore for an early 8-0 lead.
The Killdeer offense didn’t start with the same kind of spark and punted after a three-and-out. The slow Killdeer start and fast Park River-Fordville-Lankin start turned into a two-possession game quickly.
Cudmore found some running space and ran the ball in 59 yards for a touchdown. On the point after attempt Cudmore found Hankey again for a two-point conversion.
Three minutes into the game Park River-Fordville-Lankin led 16-0 and held a big offensive yardage advantage. Park River-Fordville-Lankin produced 139 yards of total offense in the first three minutes of the game and Killdeer produced one yard.
Killdeer didn’t let their bad start turn into a no-show performance and toughened up. Killdeer moved the ball on offense a little before punting and came up with a third down stop on defense to get the ball back.
On Killdeer’s third offensive possession of the game they started to move the ball. Senior quarterback Hayes LeMieux found brother Garrett LeMieux on a third-and-10 for an 11- yard gain.
LeMieux kept his team moving on another third down near the red zone. Killdeer faced a third-and-9 at the 37-yard line and LeMieux got his team the first down with a run.
Once Killdeer got into the red zone they finished the drive off with a LeMieux 1-yard touchdown. After the score Killdeer went for two.
Killdeer Head Coach Lou Dobitz showed his appreciation for Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer by having running back Derek Tabor throw a jump pass to Dillan Jepson. Jepson’s catch cut Park River-Fordville- Lankin’s lead 16-8 early in the second quarter.
The Killdeer defense got another stop and Jepson continued to create problems for Park River- Fordville-Lankin. Jepson caught a screen pass for 12 yards then he added a run for 19 yards. Killdeer seemed close to tying the game with the ball in the red zone.
Killdeer couldn’t break Park River-Fordville-Lankin’s defense, though, and failed to convert a fourth-and-10 from the 20-yard line.
Park River-Fordville- Lankin responded from the red zone scare with their second 80-yard drive of the game. Park River-Fordville-Lankin ended the drive with a 2-yard Hankey run and again added a two-point conversion.
The score put Park River-Fordville-Lankin up 24-8 with 2:17 left in the half. Killdeer elected to go with an aggressive approach and try to score before the end of the half but Park River-Fordville- Lankin’s defense was ready and intercepted a LeMieux pass.
Hankey intercepted the pass and returned it to the 12-yard line, giving his team a chance to put Killdeer into the halftime break feeling hopeless. The Killdeer defense didn’t let that happen and prevented a score, leaving the halftime score at 24-8.
The hope the Killdeer defense held onto turned into fire early in the second half. Hoyt Zander intercepted a pass and returned the ball to the 20-yard line for Killdeer putting them in position to put pressure back on Park River-Fordville- Lankin.
Again, the Killdeer offense couldn’t figure out a way to move the ball and the drive stalled out without any points. Park River-Fordville-Lankin answered another red zone scare with a touchdown drive.
Cudmore found Flaten for a 75-yard touchdown pass on first-and-18 after an offensive penalty. The score put Park River-Fordville-Lankin up 30-8 with 5:43 left in the third.
Killdeer kept pushing but it was impossible to make up the big difference. Killdeer scored one more time before the game ended on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Tabor to Jepson. The final score of the game was 38-14.
After the game Coach Dobitz discussed how he and his coaching staff attacked overcoming the early 16-0 hole his team faced.
Right away that big pass play flipped field position right away, it gives them the momentum. We had to punt, then they scored on the long run. It was hard on our kids right away to where we went down a little bit, Dobitz said.
We responded a little bit that drive and scored, felt a little bit better. We were kind of climbing up hill the rest of the way. The kids really played hard all they way through the game and I’m really proud about how well they played against a very good team.
One of the hardest things for Killdeer during the game was scoring in the red zone. Killdeer moved the ball inside the 20-yard line twice but failed to score. Coach Dobitz felt like Park River-Fordville-Lankin’s linemen were very good and forced Killdeer into secondary offensive plans.
They are a really good football team. What was probably a really big deciding factor is up front they kind of controlled the line of scrimmage against us. For the most part through out the course of the year we did most of that every game, Dobitz said.
After the game Dobitz acknowledged his team was a little bit upset about the results of the game. But he said the coaching staff was proud of the team’s effort throughout the season and getting prepared for the season.
We are really happy, just to get back to that championship game our kids worked really hard to get there. Throughout the course of the summer and the spring and all those kind of things to get ready for the season. Then through the course of the season the kids played well, they tried their best. They worked hard in practice and made it work for us. Getting into the playoffs they prepared really well. I’m really happy with that senior class and the leadership they displayed with how well they played, Dobitz said.
Killdeer 14 vs Park River-Fordville-Lankin 38
Kil. 0 8 0 6 14
Par. 16 8 6 8 38
Par. Levi Cudmore 3 run (Jackson Hankey pass from Cudmore)
Par. Cudmore 59 run (Hankey pass from Cudmore)
Kil. Hayes LeMieux 1 run (Dillan Jepson pass from Derek Tabor)
Par. Hankey 2 run (Hankey run)
Par. Daman Flaten 75 pass from Cudmore (pass failed)
Par. Hankey 8 run (Andy Moe pass from Cudmore)
Kil. Jepson 7 pass from Tabor (kick failed)
Rushing: Zeb Doe 83 yards, Dillan Jepson 30 yards, Derek Tabor 21 yards, Hayes LeMieux 20 yards.
Passing: LeMieux 9-for-21, 103 yards. Tabor 4-for-5, 33 yards.
Receiving: Jepson 62 yards, Alex Sadowsky 49 yards, Garrett LeMieux 11 yards, Doe 10 yards, Tabor 4 yards.