They say the biggest game is the one after the big game. The Killdeer Cowboys took that to heart in their homecoming game and whipped the Garrison-Max Troopers 54-12 at the Cowboy Sports Complex on Friday.
That can’t be said for the Hazen Bison, who defeated Killdeer on Oct. 7 in the big game that secured the top seed from Region 4. Southern McLean shocked the Bison in the regular-season finale 20-18, which allowed the Cowboys to grab a share of the regular season title.
Although the loss to Hazen was disappointing, the Cowboys refused the let that game define them.
“We put it behind us. We know what we had to do, fix some mistakes and we had to move on,” said Killdeer lineman Rope Smith. “We take one game at a time and move on to the next one.”
The next one will be Saturday when the Cowboys host the Velva-Sawyer Aggies at 1 p.m.
Velva-Sawyer, 6-2, powered its way into the playoffs after upsetting Region 3 top seed Des-Lacs Burlington 16-8 last week.
On Friday, the Cowboys’ focus in front of a large and loud homecoming crowd was on the Troopers, a potentially dangerous game against a team that entered the game with a 1-6 record. It was potentially dangerous because it would’ve been easy for the Cowboys to look past the Troopers to the playoffs.
“We just wanted to make sure we played a good game,” said Killdeer head coach Lou Dobitz.
And they did.
The Cowboys generated 429 yards in total offense, including 297 yards on the ground. The running game featured five different players average more than 10 yards per carry. As a team, Killdeer averaged about seven yards per carry.
And the passing game was pretty lethal, as well. Quarterback Alex Sadowsky completed 8 of 11 passes for 128 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensively, Killdeer held the Troopers to 162 yards in total offense, most coming against second-stringers in the second half.
Sadowsky had a hand in five touchdowns, running for two and passing for three – two to Hoyt Zander and the other to Riley Reiss.
In limited action, Dillan Jepson led the Cowboys with 80 yards and two touchdowns. This was the first time all season that Jepson failed to rush for 100 yards in the game. But he didn’t get many touches in the second half.
Killdeer blew the game open with 27-point second quarter that led to a 41-6 lead at halftime. After Jepson and Cole Dukart scored on runs in the first quarter, Zander’s 18-yard scoring reception and a one-yard scoring play by Sadowsky had the Cowboys’ second-stringers itching to get in.
After Garrison-Max took the goose egg off the scoreboard midway through the second quarter when Trevor Schmidt caught a two-yard pass from Noah Sloka.
After the Cowboys recovered an onside kick, they scored six plays later on Jepson’s 16 yard run.
And they scored about a minute later after Reiss caught a pass from team’s quarterback. First he intercepted a pass from Sloka and returned it to the Troopers’ 14 yard line. One play later, with just 11 ticks on the board, he caught a pass from Sadowsky for a score.
Sadowsky closed out Killdeer’s scoring in the third quarter, first the quarterback rambled 12 yards for a score and then he hooked up with Zander on an 18-yard touchdown pass before the Troopers got a late touchdown in the fourth quarter against the reserves.
“We played well. It’s a lot of fun when you get to come out and play at your best on homecoming night,” Smith said.