By Brad Mosher
One team was undefeated Friday.
But it was the other team which claimed a lopsided 46-20 victory.
It didn’t start well for the Cowboys, losing the ball on a fumble at their own 16-yard line on their first offensive play.
But that seemed to be the only break in the first quarter for the visiting Roughriders.
Two straight penalties pushed the ball back to the 27-yard line.
A quick pass moved the Roughriders only three yards closer to the end zone.
Then, the Roughrider quarterback had a third-down pass deflected and almost intercepted.
Southern McLean went for it on a fourth-and-18 gamble which fell incomplete and gave the ball back to Killdeer at its own 24 yard line.
Their first drive seemed to come up short by inches, but on a fourth-down keeper by Killdeer quarterback Zack Andersen, the Cowboy signal caller burst through the defense for more than 20 yards and a first down in Roughrider territory.
It was Andersen again two plays later breaking the Roughriders for another 13 yards.
Andersen went to the air, hitting Hunter Keller for a first down at the Roughriders’ 18-yard line.
After moving the ball forward to the 15 on the next play, Andersen went back to the air, hitting Schneider in the end zone for a 15-yard TD pass with 3:18 left in the first quarter. The extra point was good, giving the Cowboys a 7-0 lead.
Early in the second quarter, the Cowboys struck again.
After moving his team to near midfield, the Roughrider quarterback tried to grab big yardage on a third-and-seven pass which was picked off by Schneider and returned more than 50 yards to the eight yard line.
After the Cowboys moved back on a holding penalty and Andersen ran it back to the 13-yard line, Andersen ran it in for his first rushing score of the night.
A missed PAT left the Cowboys with a 13-0 advantage and 7:21 left in the first half.
The Cowboys stopped the Roughriders again, and started another drive from the Killdeer 24.
On a third and five pass play from the Killdeer 45 yard line, Andersen hit Schneider on a 55-yard score with 1:44 left in the half. The extra point was good, giving Killdeer a 20-0.
The shutout disappeared a minute later when the Roughriders connected on a 44-yard pass play with 36 seconds left. The conversion failed and the Cowboys took a 20-6 lead into halftime.
In the second half, the Cowboys started off with a drive, getting a big chuck of yardage on a 15-yard reception by Gabe Magee.
A nine-yard run by Andersen, a pass to Keller and another run by Andersen moved the ball down to the 15 yard line.
Magee pulled down a 15 yard pass, but was out of bounds in the end zone.
Two plays later, Andersen scored on a 10-yard run with 4:44 left in the third quarter. The extra point gave the Cowboys a 27-6 lead.
The Cowboys took over on downs again when #74 sacked the Roughrider quarterback on a fourth-and three play at midfield.
But the drive ended several plays later when a fumble gave the visitors the ball at their own 42-yard line.
The Roughriders started a drive which ended the third quarter on the Killdeer six yard line.
The visitors scored on the first play of the fourth quarter from six yards out, but the conversion failed, cutting the lead to 27-12.
The Cowboys started a drive of their own, finishing with a 10-yard scoring run by Andersen.
With the extra point, the Cowboys’ lead increased to 34-12 with 7:27 left in the game.
The visitors responded with a quick drive of their own.
On the first play, a pass moved the ball from Southern McLean’s 36-yard line to the Killdeer 18. Two plays later, the Roughriders scored again on a 16-yard pass with 6:21 on the clock. A conversion made the score 34-20.
After a holding penalty set up a second-and-20 at the Killdeer 46, two straight runs by Anderson had Killdeer facing a fourth-and-two at 35 yard line.
On his third straight run, Andersen blew past the defenders for a 35-yard touchdown with 3:35 left. The extra point failed, giving Killdeer a 40-20 lead.
The visitors couldn’t move the ball with a fourth down passing attempt falling incomplete with 2:13 left in the game and the hosts standing on Southern McLean’s 18 yard line.
Keith Dukart ran in from seven yards out for the final Killdeer score with 42 seconds left, making it 46-20.
According to coach Andrew Cook, it was a total team effort.
“We had big games from Zach Andersen and Dawson Schneider. They (Southern McLean) thought it would a good idea to pick on Dawson in the first half and he had the pick he took back to the four-yard line.
“Then, in the second half, we were kind of stalling a little bit so we started riding Zach,” the coach said.
“We have a lot of stuff to clean up, but it was a great team effort. I couldn’t be prouder of these kids.”
Late in the game, the Roughriders were forced to throw the ball as they were trying to catch up, Cook said.
“Our defense and DBs responded. They were able to protect our lead for us.
“The game was much closer than the final score,” he added
Andersen finished the game with 271 yards on 30 carries and four touchdowns. He also threw for 118 yards and two scores while connecting on eight of his 17 passes.
John Tomjack got 36 yards on 13 carries, while Keith Dukart carried the ball six times for 13 yards and one score.
Schneider led the receivers with three catches for 77 yards and two scores, while Jamie Keller had four catches for 22 yards and Gabe Magee was one catch for 19 yards.
On defense, Dale Chinn had four solo tackles and one assisted tackle. Collyn Baxter finished with two solo tackles and Alex Moreno had two assited tackles.
Schneider had two assisted tackles and a 54-yard interception return.
Andersen had one solo tackle and one sack while Tyler Hansen finished with one solo, three assisted and 1.5 sacks.