After a scoreless first half, Stanley County scored two straight touchdowns in the second half to defeat Mobridge-Pollock 14-8 in the annual homecoming game at Tiger Stadium on Friday.
Coach Paul Goehring said it was a tough, physical game that could have gone either way.
“You have to give Stanley County credit,” said Goehring. “They were physical up front and their two backs were shifty and could break tackles.”
It looked like the Tigers were going to be the first team to find the end zone. Midway through the third quarter, the Tigers were looking at third and short at the Stanley County 38-yard line, but two straight runs up the middle were stuffed and the Tigers were forced to give the ball up.
“That was a heartbreaker,” said Goehring. “We ran those two dives and didn’t get it.”
Two possessions later, the Buffaloes had their only long drive of the game. Starting at their own 17, the Buffaloes went 83 yards in six plays. A 14-yard pass play turned into a 29-yard gain on a roughing the passer call before JD Carter broke free for a 29-yard touchdown run, making the score 7-0 with five seconds left in the third quarter.
While Stanley County quarterback Riley Hannum did not hurt the Tigers on offense, throwing for just 34 yards and losing 17 yards rushing, he made what were probably the two biggest plays of the game with eight minutes left. With the Buffaloes facing fourth down at the Tiger 40, Hannum lofted a punt that forced the Tigers to take the ball on their own four-yard line. On the next play, he intercepted the Tigers, setting up the Buffaloes’ second touchdown.
Carter took care of the score on the second play of the drive, cutting outside and scoring on a 26-yard run to give the visitor’s a 14-0 lead.
Down but not out, the Tigers answered with a 91-yard drive on their next possession. Goehring decided the team needed to change things up so he sent Cayden Eisemann in to play quarterback. Eisemann led the Tigers on the long drive, passing for 59 yards and running for 19. His seven-yard run put the ball inside the 20 and on the next play, he dropped back and found Reese Cerney for a 19-yard touchdown pass that cut the lead to 14-8 with 1:30 left to play.
The Tigers tried an unsuccessful onside kick and then got Stanley County to third down, but a first down run by Brady Hoftiezer allowed the Buffaloes to keep the ball and hang on for the win.
“Hats off to the kids,” said Goehring. “We’re down 14 with six minutes left and then drive 90 yards. It would have been interesting if we could have gotten the ball back.”
The game was a defensive struggle for the most part. While the Tigers had just 187 yards of offense, the Buffaloes managed just a few more with 197 yards.
Penalties made things difficult for the Tigers. Aside from the roughing the passer call, the Tigers had four more penalties for 50 yards. That put the offense behind the yardstick too often.
“We had too many third and longs,” said Goehring, “but we did convert a couple.”
Cerney had a big offensive night for the Tigers with 109 total yards. He caught four passes for 69 yards, including a touchdown, and ran the ball five times for 40 yards.
“It was nice to see Reese making plays,” said Goehring. “We need to get him involved in the offense. He needs to see touches.”
Trace Cerney and Jayce Chasing Hawk led the defense with six tackles each. Cerney recovered a fumble for Stanley County’s only turnover.
Carter, Hofteizer and Dylan Gabriel led Stanley County, combining for 187 yards rushing. Lathan Prince recorded a game-high nine tackles.
Mobridge-Pollock will once again try and gain possession of the “Eye of the Tiger” trophy on Friday when 3-2 Groton Area comes to Tiger Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Goehring said the Tigers know what to expect of Groton Area.
“They like to overload the line and run their quarterback,” said Goehring, adding they have speed at running back on Lucas Hinman and Darien Shabazz. Jonathan Doeden is the quarterback who will likely lead the team in carries.
“They’re going to be good,” said Goehring. “We’re going to have to be heads up on defense. They could have and maybe should have beat Beresford. Defensively, they’re going to bring pressure. They are physical but not as big as the teams we’ve been seeing.”
Mobridge-Pollock and Groton Area are meeting on the gridiron for the 27th time. Groton Area holds a 15-11 edge in the series. Their 28-20 win in Groton last season gave them 13 straight wins in the series. The last time the Tigers beat Groton Area was a 13-12 contest in 2001.
Stanley County (3-2) 0 0 7 7- 14
Mobridge-Pollock (2-2) 0 0 0 8- 8
SC- JD Carter 29 run (Reid Wieczorek kick) :05
SC- Carter 26 run (Wieczorek kick) 6:57
MP- Reese Cerney 19 pass from Cayden Eisemann (Cerney pass from Eisemann) 1:30
Stanley County: Rushing 43-135 (Carter 6-67, Dylan Gabriel 9-62, Brady Hoftiezer 13-58, Wiescorek 6(-5), Riley Hannum 9-(-17)); Passing (Hannum 3-7-0-34); Receiving (Carter 2-20, Hoftiezer 1-14); 11 first downs; 1 turnover; 5-30 penalties. Defense: Lathan Prince 9 tackles, Tracey Nielsen 7 tackles, Hannum interception.
Mobridge-Pollock: Rushing 30-105 (Cerney 5-40, Isaac Olson 8-20, Eisemann 3-12, Tucson Freeman 8-12, Caden Halsey 5-9, Zane Reinert 1-7, Noah Feyereisen 1-4); Passing 9-18-1-82 (Eisemann 5-6-0-59, Halsey 4-12-1-43)); Receiving (Cerney 4-69, Freeman 1-13, Reinert 1-7, Braxton Albers 1-5, Bryston Goehring 1-5, Braden Goehring 1-3); 9 first downs; 1 turnover; 5-65 penalties. Defense: Trace Cerney 6 tackles, fumble recovery, Jayce Chasing Hawk 6 tackles.