Holding a 21-6 lead midway through the third quarter, the Tigers staged a 91-yard, 16-play drive for their fourth touchdown, putting the finishing touch on a 28-12 win over Sisseton in Sisseton on Friday.
Facing a win-or-stay-home game, the Tigers took down a Sisseton team that won the last eight times the two teams played and was 15-3 all-time in the series. The last time the Tigers beat the Redman was in 1995.
“That was the best football we’ve played since I’ve been coach,” said coach Dan Merkel. “For the most part, we were pretty good.”
The long drive came after the Tigers snuffed a Sisseton drive. The Redmen had first and 10 at the Mobridge-Pollock 11 before the Tigers stuffed the line of scrimmage, giving up two yards in four plays.
Taking over at the nine, the Tigers used a 17-yard Dylan Cerney run to get things started. Facing third and four at the 25, Caden Halsey hit Parker Blom for a first down. Four plays later, Blom took the ball on fourth and one at the Sisseton 47 and went 12 yards. Blom then went for eight yards on third and one the at 18, setting up Dylan Cerney for a 10-yard touchdown run on the next play. With Tom Zott’s fourth extra point kick of the game, the Tigers had a 28-6 lead with 1:01 left in the third quarter.
The Tigers quick-strike offense produced the first three touchdowns.
Sisseton had success moving the ball in the early going, but the Tiger defense stiffened on each of the first two Redmen drive. Stone Jensen picked off a Sisseton pass after the Redmen had driven 45 yards on their first possession. Taking the ball at the 27, the Tigers went 73 yards in six plays with Dylan Cerney ripping off a 51-yard touchdown run to open the scoring.
The Redmen picked up three first downs on their second drive before Michael Davis intercepted a pass at the 47. The Tigers took advantage in a hurry when Halsey threw long to Reese Cerney for a 47-yard touchdown pass on the very next play, giving the Tigers a 14-0 lead.
Sisseton answered with a 59-yard scoring drive on their next possession. Redmen quarterback Colbey Lehrke put his team on the board with a 14-yard touchdown run with 10:21 left in the first half.
Both teams had clock-eating drives, but neither could score the rest of the half.
Blom gave the Tigers good field possession to start the second half with a 36-yard kickoff return. That set the stage for a long bomb. Facing third and 10 at the 42, Halsey stepped back to pass, avoided the Sisseton rush and launched a long bomb that traveled 60 yards in the air and settled into the hands of Reese Cerney at the three. Two steps later, Cerney had a 58-yard touchdown and the Tigers led 21-6.
“That was a bomb,” said Merkel.
The defenses dominated play until late when Sisseton scored a touchdown with 38 seconds left in the game to make the final 28-12.
Merkel said that the Tiger defense played as big a role in the win as the offense. The Redmen ran 66 plays in the game to 48 for the Tigers, but the Tigers gained 327 yards to 244 for Sisseton. Ninety-seven of Sisseton’s yards came late when the Tigers were playing a lot of second-team players.
“That’s the first game all year where we didn’t give up any big plays,” said Merkel.
Halsey finished the game eight of 14 passing for 172 yards. Reese Cerney had three catches for 116 yards. Noah Feyereisen caught three balls for 33 yards. Dylan Cerney led the ground game with 93 yards. Blom added 53.
“Dylan has that second gear again,” said Merkel. “After his injury, he wasn’t able to beat people and get to the end zone. He is now.”
Isaac Olson led the defense with 14 tackles. Dylan Cerney was right behind with 13. Carson Keller added nine tackles and a sack. Davis had seven tackles to go with his interception.
“Carson is playing as good of football as anyone I’ve ever coached,” said Merkel.
The Tigers host the 3-4 McLaughlin Mustangs for senior night on Friday at Tiger Stadium.
Merkel said the Tigers must stay focused this week and be a better team than they were on Friday with the playoffs coming next week.
“It’s our last home game and parents’ night,” said Merkel. “These kids deserve to have everyone come out and see them play.”
Mobridge and McLaughlin are meeting on the gridiron for the first time in 72 years. The teams played four times in the 1920s and twice in 1945. The Tigers won all six games, including 26-6 and 28-0 wins in ’45.
Mobridge-Pollock (3-4) 14 0 14 0- 28
Sisseton (2-5) 0 6 0 6- 12
MP- Dylan Cerney 51 run (Tom Zott kick) 5:47
MP- Reese Cerney 47 pass from Caden Halsey (Zott kick) 1:02
S –Colbey Lehrke 14 run (kick failed) 10:21
MP- R. Cerney 58 pass from Halsey (Zott kick) 10:38
MP- D. Cerney 10 run (Zott kick) 1:01
S- Benji Thompson 12 pass from Lehrke (conversion failed) :34
Mobridge-Pollock: Rushing 32-155 (D. Cerney 8-93, Parker Blom 13-53, Nathan Bauer 9-19, Halsey 2-(-10)); Passing (Halsey 8-14-0-172); Receiving (R. Cerney 3-116, Noah Feyereisen 3-33, D. Cerney 1-16, Blom 1-7); 10 first downs; 0 turnovers; penalties 7-46. Defense: Isaac Olson 14 tackles, D. Cerney 13 tackles, Carson Keller 9 tackles, sack, Michael Davis 7 tackles, interception, Jason Gerry 6 tackles, Stone Jensen 5 tackles, interception, Bauer sack, Feyereisen sack, Kregen Norder sack.
Sisseton: Rushing 50-139 (Colbey Lehrke 19-44, Anthony Tchida 14-37, Koben Huber 7-32, Keanan Pikarski 10-24); Passing (Lehrke 10-16-2-105); Receiving (Hunter Ryan 2-40, Pikarski 3-28, Thompson 3-24, Ty Peterson 1-13, Tchida 1-0); 15 first downs; 2 turnovers; penalties 4-40.