The size of the visitors proved to be too much for the Tigers to overcome as they were defeated 37-8 by McCook Central/Montrose in the Class 11B quarterfinals at Tiger Stadium on Thursday.
“I said before the game that they (McCook Central/Montrose) were big and physical, but they were even bigger and more physical than we thought,” said coach Paul Goehring.
The Fighting Cougars showed what their game plan was from the opening kickoff when running back Jacobi Krouse carried the ball 11 consecutive times for 51 yards, but when MCM got to the Tiger 24, they tried their first pass of the game and Bryston Goehring made an interception.
The Tigers made their way across midfield before losing the ball on a fumble.
On the ensuing drive, MCM went 58 yards and took the lead on a five-yard touchdown run by Krouse.
The Tigers responded with a 78-yard drive of their own. Caden Halsey got them in scoring position with a 22-yard run before dropping back and hitting Reese Cerney on an out pattern. Cerney turned the ball upfield, raced down the sideline and crossed the end zone for a 40-yard touchdown. A Halsey to Bryston Goehring pass tied the game at 8-8.
The two teams battled back and fourth until MCM capped a long drive with a one-yard Krouse touchdown to take a 16-8 lead.
After MCM continually pounded the ball at the Tigers the entire first half, the constant beating started showing after the intermission. The Fighting Cougars had three scoring drives in the second half. They scored on Krouse’s third touchdown in the third quarter before putting two more touchdowns on the board in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
The Tiger offense, meanwhile, could find no answers for the MCM blitz. Halsey was sacked six times in the second half, thwarting every Tiger drive.
“They killed us with their blitz,” said Goehring. “Our short passing game was okay, but they wouldn’t let us get the ball deep.”
MCM ran the ball 79 times for 421 yards. Krouse had 55 carries (nine more carries than the Tigers had offensive plays) for 299 yards and four touchdowns.
Part of the success was an offensive line than outweighed the Tigers by an average of 35 pounds. Part of the Tigers’ difficulty in stopping MCM was losing leading tackler Trace Cerny to an ankle injury on the second snap of the game and then losing offensive/defensive lineman Jon Keller to a separated shoulder early in the second quarter.
“Those early injuries were unfortunate,” said Goehring. “But our kids played their hearts out. I’m very proud of all the kids who stepped up.”
Cayden Eisemann led the Tiger defense with 14 tackles. Tucker Holzer had 13 and Gavin Zimmer had 12.
“Eisemann stepped up,” said Goehring. “He played his heart out.”
Halsey still managed to throw for 154 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions, but after getting sacked seven times for 57 yards in losses, managed just 40 yards rushing. Reese Cerney finished his career with a four-catch, 69-yard game.
McCook Central/Montrose (9-1) 8 8 6 15- 37
Mobridge-Pollock (8-2) 8 0 0 0- 8
MCM- Jacobi Krouse 5 run (Blake Gessner pass from Raygen Randall)
MP- Reese Cerney 40 pass from Caden Halsey (Bryston Goehring pass from Halsey)
MCM- Krouse 1 run (Gessner run)
MCM- Krouse 9 run (conversion failed)
MCM- Koltan Lindstrom 21 pass from Randall (Gessner run)
MCM- Krouse 21 run (Blake Cheeseman kick)
McCook Central/Montrose: Rushing 79-421 (Krouse 55-299, Gessner 8-48, Trevor Hansen 6-31, Randall 7-24, Gavin Gordon 3-19); Passing 7-11-1-120 (Randall 7-10-1-120, 5 0-1); Receiving (Lindstrom 6-103, Cheeseman 1-17); 20 first downs; 2 turnovers; 6-45 penalties. Defense: Parker Schreier 8 tackles, Gessner 3.5 tackles.
Mobridge-Pollock: Rushing 23-56 (Halsey 19-40, Cerney 2-17, Gavin Reinert 1-0, Cayden Eisemann 1-(-1); Passing (Halsey 16-23-0-154); Receiving (Cerney 4-69, Braden Goehring 6-44, Reinert 4-31, Brayden Goehring 2-10); 8 first downs; 2 turnovers; 8-70 penalties. Defense: Eisemann 14 tackles, Tucker Holzer 13 tackles, Gavin Zimmer 12 tackles, Keene Schlomer 8 tackles, Kregen Norder 4 tackles, sack, Bryston Goehring interception.