After Timber Lake drove down the field and scored the game’s first touchdown, Canistota/Freeman scored 44 unanswered points and defeated the Panthers 44-20 in the Class 9A semifinals at Doug Kraft Field in Timber Lake on Friday.
Despite the Panthers falling one game short of their first trip to the DakotaDome since 1999, coach Jordan Weisbeck said this was a season to remember.
“This was an awesome year for our program,” said Weisbeck. “I was extremely proud of our boys for the work they put in this season. It was a season that many of us will not forget for a long time.”
Canistota/Freeman answered the Panthers’ drive with a touchdown drive of their own. It ended with Austin Thu scoring on a six-yard run. Thu’s ensuing conversion gave the Pride an 8-6 lead after one quarter. It was a lead they would not relinquish.
The Pride took control of the game with three second-quarter touchdowns. Bailey Sage scored on runs of four and two yards before Thu capped the first half with a seven-yard touchdown run.
Trey Ortman broke away from the pack for a 51-yard touchdown and Thu scored his third touchdown of the game as Canistota/Freeman pushed the lead to 44-6 after three quarters.
Timber Lake finally broke through in the fourth quarter with two touchdowns. Jackson Harrison scored the first one on a 15-yard pass from Ty Ducheneaux, followed by Tucker Kraft ripping off a 79-yard touchdown run.
Kraft finished the game with 188 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns, but as a team the Panthers had 172 yards on the ground. Ducheneaux threw for 149 yards but suffered three interceptions as Canistota/Freeman forced the Panthers into a lot of third-and-longs. Trey Bollinger hauled in two passes for 62 yards, while Isaac Kraft caught five balls for 58 yards.
Canistota/Freeman used a balanced attack to rush for 266 yards. Thu ran for 89 yards, Ortman 85 and Sage 62. Ortman threw for 93 yards. Tristan Pierce had two catches for 58 yards.
The Panthers end the season at 10-1 and as champions of the Little Moreau Conference.
“It was awesome to see the support of the community and the surrounding area as we went deeper into the playoffs,” said Weisbeck. “It was a humbling experience to be part of something like this.”
Canistota/Freeman (10-1) 8 22 14 0- 44
Timber Lake (10-1) 6 0 0 14- 20
TL- Tucker Kraft 10 run (conversion failed)
CF- Austin Thu 6 run (Thu run)
CF- Bailey Sage 4 run (conversion failed)
CF- Sage 2 run (Tristan Pierce pass from Trey Ortman)
CF- Thu 7 run (Thu run)
CF- Ortman 51 run (Thu run)
CF- Thu 4 run (conversion failed)
TL- Jackson Harrison 15 pass from Ty Ducheneaux (conversion failed)
TL- T. Kraft 79 run (Trey Bollinger pass from Ducheneaux)
Canistota/Freeman: Rushing 47-266 (Thu 15-89, Trey Ortman 6-85, Sage 13-62); Passing (Trey Ortman 5-8-0-93); Receiving (Pierce 2-58, Tyce Ortman 2-19, Thu 1-16); 26 first downs; 2 turnovers; 11-75 penalties. Defense: Tyce Ortman interception, Ty Balvin interception, Colin Helma interception, Cole Papendick fumble recovery.
Timber Lake: Rushing 24-172 (T. Kraft 19-188, Harrison 3-(-1); Isaac Kraft 2-(-15)); Passing (Ducheneaux 14-23-3-149); Receiving (Bollinger 2-62, I. Kraft 5-58, Harrison 3-18, T. Kraft 3-10, Hank Kraft 1-1); 16 first downs; 4 turnovers; 6-50 penalties. Defense: T. Kraft 7 tackles, Taylor Goldade 6 tackles, H. Kraft 6 tackles, Riley Lindskov 5 tackles, Jayce Lawrence 5 tackles.