Just when it looked like the visiting Pheasants had taken momentum and were going to tie the game or take over the lead, Reese Cerney picked off a pass and raced 101 yards to the end zone, setting up the Tigers’ 20-6 win over Redfield/Doland at Tiger Stadium on Friday.
“That play was awesome,” said coach Paul Goehring. “I’m proud of the kids and the way they finished. It was a great win. We did miss a few opportunities.”
After a first half that saw the Tigers dominate on both sides of the ball, but hold just a 6-0 lead, the Pheasants seemed to have things figured out early in the third quarter. After holding the Tigers to a three-and-out and a short punt, the Pheasants started their first possession of the second half at the Tiger 45-yard-line. Four runs and a facemask penalty later, the Pheasants were first and 10 at the Tiger 11. Three more runs netted six yards, setting up fourth and four at the five. Forced to pass for the first time, Cerney snared the Leyton Rohlfs pass one yard deep in the end zone. He took off down the sideline, got key blocks right in front of the Tiger bench and raced untouched the length of the field to give the Tigers a 13-0 lead with 5:55 left in the third quarter.
Redfield/Doland kept the pressure on with the ensuing possession, going on an eight-play, 90-yard drive that Gannon Pudwill capped with a one-yard touchdown run with 2:44 left in the third quarter.
After that, the Tigers reassumed control of the game. They wore the Pheasants down with a 10-play drive that did not produce points, but ended with the Pheasants having to take possession at their own three-yard-line.
Three plays and a punt later, the Tigers had the ball at the Pheasant 37. They pounded the ball down to the four-yard-line, where Caden Halsey found Braxton Albers open in the end zone for the game-sealing touchdown with 4:30 left in the game. The drive included two fourth-down conversions. Olson gained a first down on fourth and two and Halsey and Albers combined for eight yards and a first down on fourth and seven. The touchdown also came on a fourth-down play.
“I’m happy for Braxton,” said Goehring. “That was his first career touchdown.”
The Tigers took a 6-0 lead on their first possession of the season. The first drive went 74 yards in 12 plays. Key plays were 11- and 19-yard runs by Tucson Freeman and a 15-yard run by Noah Feyereisen. The touchdown came on second and goal at the four. Isaac Olson went over the middle and got down to the goal line when the ball came out, but right tackle Kregen Norder pounced on the ball in the end zone and scored the first touchdown of his career.
The Tigers owned the first half, but that was the only touchdown they scored. A long drive in the second quarter made it down to the Redfield/Doland nine, but did not produce points. Meanwhile, the defense held the Pheasants without a first down over the first 24 minutes. The defense set up a last chance to score late in the first half when Albers intercepted a pass and took it to the 11, but the Tigers could not move into the end zone.
The Tigers ran for 202 yards in the game. Freeman ran for 102 yards on 16 carries. Olson was the workhorse, pounding the middle for 62 yards. Feyereisen added 50 yards rushing. Halsey was four of 12 passing for 39 yards. Albers caught three balls for 26 yards.
Trace Cerney led the defense with second tackles and a sack, and provided one of the key blocks on his big brother’s interception return. Olson had five tackles and Norder had four.
Goehring said that a few more players are joining the team now that school has started. But more important, “No one has quit. Everyone is sticking it out,” said Goehring.
The Tigers did suffer one injury. Feyereisen injured his ankle. He won’t play on Friday, but hopes to be back for Aberdeen Roncalli after the Tigers’ open week following Sioux Falls Christian.
The Tigers head to Sioux Falls on Friday to take on the defending Class 11B champion Sioux Falls Christian Chargers. The Chargers beat the Tigers 36-7 in Mobridge last season. They began their title defense with a 36-0 win over Winner on Friday.
“They beat Winners and Winner is a dyed-in-the-wool double wing team,” said Goehring. “That’s how we move the ball. We’re going to try it, but we have a plan B.”
Kickoff is set for one hour earlier than usual at 6 p.m.
MP- Kregen Norder fumble recovery in end zone (kick failed) 5:12
MP- Reese Cerney 99 interception return (Braden Goehring kick) 5:55
RD- Gannon Pudwill 1 run (conversion failed) 2:44
MP- Braxton Albers 4 pass from Caden Halsey (Goehring kick) 4:30
Redfield/Doland: Rushing 30-146 (Pudwill 12-58, Barrett Wren 5-47, Dylan Whitley 3-47, Dillon Fliehe 5-3, Carsten McNeil 2-3, Leyton Rohlfs 4-(1-12)); Passing (Rohlfs 2-10-2-16); Receiving: Gage Clausen 1-9, Whitley 1-7); 7 first downs; 2 turnovers; 3 penalties for 20 yards. Defense: McNeil 5 tackles, Pudwill 4.5 tackles, sack, Drew Masat 4.5 tackles, Max Baloun sack.
Mobridge-Pollock: Rushing 33-202 (Tucson Freeman 16-102, Isaac Olson 21-62, Noah Feyereisen 10-50, Jayce Chasing Hawk 1-4, Reese Cerney 1-0, Halsey 3-(-6)); Passing (Halsey 4-12-0-39; Receiving (Albers 3-26, Reese Cerney 1-13); 13 first downs; 0 turnovers; 2 penalties for 16 yards. Defense: Trace Cerney 7 tackles, sack, Olson 5 tackles, Norder 4 tackles, sack, Albers interception, Reese Cerney interception.