Courtesy Photo

Kadoka Area Football hosts their first ever semi-final playoff game

The Kadoka Area Kougars hosted their first ever semi-final playoff football game last Friday night against the Dell Rapids St. Mary Cardinals.  In a hard-fought game on both sides unfortunately the Kougars came up just a little short 30-28.
Championship football was played on the field in Kadoka by both teams.  We were able to control much of the first half, and the second half the Cardinals gained more control as the game went on.  It was a fantastic football game with both teams leaving everything they had on the field.  It’s a very tough loss to accept, but boy, did our kids make us all proud as they once again raised their level of play and fought to the bitter end with all of their heart.
The Kougars opened the scoring in the first quarter as Gaven Sudbeck was able to bounce a run to the outside behind some excellent blocking to run in for a 35-yard touchdown, putting the Kougars up 6-0 in the first quarter.
Our defense made some good stops in the second quarter and offensively we were able to put together two more scoring drives.  With 9:23 left in the second quarter TJ Hamar hooked up on a short screen pass with Gaven Sudbeck, then behind a couple of key blocks by Jackson Grimes and Ian VanderMay, Sudbeck was able to sprint down the sidelines and score on a 43-yard touchdown catch.  Sudbeck was able to convert on the 2-point play as well and the Kougars now took a 14-0 lead.  
Later with just under four minutes to play before halftime, the Kougars were able to get into the endzone one more time as TJ Hamar hooked up with Dawson Reckling on a beautiful 26-yard touchdown pass.  The Kougars now led 20-0.
The half wasn’t over as the Cardinals took over and began a drive of their own.  Their running back finally broke through on a long run, but Gaven Sudbeck never gave up on the play as he was able to chase him down and actually cause a fumble that we were able to recover in the endzone for a touchback, stopping the Cardinals best chance for a score in the first half.  The Kougars held on to the 20-0 halftime advantage.
We knew it wasn’t over.  The Cardinals had a lot of seniors and they were a big, physical football team.  We opened the third quarter with the football, but we were pinned deep in our own end and were forced to punt for the first time in the game.  After a short punt the Cardinals were able to capitalize early in the third quarter to make the score 20-6 with 8:09 remaining.
Once again after some tough field position and being stopped by the tough Cardinal defense we were forced to punt from deep in our own territory.  The Cardinals were threatening to score, but the third quarter ended with Kougars up 20-6.  Just nine seconds into the fourth quarter the Cardinals scored their second touchdown and converted the extra-points closing the gap to 20-14.
After another defensive stop the Cardinals took the ball again and found success as they pushed hard against our defense and the Cardinals took their first lead of the game with 8:54 to go in the fourth quarter 22-20.
Not to be outdone, with their never give up attitude, the Kougars put together a great drive which took about four minutes off the clock that ended in a Gaven Sudbeck 5-yard touchdown run and a Tyus Williams 2-point conversion run to put the Kougars back out front 28-22 with 4:43 seconds left in the game.
The final four minutes would be a battle.  Our defense stiffened and was able to force a couple of fourth downs for the Cardinals.  One of the fourth down plays the Cardinals completed a little dump pass to their big TE that could have gone either way, but unfortunately for us, the kid made a great grab to continue their offensive drive, that ultimately ended in a touchdown to tie the score 28-28 with 1:15 to go.  The 2-point conversion was to come.  We felt they would go back to their big TE on another dump pass and sure enough that was the play.  We had it covered, but the Cardinals QB made a quick decision and was able to scramble in quickly and the Cardinals took the lead 30-28.
We had 1:15 to go.  The team still believed.  We knew it would be tough, but we weren’t done.  After a strange play on the ensuing kickoff, Layne Palmer set us up in pretty decent field position around mid-field.  We ran a few plays, had some things go for us and against us, but ultimately our last ditch effort fell short and the Cardinals were able to run out the last few seconds of the game and we ran out of time.
To say we are proud of the efforts and heart that our kids played with in this game and this season really is an understatement.  It was amazing to watch and be a part of what they did in this game and this season and we couldn’t be more proud!  Sometimes you can do everything you can and you still come up short, but to be in the battle and give everything you have, says a lot about you, and these young men sure epitomize what it means to play and be ALL IN!
Offensive stats:
o Gaven Sudbeck: 16 carries for 62 yards and 2 touchdowns and one 2-point conversion.
o Reece Ohrtman: 9 carries for 29 yards.
o Tyus Williams: 9 carries for 28 yards and one 2-point conversion.
o Gabriel Fauske: 1 carry for 23 yards.
o TJ Hamar:  9 carries for -4 yards.
➢ Passing:
o TJ Hamar: 5-10 for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns and 1 INT.
➢ Receiving
o Gaven Sudbeck: 2 catches for 54 yards and 1 touchdown.
o Dawson Reckling: 2 catches for 51 yards and 1 touchdown.
o Tyus Williams: 1 catch for 0 yards.
Defensive stats:
➢ TJ Hamar had 15 tackles one for loss.  Jackson Grimes had 15 tackles one for loss and one sack.
➢ Gaven Sudbeck 12 tackles, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery.  Layne Palmer 12 tackles one for loss.
➢ Tyus Williams 10 tackles and 1 INT.
➢ Reece Ohrtman 7 tackles two for loss.  Ian VanderMay 7 tackles two for loss and 1 sack.
➢ Reed Ohrtman 3 tackles one for loss.  Gabriel Fauske 3 tackles.  Tyrel Mansfield 2 tackles and Dawson Reckling 1 tackle.
The Kougars finished their history making season with a 9-2 overall record.  We hosted three playoff games and made the semi-final round, both a first for Kadoka Area, and I believe the nine wins is the most in a single season as well.  The seniors were a part of four straight seasons of playoff football.  We fell just a little short of a big goal and dream making it to the championship game, but these young men really did WIN THE SEASON.  They played amazing football, and they did things the right way on and off the field.  They really did things ALL IN all season long!  We want to thank the school and community for all of the support this season, and I personally want to thank each and every one of the players and assistant coaches for such an awesome year!  What a team!  What a season!  Thank you all!
Kougar Proud!!!

The Pioneer Review

221 E. Oak Street
Philip, SD 57567
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