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Bulldogs break through: Bowman County comes back from 16-0 hole to beat Velva, earn trip to Class A Semifinal

On third down with a yard to go with seconds remaining the first quarter, Bowman County senior running back Adam Powell barreled through Velva's interior defense for two yards, picking up a first down near mid-field.

Bowman County senior defensive lineman Brian Anaya puts pressure on Velva sophomore quarterback Jersey Selzler on Saturday, Oct. 27, from Bowman County Stadium - Reinhiller Field. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)
Bowman County senior defensive lineman Brian Anaya puts pressure on Velva sophomore quarterback Jersey Selzler on Saturday, Oct. 27, from Bowman County Stadium - Reinhiller Field. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)

On third down with a yard to go with seconds remaining the first quarter, Bowman County senior running back Adam Powell barreled through Velva's interior defense for two yards, picking up a first down near mid-field.

Powell's short plunge wasn't insignificant, as it allowed the Bulldogs, who trailed 16-0 at the time, to continue their drive while switching sides of the field for the start of the second quarter.

Swirling winds with gusts stronger than 40 mph wreaked havoc throughout the Class A Quarterfinal. Bowman County took advantage of its first opportunity to play with the winds to the players' back, scoring a pair of touchdowns.

"It was huge, it was absolutely huge," Bulldogs head coach Todd Frie said of Powell's run. "Obviously in a game like this, the wind is a huge factor. For them to overcome the first quarter that they had and for Adam to get that first down there, he ran hard to get it and help us maintain that drive."

Bowman County carried that momentum to 26 unanswered points, defeating the Aggies 26-16 on Saturday, Oct. 27 from Bowman County Stadium-Reinhiller Field.

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Junior quarterback Jacob Svihovec scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 10-yard scramble, racing around the edge of the defense to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the game with under seven minutes remaining in regulation.

The No. 4-ranked Bulldogs will travel to top-ranked Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich next Saturday with a trip to the Dakota Bowl on the line.

"This is just crazy," Bulldogs senior lineman Beau Jeffers said. "I know that we had set this as a goal, but it's still hard to believe that we made it and that we are still going and we're still playing; we're one of four teams left in Class A, that's just amazing."

Bowman County won the coin toss and deferred to get the ball at the beginning of the second half. With that, Velva scored on the first play of the game. Traveling in a direction where the wind wasn't a factor, the Aggies went deep, as senior tight end Hayden Lee hauled in a 64-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Jersey Selzler.

Later in the period, the duo connected on an 8-yard pitch-and-catch to extend Velva's lead. The road team only needed to travel 26 yards on its second scoring drive after a punt from junior Matt Osendorf netted 10 yards.

Throughout the course of the contest, the two teams started drives inside of their opponent's 30-yard line five times.

"We recalled our last win against Dickinson Trinity when we were down and came back," Jeffers said. "We knew that we couldn't get down on ourselves, there's a lot of game left to play. We knew if kept playing hard, kept plugging away and kept rolling, we could come back and get the victory."

With the cards in their favor in the second frame, Bowman County drove more than 60 yards down the field, capped by a Powell 1-yard plunge.

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After forcing Velva to a three-and-out well within its on territory, Frie called a timeout with 32 ticks left in the opening half, knowing that the Aggies would not be able to punt it deep. Frie's time management paid immediate dividends when sophomore Caleb Duffield made a leaping catch for a 29-yard touchdown reception on the first play of the possession.

Even with closing the gap to three, Frie still sensed the players needed a moral boost.

"When I got in (the locker room), I said 'No. 1, our body language needs to improve, you are down by three points. You get the ball at the start of the second half. We're ok, we've been down before,'" Frie said. "We were down 20-0 earlier this year and were able to come back. But with our body language, it was the realization of seniors going into locker room, in their head thinking that this is the last time we are going to hear a halftime speech. Things like that have to be out of their minds."

Driving into the wind to start the second half, Bowman County's offense did not gain much traction against swarming Aggies front. However, the Bulldogs emerged with a major victory by keeping Velva off of the board in the third quarter, thanks in large part by junior defensive lineman Nate Boehm.

With Velva near the red-zone and his team's time with the wind behind them running out, Boehm sacked Selzler on third-and-12 for an eight-yard loss.

"I came off the right edge from a defensive standpoint," Boehm said. "I saw that (Selzler) had a running back lineup with him. When I tried to go inside, another defender pushed him outside. We managed to run him out (of the pocket) and I had him in my arms."

Midway through the fourth, Boehm blocked a punt with from senior Seth Fahy, giving the Bulldogs solid field position at the Aggies 25-yard line, leading to Svihovec's go-ahead run.

Velva had two more chances to regain the lead, but fell short.

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First, the Aggies turned the ball over on downs when a pass intended for Lee fluttered incomplete with under three minutes remaining. Then, on the last play of the game, Selzler was intercepted by senior cornerback Corban Massey, who returned the ball into the end-zone for a pick-six.

"I think this game was typical of playoff football," Velva head coach Larry Sandy said. "It was hard-fought and came down to the end. We played well and good off to a great start, unfortunately, they made more plays that we did."

Bowman County 26, Velva 16

V 16 0 0 0 - 16

BC 0 13 0 13 - 26

First quarter

V: Hayden Lee 64 pass from Jersey Selzler (Gage Florence pass from Selzler)

V: Lee 8 pass from Selzler (Seth Fahy run)

Second quarter

BC: Adam Powell 1 run (Pass failed)

BC: Caleb Duffield 29 pass from Jacob Svihovec (Jaxson Fischer kick)

Third quarter

No scoring

Fourth quarter

BC: Svihovec 10 run (Fischer kick)

BC: Corban Massey 10 interception return (Fischer kick)

Individual stats were not available.

Records: V: 8-2. BC 10-0.

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