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Effertz, Aggies work quickly to dispatch Cowboys

KILLDEER -- Just short of a year after Killdeer ended Velva-Sawyer's season with a 33-0 victory in the Class 1A semifinals, the Aggies returned to Killdeer on Saturday and returned the favor.

Velva-Sawyer junior tight end Hunter Brabandt hauls in a touchdown pass over Killdeer defenders Cole Dukart (21) and Hoyt Zander (89) during the first quarter on Saturday in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)
Velva-Sawyer junior tight end Hunter Brabandt hauls in a touchdown pass over Killdeer defenders Cole Dukart (21) and Hoyt Zander (89) during the first quarter on Saturday in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)

KILLDEER - Just short of a year after Killdeer ended Velva-Sawyer's season with a 33-0 victory in the Class 1A semifinals, the Aggies returned to Killdeer on Saturday and returned the favor.

Velva-Sawyer jumped all over the No. 3-ranked Cowboys from the onset, riding a four-touchdown performance from junior quarterback Nick Effertz to a 28-9 victory in the Class 1A first round at the Killdeer Sports Complex.

"They kind of hit us in the mouth last year, so it feels good to come out firing on all cylinders," Effertz said. "It's always a good feeling to get that first win out of the way. We're on the road for all these games, so we like to think we're road warriors."

The win sets up the Aggies, the No. 3 seed from Region 3, for a meeting at Des Lacs-Burlington, the No. 1 seed from the same region, at 2 p.m. next Saturday. Velva-Sawyer beat the Lakers 16-8 on Oct. 14 in Velva.

Against the Cowboys, the Aggies struck early and often, and they had plenty of help thanks to four Killdeer fumbles in the first half.

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After Velva-Sawyer stopped Killdeer's first drive, Effertz found junior tight end Hunter Brabandt for a 15-yard touchdown on fourth down. The Cowboys fumbled to start their next possession, and Effertz found Brabandt for a 24-yard score and a quick 12-0 lead.

The Cowboys' next possession ended the same way. Garrett LeMieux hauled in a short pass from Dillan Jepson and had the ball knocked away while turning up the field. After a fake punt conversion run from Justin Helseth, Effertz notched his third touchdown with an 11-yard strike to Hayden Lee. Lee added the conversion for a 20-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.

"The turnovers killed us and that gave them momentum and confidence. That's what hurt us the worst, the turnovers," Cowboys head coach Lou Dobitz said.

In the second quarter, facing fourth down again, Effertz launched a pass into the end zone and an Aggies' receiver drew a defensive pass interference call on the Cowboys. With the ball at the 2 after the penalty, Effertz leapt across the goal line for his team's final touchdown and a 28-0 lead after a conversion pass to Lee.

"We're fairly decent at throwing the ball and we have a number of kids that can go catch it," Aggies head coach Larry Sandy said. "If we get the matchup and the coverage that we want, we're going to take a shots, and we got to take a lot of shots with the turnovers that occurred. Nick did a nice job of reading what's there."

After Jepson connected with Hoyt Zander for a 38-yard pass to the Velva-Sawyer 9-yard line midway through the second quareter, the Cowboys fumbled away the ball two plays later. The Killdeer defense got a stop, forcing the Aggies to punt, but the snap went high and out of the end zone for a safety and the Cowboys' first points.

Killdeer fumbled again on a hook-and-ladder play with 1 minute, 14 seconds remaining in the half, and went into the break trailing 28-2.

With 4 minutes remaining in the third quarter, Killdeer finally found the end zone on a 1-yard keeper from quarterback Alex Sadowsky, but that's all Velva-Sawyer would allow the rest of the game.

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"The second half, we left it all out on the field. We just made too many mistakes," said Killdeer senior linebacker Tony Kluver. "We could feel our backs against the wall. We knew we had to give it one last push. We just had too many turnovers, which we really didn't do all year. Not this many in one game."

For Dobitz, to see his team to play so uncharacteristically is what stood out.

"We wanted to make sure we got some stops in that third quarter and put some points on the board. We didn't get that to happen for us," Dobitz said. "We needed to score, and it just didn't happen for us."

Velva-Sawyer 28, Killdeer 9

VS 20 8 0 0 - 28

K 0 2 7 0 - 9

First quarter

VS - Hunter Brabandt 15 pass from Nick Effertz (conversion failed), 7:42

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VS - Brabandt 24 pass from Effertz (conversion failed), 6:54

VS - Hayden Lee 11 pass from Effertz (Lee pass from Effertz), 1:05

Second quarter

VS - Effertz 2 rush (Lee pass from Effertz), 6:19

K - Safety, 2:38

Third quarter

K - Alex Sadowsky 1 rush (Dillan Jepson kick), 4:00

Fourth quarter

No scoring

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: VS, Jon Thomas 18-51, Dylan Lund 19-46, Effertz 8-33. K, Jepson 12-38.

PASSING: VS, Effertz 10-22-0 120 yards, 3 TDs. K, Sadowsky 4-17-0 35 yards; Jepson 2-3-1 50 yards.

RECEIVING: VS, Lee 5-52, Brabandt 3-51, Lund 2-17. K, Garrett LeMieux 2-22, Hoyt Zander 1-38, Jepson 2-14, Riley Reiss 1-11.

INTERCEPTIONS: VS, Justin Helseth 1.

Velva-Sawyer sophomore linebacker Hayden Lee knocks the ball out of the hands of Killdeer junior wide receiver Garrett LeMieux to force a fumble on Saturday in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)
Velva-Sawyer sophomore linebacker Hayden Lee knocks the ball out of the hands of Killdeer junior wide receiver Garrett LeMieux to force a fumble on Saturday in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)

Related Topics: KILLDEER COWBOYSPREP SPORTS
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