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Hettinger-Scranton Night Hawks' season ends with loss to North Prairie in 9-man semifinals

HETTINGER -- The Hettinger-Scranton football team finally met its offensive match. The North Prairie Cougars are still waiting for theirs. North Prairie shut down a second vaunted rushing attack in as many weeks Saturday, earning a 20-8 win over ...

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North Prairie senior quarterback Jalen Pfeifer attempts to keep Hettinger-Scranton freshman cornerback Jaxon Mellmer at bay during their 9-man semifinal game Saturday in Hettinger. Pfeifer rushed for 104 yards in the Cougars' victory. (Press Photo by Parker Cotton)
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HETTINGER - The Hettinger-Scranton football team finally met its offensive match.
The North Prairie Cougars are still waiting for theirs.
North Prairie shut down a second vaunted rushing attack in as many weeks Saturday, earning a 20-8 win over the Night Hawks in the semifinals of the state 9-man playoffs.
The Cougars (11-0) set up a date with Richland High School (11-0) at 8 a.m. Friday at the Fargodome for the state championship.
“It feels pretty dang good right now,” North Prairie senior quarterback Jalen Pfeifer said. “I know all the guys are pumped. We’re ready to go get one more, I think.”
The Region 4 champion Cougars have their defense as much as their offense to thank for their undefeated season to this point. A week after keeping Richardton-Taylor-Hebron senior back Denver Colgrove in check, North Prairie held Hettinger-Scranton’s trio of 1,000-yard rushers, Brandon Pierce, Tanner Sanford and Isaiah Kludt, to a combined 58 yards.
“We won the battle up front,” North Prairie head coach Terry Motl said. “Karson Schoening, Paul Kurtti, Casper Daniel, anytime you can go three-front and eat up five … they played lights out. It was a great team effort defensively.”
The Night Hawks (8-3) didn’t get on the scoreboard until 42 seconds remained in the fourth quarter, with the game well out of reach. Junior quarterback Hudson Pierce tossed a 28-yard touchdown to his cousin, senior running back Brandon Pierce, accounting for their only score. In all, Hettinger-Scranton mustered just 117 yards of total offense and three first downs.

“We made a few mistakes that were really costly,” Brandon Pierce said. “We’d have third-and-1 and get a penalty so it’s third-and-6. You can never do that in a big game like this. You have to be mistake-free, and they were.”
The Cougars tempted fate early, though, attempting an onside kick to open the game. They recovered and scored 1 minute, 14 seconds into the game on a 1-yard run by senior running back Tayler Scott.
Pfeifer added a 1-yard scoring run of his own in the second quarter to give his team a 12-0 halftime lead.
After trudging through a scoreless third quarter, Scott put the game away with a 22-yard run with 5 minutes to go in the fourth. Scott rushed for 122 yards on 21 carries, and Pfeifer backed him up with 104 yards on 17 rushes.
“He’s a hard-nosed runner,” Pfeifer said of Scott. “He’s doesn’t look like he’s very big, but not many people I don’t think want to go one-on-one with him because he’s not scared of anybody.”
Pfeifer also had two interceptions in the game.
“He can do a lot of good things,” Night Hawks head coach Randy Burwick said. “He can hurt you with his legs, hurt you passing, he throws a real nice ball. He reads defenses well. We put in some schemes to try to mix him up, and he read them well.”
Though Hettinger-Scranton’s season came to an end, the players were mindful of all they had accomplished.
“I’m very proud of this team,” Brandon Pierce said. “We had some tough losses at the beginning of the season, but we persevered. We always came back and played hard. There were only four teams left playing today, and we were one of them, so I’m definitely proud of that.”

 

North Prairie 20, Hettinger-Scranton 8

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HS0008-8

First quarter

NP - Tayler Scott 1 run (conversion fails)

Second quarter

NP - Jalen Pfeifer 1 run (conversion fails)

Fourth quarter

NP -Scott 22 run (Alex Abrahamson pass from Pfeifer)

HS - Brandon Pierce 28 pass Hudson Pierce (Hudson Pierce run)

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RUSHING: NP, Tayler Scott 21-122, Jalen Pfeifer 17-104. HS, Brandon Pierce 8-34, Tanner Sanford 5-14, Isaiah Kludt 6-10, Hudson Pierce 2-10.

PASSING: NP, Pfeifer 2-5-0 18. HS, Hudson Pierce 3-7-2 49, Sanford 0-1-1.

RECEIVING: NP, team 18. HS, Brandon Pierce 3-49.

 

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