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Jepson leads Killdeer's rout of Heart River

KILLDEER -- A layer of fog and mist blanketed the football field at Killdeer High School Friday evening, but the Cowboys' defense found a way to shine bright anyway.

Killdeer senior running back Dillan Jepson breaks away from Heart River defenders Jesse Canode, left, and Tristen Schuhrke Friday evening at Killdeer High School. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)
Killdeer senior running back Dillan Jepson breaks away from Heart River defenders Jesse Canode, left, and Tristen Schuhrke Friday evening at Killdeer High School. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)

KILLDEER - A layer of fog and mist blanketed the football field at Killdeer High School Friday evening, but the Cowboys' defense found a way to shine bright anyway.

Killdeer senior running back Dillan Jepson rushed for three first-half touchdowns, and the Cowboys came away with three interceptions and two blocked punts in a 50-6 rout of Region 4 foe Heart River.

Jepson finished with 184 rushing yards on 14 carries, gashing the Cougars defensive front for most of the contest.

"That kid runs with his heart," said teammate Ty Truchan, a senior who blocked one of the punts, returning it 10 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. "We've got a good line backing him up, and he works hard."

Heart River struggled to move the ball at times, and was stricken with bad luck once a drive showed some promise.

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Right before halftime, the spot of the ball after a running play on fourth-and-1 went unmeasured, giving the ball back to Killdeer; false starts and illegal blocks increased the distance necessary on a drive to open the third quarter; and Trace Jacobson threw an interception in the end zone with 4 minutes, 53 seconds remaining in the game.

"Penalties just killed us to start the second half," Cougars head coach Jamie Wyant said, "but we need more consistency on offense. ... It's frustrating not finishing the drives, but it's still a work in progress."

The Cowboys (4-1, 2-0 Region 4) created some separation early to make sure the game was never in doubt.

Jepson opened with a 65-yard score on the second play of the game, and he added scores of 32 and 30 yards later in the first half.

Truchan's punt return and a 9-yard keeper from quarterback Alex Sadowsky gave the Cowboys a 35-6 advantage at halftime.

"Credit to (the Cougars), they played hard all the way through the game," Killdeer head coach Lou Dobitz said. "We just made some plays when we needed to, for sure."

Heart River's only points came on a 20-yard pass from Jacobson to Zane Besler with 1:39 remaining in the first quarter.

Cauy Shypkoski carried 11 times for 50 yards for the Cougars (1-4, 1-1), and Besler finished with five catches for 51 yards. Dion Madler added six grabs for 83 yards. Jacobson was 15 of 27 passing for 177 yards, but his three interceptions swung the momentum in Killdeer's direction each time.

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"We knew they had good receivers," said Cowboys senior defensive back Hoyt Zander, who nabbed two picks, "and we practiced for that and focused and knew where we had to be."

Cole Dukart also had an interception in the second quarter, and he added an 18-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth.

The third quarter was nearly scoreless before a cloud of Cowboys blocked Jacobson's punt out of the end zone for a safety with 30 seconds remaining.

Backup quarterback Dylan Tabor rushed 3 yards for a touchdown with 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to complete Killdeer's scoring.

The Cowboys are now winners of four straight games, and they hope to keep building throughout the remainder of the season.

"Us as seniors," Zander said, "it's our last season, and we want to keep going. The whole team is putting in the work and it's going good so far. We want to keep it going."

Killdeer 50, Heart River 6

HR 6 0 0 0 - 6

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K 21 14 2 13 - 50

First quarter

K - Dillan Jepson 65 rush (Jepson kick), 11:03

K - Jepson 32 rush (Jepson kick), 7:20

K - Ty Truchan punt block return (Jepson kick), 6:23

HR - Zane Besler 20 pass from Trace Jacobson (conversion no good), 1:39

Second quarter

K - Alex Sadowsky 9 rush (Jepson kick), 9:05

K - Jepson 30 rush (Jepson kick), 7:42

Third quarter

K - Safety, :30

Fourth quarter

K - Cole Dukart 18 rush (Jepson kick), 4:53

K - Dylan Tabor 3 rush (no attempt), :10

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: HR, Cauy Shypkoski 11-50, Ty Buckman 11-37. K, Jepson 14-184, Hoyt Zander 3-49.

PASSING: HR, Jacobson 15-27-3 177 1 TD. K, Sadowsky 2-10-0 6 yards.

RECEIVING: HR, Besler 5-51, Dion Madler 6-83. K, Zander 1-1, Riley Reiss 1-5.

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