Killdeer faces familiar foe in Velva-Sawyer to open playoffs
KILLDEER -- Velva-Sawyer and Killdeer have become familiar postseason opponents over the last several years. When the Aggies and No. 3-ranked Cowboys meet at 1 p.m. today at the Killdeer Athletic Complex, it will be the fourth time in the last fi...
KILLDEER - Velva-Sawyer and Killdeer have become familiar postseason opponents over the last several years.
When the Aggies and No. 3-ranked Cowboys meet at 1 p.m. today at the Killdeer Athletic Complex, it will be the fourth time in the last five years the teams have met in the playoffs. Most recently, Killdeer defeated Velva-Sawyer 33-0 at home last season, earning a berth in the Class 1A state championship game.
Needless to say, the Cowboys (6-2), the No. 2 seed out of Region 4, are hopeful for a return trip. That goal starts with beating the Aggies (6-2) in the first round. Velva-Sawyer is the third seed out of Region 3.
“It’s a boost of confidence a little bit just knowing that we’ve had success against them before,” said senior lineman Rope Smith. “But we also know they’re a well-coached team, and they’re a good team in the postseason. We can’t take anything for granted against them.”
Killdeer head coach Lou Dobitz said his team will have to contain specific players in order to advance.
“They bring back a lineman who also plays linebacker, and he’s quite the player,” Dobitz said of senior Justin Helseth. “Last year, when we were on offense, we made sure we knew where he was and we called some plays based on where he was because he’s that good of a player. They have some talented offensive linemen back, and Nick Effertz comes back at quarterback. He didn’t play against us much, but during the course of the year last year, he played a number of times where he was in the game, and he’s a good passer.”
Winning the battle with those linemen and getting pressure on Effertz, a junior, will make things a lot easier for the Cowboys.
“We have to key on the quarterback quite a bit,” said Smith, who leads the Cowboys with four sacks and is second on the team with 30 tackles. “If you give him time to pass, he’ll definitely get the ball there. Keeping him in the pocket and getting him on the ground as much as we can is our main goal.”
Killdeer gained more than 200 yards on the ground against Velva-Sawyer last year, and Dobitz hopes that trend continues but also that the Cowboys find some balance in the passing game.
Senior Dillan Jepson has rushed for 1,041 yards and 16 touchdowns this year, and junior Alex Sadowsky has passed for 698 yards and 10 scores.
“We hope we can continue running the football,” Dobitz said, “but we know we need to mix in the pass, and Alex is going a good job of that. He has some good guys to throw to in Garrett LeMieux, Hoyt Zander and Dillan as well.”