Miscues halt Aggies playoff run
Tornadoes defeat PR-F-L in postseason opener
The Park River-Fordville-Lankin Aggies traveled to Oakes on Saturday for the first round of the North Dakota Class A football playoffs against the Oakes Tornadoes and come home weathered by a 33-7 defeat.
The Aggies were met by an aggressive Tornado defense that shut down a lackluster and predictable offensive effort. PR-F-L didn’t manage a first down until after they were down 14-0 early in the second quarter.
Oakes took advantage of a pooch kick attempt on the opening kickoff and started the game from their own 27-yard line. Seven plays later the Aggies forced the Tornadoes into a 4th and 6 but an undisciplined unnecessary roughness penalty gave Oakes a first and goal from the Aggies 10-yard line. Two plays later Eric Loepp ran in for a 6-yard touchdown. With the extra-point kick the Tornadoes led 7-0 at the 8:22 mark.
The Aggies started their first possession from their 20-yard line and gained only four yards on three running plays and were forced to punt.
Oakes then confidently marched the ball down to the 9-yard line and on a first and goal, Matthew Dobmeier intercepted a pass and ran the ball out to the 15-yard line.
Three plays later the Aggies only gained one yard and again were forced to punt.
The Tornadoes needed only five more plays to score on a 6-yard pass from Bryce Meehl to Cole Ehrlin early in the second quarter to extend their lead 14-0.
PR-F-L showed some life on the ensuing drive, finally picking up a couple first downs. On a 2nd and nine play, Jesse Blasky took a bad handoff, fumbled and caught the ball on an Aggies’ bounce, then ran around the left side for a 28-yard touchdown. With a Levi Cudmore kick, the Aggies showed signs of life cutting the score 14-7 at the 9:03 mark of the second quarter.
The Aggie defense tightened up and stopped the Tornadoes at their 38-yard line, but after a great punt and roll the Aggies were backed up to their 16-yard line. With confidence the Aggies marched down to the Tornadoes 24-yard line but an offensive facemask penalty and an interception killed the drive with 3:46 to go in the first half.
Oakes took full advantage of the turnover and on a second and seven play, after three consecutive first downs, the Aggies were called for pass interference which put the Tornadoes on the Aggies’ 47-yard line. On the next play, a defensive coverage mistake left Kaleb Sell wide open to score on a 47-yard touchdown pass from Meehl to make the score 21-7 after Meehl’s extra-point kick was good.
Oakes then tried to give the Aggies a taste of the receiving end of a pooch kick, but an aware Noah Zimmerman grabbed the ball and ran to the 40-yard line of Oakes The Aggies moved the ball down to the 5-yard line and after obtaining the first down, the clock didn’t stop upon the moving of the chains and an animated Aggie coach, Robert Goll had time put back on the clock from 46 seconds to 56 seconds. On second and goal the Aggies tried to call a timeout to stop the clock but a few precious seconds ticked off thus further infuriating coach Goll. The Tornadoes held the Aggies scoring threat for three more plays and time expired ending the first half with the score 21-7 in favor of the Tornadoes.
The third quarter was relatively quiet until Oakes scored on a 49-yard run by Meehl at the 2:30 mark. The extra-point kick was blocked by Zach Nelson to make the score 27-7 in favor of the Tornadoes.
The fourth quarter was reminiscent of the first quarter. Oakes sustained long drives to eat away at the clock and the Aggies could not shake the Tornadoes defense.
The score remained 27-7 until the final play of the game in which Kaleb Sell returned an interception 42 yards to make the final score 33-7.