Late score sinks Cyclones in loss to Tigers, 8-6
YODER – Southeast looked to put away the Niobrara County Tigers early in the fourth quarter.
With 8:16 left in the game, Kannon Tippetts returned an interception for a touchdown only to have it brought back on a penalty.
During the interception, an injury occurred to NCHS’s David West. After a lengthy break in the action for an injury timeout which saw West transported to the hospital for a concussion, the momentum of the game shifted in the visitors favor.
The end result was Southeast falling to the Tigers, 8-6.
After the break in the action, the Cyclones drive went nowhere, giving the ball right back to the Tigers.
“You go back and watch the film, it was a totally legal hit,” Cyclone coach Mark Bullington said. “It wasn’t a targeting. It wasn’t a crackback. It was called a blindside.”
With 3:30 left in the game, NCHS drove down to the Southeast 1-yard line. The Cyclone defense held on the next three plays, forcing a fourth-and-goal at the 2-yard line.
Tiger quarterback Jackson Smith was able to punch through the Southeast defensive line to tie the game at six. They added the two point-point conversion, leaving the Cyclones down two with 2:06 left in the game.
“That was unfortunate,” Bullington said. “We had a couple people not trusting their keys. When you get down on the goal line, you hold them for three downs, it’s hard to hold them out on something like that.”
Southeast moved the ball down to the Niobrara County 35-yard line with 1:25 left in the game, but on the ensuing play, Cyclone junior quarterback Ayden Desmond threw an interception, allowing the Tigers to lineup in victory formation, handing the Cyclones their first loss of the season.
However, prior to the momentum swing, Southeast grabbed the lead with 2:36 left in the first quarter when Desmond connected with sophomore receiver Chase Sauer in the end zone on a 10-yard pass.
“We had some injuries that limited our offense,” Bullington said. “We had trouble moving the ball. I was disappointed in our ability to move the ball, but sometimes that happens when you don’t have your starters.”
From that point on until the fourth quarter, it was a defensive battle between the Cyclones and Tigers.
“I thought defensively we played pretty well,” Bullington said. “I told coach (Shawn) Burkart, we are in our fourth game, and we are giving up 8.5 points per game. That’s not to bad considering sometimes they are scoring 30, 40 points.”
Southeast had five sacks in the first half and six for the game – four by Tiegen Thompson and two by TJ Moats.
“Coach Burkart and I figured we could get some pressure, and we did,” Bullington said. “They started throwing the small routes. We figured we could get some pressure with our d-ends. They are pretty hard to handle.”
The Cyclones (3-1 overall and 2-1 in the 9-Man East) travels to Guernsey (1-3 and 0-3) on Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.