ARLINGTON – Kimball/White Lake dropped second-seeded Arlington/Lake Preston 29-0 in the quarterfinals of the Class 9AA Football Playoffs on Thursday night.
The big, physical and fast WiLdKats limited the high-powered Badgers to 213 yards of offense, including 74 yards on 27 rushes, and forced a trio of turnovers – including Cody Westendorf’s pick-six.
“Well, defensively we couldn’t ask for much better, you know what I’m saying,” said KWL coach Dale Taylor, whose team possessed the ball for more than 28 minutes. “I thought we were pretty patient offensively. We ran the ball well and I thought we threw the ball well when we needed to at times.
“We have to tip our hats to our defense – had a goal-line stand there in the first half. To hold a team like Arlington/Lake Preston scoreless is pretty impressive for our boys.”
Carter Fredericksen ran for 102 yards on 24 attempts and added 46 yards on two receptions. Caden Lenz totaled 46 yards on five carries.
Javen Holan went 5-of-6 for 104 yards through the air. Justin Becker had three catches for 58 yards.
KWL used a big sack to stop ALP early and then converted a pair of third downs on its way into the end zone.
Becker had a 34-yard catch on third-and-5 and Lenz picked up 26 yards on the ground on third-and-9 to move the ball to the 4-yard-line.
Fredericksen’s 3-yard touchdown rush soon thereafter got the WiLdKats on the board. Holan hit Becker for the two-point conversion to make it 8-0 at the 4:41 mark of the first.
Lenz picked off a pass on the Badgers’ ensuing possession and the WiLdKats moved the ball to the ALP 6. However, a false start penalty stalled the drive.
The home team marched downfield after that and eventually faced a fourth-and-goal from the KWL 3. An incomplete pass ended the threat late in the second quarter.
“I tell you what, they have a good football team,” said ALP coach Steve Gilbertson. “They beat us almost everywhere on the field; they beat us up front.
“We go into halftime down 8-0, I don’t feel too bad about that because it could have been worse at that point. Gosh, we missed a score at the end of the half but I thought we’d come out with a little momentum and they just drove down and scored. They’re just a good football team.”
Fredericksen added a first-half interception.
Kimball/White Lake got the ball to open the third period and put together a 60-yard scoring drive.
Lenz ran around right end on third-and-goal for a touchdown and Ty Namanny caught a pass from Holan on the two-pointer to push the margin to 16-0.
Holan hooked up with Fredericksen for a 24-yard score with 5:32 remaining in the game to make it 22-0.
Westendorf sealed the deal with a 77-yard interception return, weaving around a flurry of Badgers on his way to paydirt.
“It was a close game until the end because our defense kept us in the game,” noted Gilbertson, whose team allowed just 286 yards. “I think their size and physicality just eventually wore us down. They got a couple there at the end.
“And, of course, that’s not our game, when we run trips. We run the ball and they stopped that. We were a little out of character because of that, but that’s all credit to them; they’re just a good football team.”
Devon Heuer threw for 139 yards, as Tate Larsen had 83 yards on four catches for the Badgers. Gavin Holland picked up 51 yards on 11 rushes.
ALP entered the game outscoring its opponents an average of 47.56-11.44, including a 55-20 defeat of Elkton-Lake Benton in the first round of the playoffs.
Kimball/White Lake, the No. 7 seed, is flying somewhat under the radar due to its 7-3 record. With that said, the WiLdKats’ three losses came against a pair of 9AA semifinalists – 42-12 to No. 1 Wolsey-Wessington on Sept. 21 and 25-7 to No. 4 Bon Homme on Sept. 7 in home games – and one quarterfinalist – 12-6 at No. 5 Gregory in the season-opener.
“I’m going to tell you, the three teams that we lost to are pretty darn good football teams,” added Taylor. “We were kind of banged up, but they’re good football teams and they beat us.
“I kind of told our kids, with these last eight teams, I feel like we can beat anybody on a given night. So I’m very happy with our kids and how hard they played. They had to overcome some adversity tonight; a couple kids kind of got banged up a little bit; and they stayed in there.”
Kimball/White Lake plays at No. 3 Garretson (10-0) in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 2.
As for the Dakota Valley Conference Badgers, a 9-1 season was not the goal entering the season.
“I’m really proud of our kids, it was a great year. Am I disappointed? Absolutely,” said Gilbertson. “I’m not angry or disappointed at our kids or with our kids. Our goal wasn’t to go here, we wanted to go further like every other kid that plays football in the state of South Dakota.
“So, yeah, I’m disappointed we’re not playing next week, absolutely; and every one of those guys are too.”
COLOME – The Cowboys defeated defending-champion Colman-Egan 56-6 in a Class 9B Football Playoffs quarterfinal on Thursday night.
Colome (10-0), the No. 2 seed, is host to third-seeded Wall (10-0) in the semifinals Friday, Nov. 2.
The Hawks finished the season with a 7-3 record.
Colman-Egan won the Class 9B crown last year after taking the 9A championship in 2016.