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Battlers sweep through first round of playoffs

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On a nice autumn evening, the Mighty Battlers from Potter County came into the first round of playoffs seeded second in Region Four. They finished the regular season with a 7-1 win-loss record, and hosted third seeded Lemmon/McIntosh Cowboys Tuesday evening, Oct. 25.
The Battlers put the boot to the ball to start the game and the Cowboys took the first possession. They worked their way into Battler territory but couldn’t put the drive together and it was soon possessed by the Potter County team.
A drive was put together in short order and ended after six plays with Tate Nafziger bulling over the Cowboys for a nine yard touchdown. The extra point kick was uncharacteristically blocked, and the Battlers were on the board with a 6-0 lead.
The Cowboys were at a fourth and a foot, but jumped causing a false start penalty and forcing a punt. Battlers took over at the Cowboy 49. Nafziger made a nice pass to Hayden Simon who dashed down to the four, then took it into the end zone on the next play. With a 12-0 lead, Nafziger at quarterback kept the ball, put his head down, and added another two points to the lead as the quarter clock ran out.
The Battlers lined up an on-side kick to start the second quarter and were blind sided when the Cowboys’ special teams picked it up and went 50 yards for a touchdown return. The PAT was no good, so the score went to 14-6.
Dalton Storer returned the favor with a 92 yard kickoff return into the end zone on the next play. The extra point was no good, but the score spread to 20-6.
The Cowboys put together a drive that had them knocking on the Battler doorstep until the home team took over on downs at their own 13.
Coming out of the shadow of their own goal posts, Nafziger put the team on the move. Throws to Simon and to Mitch Hinckley moved the chains. The next pass connected with Jace Everson on a 36 yard play to the Cowboy three yard line. On the first and goal, Simon reached in past the pylon and added his second score for the night. The two point conversion failed, but the Battler lead increased to 26-6.
Before long the Battlers had the ball in hand again and ended the first half with a score off a Nafziger pass play to Chayce Hall who hauled in a touchdown. The extra point wasn’t there, so the score moved to 32-6 as they headed into halftime.
The second half started with the Battler in possession and a big run by Simon giving the men in red close to the end zone. It wasn’t long before the ball was on a first and goal, with Hall at quarterback sidestepping across the goal line. They couldn’t make the extra points add up, so the score jumped to 38-6 with 9:38 left in the third.
The kick off to the Cowboys was returned for an 89 yard touchdown, which tightened the score and added another two points with the PAT, moving the score to 38-14.
A bad punt by the Cowboys put the Battlers on the Lemmon/McIntosh 16. A major penalty moved the ball back to the 27, but quickly moved back into the red zone. The ball was turned over to the Cowboys on downs. A little bit later, the same thing happened again, only this time turned over to the Battlers.
Simon carried the ball into the red zone, and on the next play Hinckley ran it up the gut nine yards through the linebacking corps for another six points. Ryan Sundberg ran in the extra two point, and the Battlers lead spread to 46-14, and the clock ran out on the third quarter.
The fourth quarter started with a three yard scamper by Sundberg into the end zone followed by Storer running in another two point, making the score 54-14. The spread was big enough that the clock started running continuously.
The Cowboys came within a yard of the end zone, but Denver Jost and the Battler defensive line held them back and brought it back to the home team on downs.
Potter County headed to White on Monday to take on the Dubrook Dolphins.
-Molly McRoberts

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