On the first offensive play of the game, Velva's Brad Dean took a big hit from Killdeer's Calum Blankenship.
After a brief stoppage in play, the senior running back was helped up and made his way over to the sidelines.
His night was finished, right? Far from it.
Velva quarterback Drew Effertz delivers a pass during the Aggies' win over Killdeer in the first round of the Class A state playoffs Saturday at Biesiot Activities Center. Photo courtesy of Royal McGregor/The Dickinson Press.
"I got hit pretty hard in the back and I didn't know if I could come back in," Dean said. "I decided it's my last year and I'll come back in and give it a shot."
Velva, the No. 3 seed from Region 3, used a pair of TD passes from Drew Effertz to Dean and 20 unanswered points en route to a 27-20 win over No. 3-ranked Killdeer in the Class A playoffs on Saturday at the Biesiot Activities Center.
"(Dean) is a kid who has really came to light in his senior year," Velva head coach Larry Sandy said. "He's grown into his body finally and his athletic ability and speed have just increased."
Dean, who caught six passes for 95 yards and ran for 26 yards on nine carries, also nabbed an interception in the final minutes. His pick set up the Aggies' final touchdown.
However, the game wasn't always smooth sailing for the Aggies. In the first half, Velva had to burn its three timeouts in the first 19 minutes.
Yet, the team was able to pull together in the second half and scored 20 unanswered points. The Aggies' two final TDs in the fourth quarter were on a Michael Thingstad six-yard run and Effertz's 23-yard pass to Hunter Schreiner.
For the Cowboys (7-2), the first half was full of missed opportunities. Killdeer had two fumbles in the red zone. Cowboys head coach Lou Dobitz said those are massive swings in points and momentum.
"Those were huge opportunities to put points on the board and we weren't able to do that," Dobitz said.
Killdeer scored the opening TD after blocking a punt from Velva. The Cowboys recovered the blocked punt at the Aggies' three-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Killdeer's John Knopik knocked in a three-yard TD run.
The Cowboys scored two TDs in the second half. The first was a Trenton Rohr 36-yard pass to Blankenship. Rohr scored the game's final TD on a six-yard run. Rohr finished 12 of 19 for 146 yards through the air and finished with 116 yards on 19 carries.
"We just want to keep pushing forward and show a lot of heart," Rohr said. "I give a lot of credit to the guys, it just didn't go our way tonight."