A match up between two NUIC traditional powers didn't disappoint Friday night. The EPC Wildcatz traveled to Dakota Friday night to take on the Indians on a festive homecoming night. EPC was poised to get win number 6 and clinch their spot in the playoffs, as Dakota was coming in more focused after being stunned by Le-Win last week at home 35-0.
EPC received the ball to start the game at their own 30 yard line. EPC gained 19 yards and 1 first down on their opening drive, but stalled on their own 49 yard line as the Indians were fired up early on.
Dakota's opening drive would start from their own 15 yard line. The first offensive play for the Indians saw Cade Meier connect with Matt Holste for a 30 yard gain and quickly moving to their own 45 yard line. Dakota would get into EPC territory before a crucial holding call set the Indians back and forced them to punt.
EPC's second drive would fail to get started as they quickly went 3 and out and were forced to punt, changing field position over into Dakota's favor. Dakota would move the ball to the EPC 19 yard line, but quickly faced a 3rd and long situation. Meier dropped back to pass and found a wide open Holste streaking over the middle, but Holste couldn't hang on for what would have been a sure score. However, on 4th down the duo would hook up again and this time connect to put Dakota up 6-0 late in the 1st quarter.
EPC would answer the bell on their ensuing drive. Starting on their own 42 yard line, the Catz would drive to the Indian 38 yard line. Facing 4th and 9, Brighton Haverland dropped back and connected with Skyler Fischer on a 38 yard TD pass. The extra point was good as EPC led 7-6 at the half.
Dakota opened the 2nd half with the ball on their own 35 yard line. Meier wasted no time getting the Indians moving, as they drove deep into EPC territory. Facing a 4th and 4 situation, Meier rolled out on a bootleg run and was quickly wrapped up for a loss. EPC would gain control and strike quickly on a 44 yard pass from Haverland to Fischer once again, knocking on the door at the 1 yard line. A false start penalty would move the Wildcatz back to the Indian 6 yard line. EPC would move the ball to the 3 yard line and end the quarter.
EPC would open the 4th quarter trying to extend their lead, but the Indian defense stiffened up as they held a Haverland keeper out of the endzone. However, at the 10:35 mark of the 4th quarter and facing 4th and goal at the 1/2 yard line, Haverland kept the ball and darted to his right and cut inside the tackle where a host of Indians met him at the goal line, but the surge by Haverland was enough to get the ball over the goal line. The extra point was good and EPC held a 14-6 advantage.
The game was getting heated up as the time was running down. Both teams would stall on successive drives, and EPC would pin the Indians on their own 1 yard line after a great punt by Haverland with just over 2 minutes remaining. Dakota quickly moved the ball up the field, however with a minute left in the game and the Indians at their own 40 yard line Dakota mishandled the snap and fumbled the ball as EPC recovered to seal the win and clinch a playoff birth.
The stats were evenly matched as the contest was. EPC outgained Dakota 299 yards to 268 yards on the night.
For EPC, Brighton Haverland would finish the night 6-11 passing for 113 yards 1 TD 1 INT and 14 carries for 79 yards and 1 TD. Keegan Schubert added 15 carries for 67 yards on the night and Skyler Fischer had 5 receptions for 101 yards and 1 TD.
For Dakota, Andrew Wenger led the way with 20 carries for 90 yards rushing. Matt Holste had 7 carries for 31 yards and 3 receptions for 65 yards and 1 TD. Cade Meier was 8-14 passing for 128 yards and 1 TD.
EPC at Amboy | Dakota at Pecatonica