In recent years, the EPC Wildcatz and Dakota Indians have matched up very well with each other. Over the past decade, these two have created quite a rivalry with a lot of close games throughout that time. The Wildcatz brought their #5 state ranking into Friday's contest with a potential conference title on the line, as Dakota was looking to surprise the Catz and potentially set up a pivotal matchup with Lena-Winslow in week 9.
The Indians would kick to start the game, and give EPC the ball first, but Jarod Kempel almost returned the opening kickoff, as Kempel took it deep into Dakota territory. After collecting a first down and pushing the ball inside the 10, the Dakota defensed stifled the Catz and forced a turnover on downs, leading to a momentum swing the Indians would take advantage of.
After exchanging possessions, the Indians would begin to drive the ball steadily with Aden Cassidy and Trey Engelbrecht. As they kept churning small run after small run, a screen pass from Josh Clark to Engelbrecht go the Indians rolling as they crossed into EPC territory. As time expired to end the 1st quarter, the Indians continued driving at the start of the 2nd quarter, and with 8:39 to go until halftime, Evan Riggle put the Indians on the board first with a 2 yard dive into the end zone. After the Nolan Lentz kick was good, the Indians had a 7-0 lead.
On EPC's next possession, the Indians stifled their offense and forced a punt, but a fumbled snap was recovered by Dakota, as Aden Cassidy recovered the fumble. With the ball marked at the 8 yard line, Dakota was looking to take a bigger lead, but EPC returned the favor and thwarted Dakota from doing anything inside the red zone. The Indians had to settle on a Lentz field goal to put them up 10-0 with 3 minutes remaining, and would take that lead into halftime with them.
To open the second half, Dakota received the ball, but quickly went to the air but failed to complete passes, and then were forced to punt two plays later just taking close to 3 minutes off the clock. EPC would take advantage of this and with 6:49 to go in the 3rd quarter, Braden Smargiassi hit Lucas Peterson for passing TD. After the point after kick was good, EPC closed the gap to 10-7 in favor of Dakota, and that lead would hold to enter the 4th quarter.
In the 4th quarter, after being able to contain him most the night, Jayden Kempel broke loose, not once, but twice, as he scored on 54 yard TD runs. The first one came right at the start of the 4th, which gave EPC the 14-10 lead, and then again after EPC stalled a Dakota drive, they caught them sleeping as Kempel broke one off the left tackle and up the sideline with 5:15 left in the game to put the dagger in the Indians.
EPC was led by Jayden Kempel who finished the night with 175 yards and 2 TDs. For the night EPC had 286 yards of total offense.
Dakota finished the night with 154 yards of offense.
EPC (8-0) vs Polo (5-3)
Dakota (6-2) vs Le-Win (7-1)