Entering week 5, both EPC (2-2) and Dakota (1-3) were looking for a big win to keep on track to make the playoffs. This game has been a close game every year since 2016, with both teams matching up with each other very well. On Friday night, with threatening weather in the forecast, the game was moved to a 5:00 start.
After each team opened the game forcing the other to punt, Dakota took their 2nd possession of the game, chewed up 12:01 off the clock. However, getting down to the EPC 3 yard line, scoring a touchdown that was negated by a penalty, EPC's defense stalled the Indians at the 10 yard line with just 2:28 left in the half. A minute and a half later, EPC quarterback Lane Christians would drop back and throw an interception to Dakota's Josh Clark. Starting their third possession at the EPC 12 yard line with 56 seconds left in the half, Dakota couldn't go anywhere. Backed up 7 yards to the EPC 20, Dakota would attempt a 37 yard field goal from Quinton Heilemeier with time running down, but the kick would sail to the left. The game would go to the half tied at 0 after EPC would take a knee.
The Wildcatz would open the 2nd half receiving the ball, and after a nice kick return, would set up at their own 41 yard line. A few plays later, Dakota's Evan Riggle would pick off a Christians pass to give Dakota the ball back at their own 30 yard line. The Indians would go to work, mostly on the ground behind Riggle, Clark, and Ben Holste. The Indians would chew up more clock in the process as they continued to grind yard after yard. Then Clark broke off a 30 yard run to get Dakota to the EPC 19 yard line. A few plays later and Clark would get the Indians into the endzone on a 1 yard dive. The kick by Heilemeier was good, and Dakota had a 7-0 lead with 2:28 to play in the 3rd.
The Wildcatz would go on their most threatening drive of the game. Going into a spread set, Christians would find Braydin Preston through the air, drop back and take off on the ground, and use the run game of Logan Krell and Braeden Heeren. Getting down to the 4 yard line, Christians would roll out to his right and would throw an interception to Riley Jones at the 2 yard line.
Dakota would chew up another 6 minutes before being forced to punt, and the Wildcatz would get one last shot. Getting the ball at their own 22 yard line with only 3:27 left in the game, EPC would continue to spread the field, allowing Christians time to run and pass. Running out of time, and no timeouts, the Wildcatz were forced to go for the hail marry. Christians dropped back, moved to his right, and heaved a pass to the endzone. EPC's Carson Clouse went up to get it, but it went behind him and hit Dakota's Wyatt Rockey before falling to the ground to end the game.
Dakota would manage 186 yards of total offense, and were led by Josh Clark who went 3 for 5 passing for 34 yards, had 11 carries for 53 yards and 1 TD, and had an interception on defense. Evan Riggle would chip in with 44 yards rushing on 14 carries, while Ben Holste had 49 yards rushing on 11 carries.
For EPC, they finished with 166 yards of total offense. Logan Christians was 6-13 passing for 51 yards and 3 INT. He had 38 yards rushing on 10 carries. Braeden Heeren rushed for 47 yards on 13 carries and Logan Krell added 30 yards rushing on 9 carries.
Up next for EPC (2-3) is a home game vs Aquin. Dakota (2-3) will hit the road to play East Dubuque.