It was a cold, windy night in Moorhead Friday night, Nov. 12, for the State 9-man quarterfinal game between Ogilvie and Kittson County Central. The Lions fought hard but came up just short in their bid to advance to the state semi-finals by a score of 27-20 ending their season with a fine 7-4 record. 

The game did not start off well for the Lions. KCC scored very quickly on the opening drive of the game. It only took two minutes and 26 seconds for the Bearcats to cap the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead. 

The Lions did get great field position for their opening drive starting around midfield, but the Lions couldn’t move the ball and went three and out.  

A great punt pinned the Bearcats deep inside their own 10-yard line. It appeared the Lions would get the ball back, but on a third and 10 the KCC running back broke loose for a 92-yard touchdown run. Less than halfway through the first quarter it was already 13-0, and it looked like Ogilvie could get blown out. 

The Lions next drive would be what the doctor ordered. Ogilvie started to move the ball methodically on the ground. They did get some help on the drive as KCC jumped offside on a fourth and four to keep the drive alive.  Ogilvie capped the seven-minute drive with a 1-yard Brody Milbradt touchdown early in the second quarter.  After the two-point conversion it was 13-8. Milbradt rushed for 29 yards on 11 carries for the night. 

On the ensuing kickoff, the Lions tried an onside kick. The Lions beautifully executed it, recovered the onside kick and appeared to have all the momentum. On the very next play Ogilvie fumbled the ball and it was recovered by the Bearcats. Unfortunately, turnovers would play a critical role in the outcome of the game as the Lions ultimately turned the ball over four times on fumbles throughout the game thwarting good drives. 

The Lions defense still had to figure out how to slow down the KCC running game. They couldn’t after the fumble as the Bearcat running back scored from 41 yards out giving KCC a 19-8 lead. The Bearcats rushed for over 250 yards in the first half. 

Ogilvie got an immediate answer on the kickoff. Andy Berg picked up the kickoff on the seven-yard line and took it all the way to the house for a 93-yard touchdown return. The Lions couldn’t convert the two-point conversion and they trailed by five, 19-14.  

The defense then started to settle down. The Bearcats were forced to punt after a big sack on their next drive. The Lions offense couldn’t take advantage of the stop as they turned the ball over for a second time on their next drive while moving the ball effectively. KCC ran out of time on the final possession of the half and the Lions were down only five points at halftime. 

The second half saw the Lions continue their ball control offense keeping the explosive Bearcats offense off the field. The Lions received the second half kickoff and once again began matriculating the ball down the field.  Once again a crucial fumble in Bearcat’s territory thwarted a good drive. 

The defense continued to step up with the help of KCC offensive penalties. The Lions defense forced a fourth and 12 punt to get the ball back to the offense.  

The running game of quarterback Colby Milbradt, Caleb Felde, Brody Milbradt and Kenyon Martin moved the ball down the field. On a critical fourth down and goal, Milbradt completed his only pass of the night to Andy Berg for 5-yard touchdown. The Lions found themselves in the lead for the first time 20-19 with just over nine minutes left in the game.  

The Lions rushed for 201 yards for the game. Felde led the way with 72 yards while Colby Milbradt rushed for 69 yards for a balanced Lions rushing attack. 

The Bearcats were able to answer to take the lead back. They were able to re-establish their running game on the ensuing drive. The drive culminated with a third and goal touchdown from four yards out. The two-point conversion made the score 27-20 with a little over four minutes left in the game. 

Unfortunately, the turnover bug continued for the Lions at the most inopportune time. After a first down run the Lions fumbled the ball away for a fourth time. This one was the dagger as the Bearcats were able to run the clock out to secure the 27-20 victory. 

On his team’s performance head coach, Dave Halvorson said, “We were very proud of the way the team came back after getting behind early in the game. It was a difficult night to play our kind of game, but we responded and were able to come back and compete with them to the very end of the game.”

The Lions ended their season as Section 5 champions with a 7-4 record.  The Bearcats advanced and will play Leroy-Ostrander at U.S. Bank Stadium on Thursday in the semi-finals.  

The Lions will say goodbye to many great seniors that helped lead them to the state tournament, but, with a lot of talented returning players, could find themselves back next year looking to go deeper.  

On his seniors and the season, Coach Halvorson said, “We will be losing a great group of seniors but know they taught the younger players on the team how to play hard in the coming years. Thanks to the fans, parents, faculty, students, administration, Lions Club, food service  and many others that helped make this a memorable season.” 

The Lions ended their season as Section 5 champions with a 7-4 record.  The Bearcats advanced and will play Leroy-Ostrander at U.S. Bank Stadium on Thursday in the semi-finals.  

The Lions will say goodbye to many great seniors that helped lead them to the state tournament, but, with a lot of talented returning players, could find themselves back next year looking to go deeper.  

On his seniors and the season, Coach Halvorson said, “We will be losing a great group of seniors but know they taught the younger players on the team how to play hard in the coming years. Thanks to the fans, parents, faculty, students, administration, Lions Club, food service  and many others that helped make this a memorable season.” 

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