Nov. 2—WISHEK, N.D. — The playoffs were still determining the fate of many teams as the 9-man quarterfinals featured some closely contested and hard-fought battles, with none being as close as the match between South Border and Hettinger County.
The Mustang's entered the contest as the undefeated Region 4 winners, and overall No. 3 team in the state. Having home advantage would benefit South Border to a wide-margin win, but the Huskies would kept hot on the Mustangs' heels and both teams ended with 328 total yards.
Hettinger County made a mad dash in the fourth quarter for a go-ahead touchdown, but after the dust had settled and the final whistle blew, the scoreboard illuminated a 28-24 result favoring South Border.
With strong leadership, a freight train of a run game and an unbelievably determined spirit, the Huskies' downfall was being unable to convert any of their 2-point conversions.
The scoring got started early in the game and it was South Border who struck first with quarterback Berkley Frantz running the ball 33 yards into the endzone. Hettinger County responded swiftly, moving the ball all the way to the 2-yard line before junior Jaren Rafferty carried in the TD.
Senior contributions came from all-around, and in all three phases of the game.
Quarterback Tallen Binstock led the offense in yardage, by himself he had 254 all-purpose yards. He threw for 136 passing yards, going 8 of 11 and led in the rushing department with 118 yards and two touchdowns. Matthew Huether followed with 57 yards for 13 carries and another 55 yards on three receptions. Receiver Brock Ehlis had 38 yards.
The first half ended with Rhett Miller scoring a 1-yard touchdown, to make the score 16-12.
The Mustangs had their largest lead in the second half, scoring back-to-back touchdowns from Connor Kosiak and Frantz.
Staring at a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter, Hettinger County could have chosen to pack it in, but instead chose to face the fray. Binstock scored the last two touchdowns, first from 47 yards out and then from the 9-yard line. They attempted passes on both PAT's, but both were unsuccessful — leaving the Huskies five points shy of a rally.
Overall, Hettinger County was balanced in their offense, with 136 yards in the air and 192 rushing yards. Both teams had two turnovers and South Border had all their yardage produced on the ground.
The Mustangs move on to the semifinals against North Prairie on Saturday, Nov. 4.
Though the Huskies season has been put to bed, their incredible journey through the season has been one of triumphs, enjoyment and created wistful memories for players, parents and coaches. Their quarterfinal match was always going to be an uphill battle, but they showed that they are capable of carrying on in difficult situations and will fight all four quarters.