The Cowboys saw their season come crashing down around them in a tough, heart tugging defeat in a first round playoff game in Red Lodge on Saturday.
The homeboys suffered a 34-27 loss in a game that saw them rally back more than once to tie the score in regulation.
If you like an offense game, the first half was your kind of game, even though it was low scoring. The Rams took a 14-7 lead to the locker room at the intermission.
On the opening kickoff, Clark Judisch squib kicked the ball, but Red Lodge got good field position at the 40 yard line.
They made an early statement using a pass play for a first down at the Conrad 38. They went on to collect two more first downs and scored the points on a nine yard run in seven plays. The PAT was no good, but the Rams had the early 6-0 lead.
On the kickoff to the Cowboys, Blake Underdahl returned the ball to the 30 yard line. The Cowboys began their march downfield with Shane Larson running out of the quarterback position and ‘Skeeter’ zigzagging for good yardage.
The running game set up the passing game and Larson found Tristen Diedrich for the teams’ third consecutive first down at the 25 yard line.
Larson ran for another first down to the 12-yard line and it looked like the team was headed to the promised-land for at least a tie score.
However, a pass from Larson was picked off, ending the eight play, 60 yard drive. The Rams ran the ball out to the 30 and were moving the ball down field, but Logan Gouchenour, a senior linebacker stopped a Ram runner from getting a first down on a fourth down play.
Red Lodge would score a TD and make a two point PAT to go on top 14-0.
The teams would trade possessions with Conrad getting the ball back at the 41 yard with 19 seconds to the intermission.
Two nice runs and a face mask penalty put the Cowboys at the 20 yard line. With just ticks left on the clock, Larson stepped up in the pocket and rifled a bullet to Hunter Mycke, a freshman tight end for a TD. Diedrich booted the extra point and Conrad was back in the game, 7-14 at the intermission.
From here to the end, the contest got a little wild.
The Rams answered right back with a TD to lead 21-13. Then the Rams executed an onside kick, unexpected, recovered it and went on to score again, making the score 13-27.
Late in the quarter the Rams worked the ball downfield and were looking at a fourth and five situation. Defensive back Judisch slapped away a pass and Conrad was looking at the end zone only 88 yards away with time running out.
A penalty put the ball back to seven. A pass play to Daylon Jay was no good, but Larson came right back with the same play. This time the connection was there for 93 yards and the Cowboys, on two plays, were once again back in the game, 19-27.
With about eight minutes to play, the Rams handed Conrad a gift.
Punting on fourth down, the Rams center snapped the ball over the punters head and the ball was recovered by Conrad at the 15 yard line.
Conrad moved the ball to the 11 and from there, Larson, on a Qback keeper, scampered in for a TD and a pass to Mycke on the PAT tied the score at 27-27.
Conrad had one last chance to win the game when Larson intercepted a pass. The Cowboys moved the ball down field but with 20 seconds to go a Larson pass was picked off and it was time for OT.
The Rams got first possession, starting from the 10 yard line and came on to score in four plays. The PAT kick was good.
The Cowboys got their chance and what looked like a TD on fourth down, was placed at the one inch line.
Then a questionable call by the referee put the ball out on the 16 yard line. A Larson pass to Underdahl was slapped away, game over, season done.
Coach Morris commented, that, “It was a tough way to lose and end the season, but we’ll build on the experience for next year.”
He went on to add, “I’m proud of the determination these players have shown throughout the year and of course our four seniors who showed great leadership to our team while excelling on the football field and in the classroom.”