In a rematch of the 2021 9B championship game, the #11 Potter County Battlers traveled to Dell Rapids to face the #6 Cardinals in the opening round of the playoffs on Thursday, October 19th. The Battlers scored 30 straight points on their way to a 38-22 victory over St Mary.
The Cardinals started the game with a touchdown on their opening drive. Nic Gaspar had a 13-yard touchdown run, and Flemmer scored the two point conversion. St Mary led 8-0 with 9:08 to go in the first quarter. The Battlers tied the game on their first drive of the game on a one-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion. The score was tied 8-8 at the end of the first quarter.
Potter County took the lead with 9:35 to go in the second quarter on a 43-yard touchdown run. A made two-point conversion put the Battlers ahead 16-8. They added to the lead on a 52-yard touchdown pass with 4:25 remaining in the half. The Battlers got one more score before halftime on a 40-yard touchdown pass with 1:50 to go. A two-point conversion gave the Battlers a 30-8 lead at halftime.
The Cardinals cut into the lead in the final minute of the third quarter. Trimmier Hanson connected with Lucas Flemmer on a 35-yard touchdown pass and also on the two-point conversion. With :54 left in the quarter, St Mary cut the lead to 30-16.
The Battlers delivered a big blow with 8:25 left in the game. Potter County scored on a two-yard run on fourth down and then made the two-point conversion to extend the lead to 38-16. Hanson and Flemmer connected again on a 39-yard touchdown pass with 6:44 remaining to make the score 38-22.
The Cardinals finished with 340 yards of offense, 199 rushing yards and 141 passing yards. Potter County had 302 yards of offense, 148 rushing yards and 154 passing yards.
Gaspar had 19 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown. Flemmer had six carries for 60 yards. Hanson had eight rushes for 31 yards. Hanson was also 6-14 passing for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Flemmer finished with four catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Gaspar also had two catches for 26 yards.
Keaton Hansen had a team-high 6.5 tackles. Flemmer had 5.5 tackles and an interception. Lincoln LeBrun also had 5.5 tackles. Gaspar had 4.5 tackles. Hanson finished with four tackles, and Logan Bauer had 3.5 tackles.
“The boys played hard against a good Potter County team. They didn’t give up and fought back in the second half. Very proud of the way they played tonight and throughout the whole season,” said head coach Ross Flemmer.
The Cardinals finished the 2023 season with a 5-4 overall record.