The Wyndmere-Lidgerwood Warbirds defeated the Finely-Sharon/Hope Page Spartans 26-18 in the first round of the 2021 NDHSAA 9B Football State Playoffs Saturday, Oct. 16.
The Warbirds were the first to get on the scoreboard. The Warbirds scored in the first three minutes of the first quarter with a 37-yard run touchdown by Levi Kackman and a successful two-point conversion by Tyler Brandt, going up 8-0.
The Spartans retaliated in just short of two minutes. Following a failed two-point conversion the Warbirds still led the Spartans 8-6.
The teams battled it out with the remaining minutes of the first quarter, neither team finding the endzone, ending the first quarter with a narrow Warbirds’ lead 8-6.
In the second quarter, the Warbirds’ Tate Jerdee scored the quarter’s only touchdown, fighting his way through Spartan defenders to find the endzone.
The touchdown was followed by an unsuccessful two-point conversion which brought the Warbirds up 14-6.
With less than three minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Spartans powered the ball from their own 32-yard line to the Warbirds 5-yard line.
With 18 seconds left in the quarter, and the Spartans in striking distance, the Spartans fumbled the ball.
Wyndmere-Lidgerwood’s Carl Quam recovered the fumble, dashing any Spartan hopes of a tie game by halftime.
With a quick knee by the Warbirds, the quarter was over and the Warbirds led the Spartans 14-6.
The Warbirds started with the ball in the third quarter, but the Spartans defense forced the Warbirds to kick from their 12-yard line.
During their first possession in the third quarter, the Spartans got to the endzone with a 20-yard run. A successful two-point conversion meant the Wabirds held a narrow 14-12 lead over the Spartans.
The teams went back and forth for the remainder of the quarter with no additional touchdowns. The Warbirds finished out the quarter still leading the Spartans, but with a much more narrow margin.
After halting the Spartans in the start of the fourth quarter, the Warbirds’ Tyler Brandt scored a touchdown with a 44-yard run during the Warbirds’ first full possession of the fourth quarter.
The Warbirds’ two-point conversion was unsuccessful, but the Warbirds once again widened their lead 20-12 with 5:05 remaining in the game.
In their next possession the Spartans scored another touchdown, followed by an unsuccessful two-point conversion, closing the gap between the teams 20-18 with just 3:24 left in the game.
With 3:24 left in the game, the Warbirds’ Brandt put the pedal to the metal and ran a total of 56 yards in just two plays and scored again for the Warbirds.
The Warbirds led the Spartans 26-18 with 2:42 left in the game and one final chance to tie the game.
Multiple tackles for losses and a sack ensured that overtime wouldn’t be a factor. The Warbirds defense shutdown the Spartans and clinched the win 26-18.
Brandt led the Warbirds in passing with nine attempts and three completions for a total of 73 yards.
Brandt also led in rushing with 15 attempts for 105 yards and two touchdowns, followed by Levi Kackman with five attempts for 43 yards and Tate Jerdee with 10 attempts for 27 yards.
Carl Quam led in receiving with two receptions for 39 yards, followed by Mathias Kackman with one reception for 34 yards.
Kackman led in defense with nine tackles and one interception.
The Warbirds play Cavalier High School in the second round of the NDHSAA 9B Football State Playoffs Saturday, Oct. 23, at Cavalier High School.