This extra-point proved to be extra-special Friday night at Swisher Field.
Aberdeen Roncalli and Deuel had exchanged touchdowns and hard-hitting knocks throughout regulation and overtime before Jackson Isakson ended all of the drama. The junior kicked the game-winning extra point to give the Cavaliers a 19-18 Northeast Conference football victory on Senior Night.
Isakson, who had missed to PATs earlier in the contest, was confident about his final attempt.
“I just totally forgot about the first two misses,” Isakson said. “I’m thinking I’ve done this thousands of times, so this one has to be in.”
The contest was a back-and-forth affair that featured plenty of running between the tackles and a lot of smash-mouth football.
“They had some big kids and they ran hard,” said Roncalli junior Phillip Zens, who finished with five tackles.
The Cavaliers were able to meet that physical challenge, especially on PAT attempts, including the one in overtime where they smothered the ball carrier before the play even got started.
“We’ve been preaching all week to be tough,” Zens said. “Last week we took a tough loss, so (we had to) respond. That’s what we did this week and that’s why we pulled it off.”
Roncalli coach Billy Young figured the Cardinals would try to attack his squad on the ground, similar to what Groton did a week ago.
“Both sides were really popping pads out there. They’re a good physical football team,” Young said of Deuel. “We knew they probably watched film on us and they were going to line up and try to do what Groton did last week, and just try to run it down our throat. We really stepped up there at the end when it counted. That’s all that matters.”
While Deuel was able to rack up 238 yards rushing in the contest, the Cavaliers were able to rise to the challenge on those pivotal PAT plays.
“I don’t think anyone had the momentum,” Zens said of heading into overtime. “We just wanted to go out there and get a stop. We did that on the two-point conversion and we pulled it off.”
Meanwhile, Roncalli found a potent weapon on the ground of its own down the stretch. Maddox May rushed for 78 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime, including two touchdowns. His first TD was a 54-yard run where he broke through multiple tackles. He second touchdown tied the game in overtime before Isakson’s kick.
May missed some time earlier this season because of an injury.
“We’ve always known Maddox is a great ball carrier. We’ve been trying to protect his legs a little bit. That was the largest part for him, not touching the ball as much as he has lately,” Young said. “He came to me at the start of the fourth quarter and said give me the ball. So we gave him the ball and he had that long touchdown run. Hopefully, he’s back and good to go now.”
Trey Maaland rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown and also threw for a score to pace Deuel.
In the end, it all came down to the leg of Isakson.
When asked about where his game-winning kick ranked among his other athletic accomplishments, Isakson responded, “It was a great feeling. In basketball making it to the state championship (with Aberdeen Christian) was a great feeling, but this, Friday night lights, this is amazing. Senior night too, Carson Helms, he went out in the first game of the season, so we really played this game for him.”
The Cavaliers improved to 5-1 on the season and avoided what could have been a two-game losing streak.
“This is a big one. Losing two in a row is always tough,” Zens said. “This can also help us in our playoff run, getting that home field advantage. It’s a big win.”
Roncalli takes on Clark-Willow Lake before closing out the regular season against Mobridge-Pollock. Both are road contests.
“Hopefully, this puts the wind at our back going into these last two games,” Young said. “They’re not going to be easy, either. Both of those teams are run heavy teams.”
Before then, the Cavaliers will have a chance to celebrate their dramatic win.
“I was proud of our guys,” Young said. “We made plays when we needed to.”
Deuel 6 0 0 6 6 – 18
Aberdeen Roncalli 0 6 0 6 7 – 19
D – Trey Maaland 9 run (kick failed), 3:47.
AR – Abe Kretchman 10 run (kick failed), 3:32.
AR – Maddox May 54 run (kick failed), 9:03.
D – Dominic Constant2 run (run failed), 5:09.
D – Zane Bingham 8 pass from Maaland (run failed).
AR – May 2 run (Jackson Isakson kick).
OFFENSE: Deuel rushing 51-238 (Maaland 23-109, Carver Nothem 18-103, Constant 7-13, Ty Lovre 2-9, Bingham 1-4), passing 5-10-0 for 69 (Maaland 5-10-0 for 69), receiving (Bingham 2-53, Lovre 1-11, Josh Mussi 1-3, Nothem 1-2), first downs 17; Aberdeen Roncalli rushing 29-189 (May 8-81, Kretchman 12-59, Isakson 6-45, Andrew Brennan 1-3, Ben Rohl 1-1), passing 2-14-0 for 26 (Isakson 2-14-0 for 26), receiving (Matthew Martinez 1-26), first downs 11.
DEFENSE: Deuel, Ronnie Begalka 10 tackles, Maaland 3 tackles; Aberdeen Roncalli, May 8 tackles, Anthony Brunmaier 6 tackles, Phillip Zens 6 tackles, Kretchman 5 tackles, Martinez 5 tackles.
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