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After an explosive first half of scoring, Clearwater-Orchard and Perkins County put up more than 70 points in their Thursday afternoon battle in Clearwater. Unfortunately for OC, the Plainsmen won the gridiron war 44-28 in the first round of playoffs.
With the wind blowing 30 mph and temperatures in the mid-40s, the weather was miserable for the Class D1 playoff. But the Cyclones have faced tough conditions and kept fighting throughout the game.
Perkins County's Alex Patrick helped the Plainsmen to a quick 12-0 lead with back-to-back touchdowns, the first from 30 yards out and the other from 65.
The Cyclones fought back with a score from Creston Bertschinger to make it 12-8. But Perkins County was determined to keep the lead as junior fullback Domonic Wendell scored with 17 seconds remaining in the first to make it 18-8 as the Plainsmen made a habit out of falling short with their PAT attempts. Wendell popped into the end zone again to start the second, making the 24-8 deficit tough for the Cyclones.
But OC fought back just like coach Jeff Shabram said they could with another Berschinger score and a Jake Long touchdown. Running a toss sweep, Kester found Bertschinger on the left side. Then the senior cut back to the middle of the field and made the 55-yard run look easy.
The Cyclones were at a similar spot in the field Kester handed the ball off to Jacob Long who ran straight up the middle for the touchdown, making it a 30-22 game at the half.
Perkins County scored a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter and shut out the Cyclones to take a commanding lead 44-22 lead into the final stanza.
OC didn't waver, though, as Blake Hoke connected with Berschinger for a 25-yard score to make it 44-28. The Cyclones just couldn't keep the momentum going as Perkins County sealed the win.
The Cyclones end their season at 6-3.
Perkins County 18 12 14 0 - 44
Clearwater-Orchard 8 14 0 6 - 28