BUFFALO - Overtime was the only way to resolve it.
The Brainerd Warriors and Buffalo Bison battled to a 14-14 standoff in regulation in the Section 8-5A semifinals Saturday on a glorious, but windy, autumn afternoon.
In the end, the Bison made one more play than Brainerd, a 7-yard touchdown run by Taylor Vick in overtime, as No. 2 Buffalo edged the third-seeded Warriors 20-14 on Saturday.
"We came back hard," Warriors coach Ron Stolski said. "We played very well. We forced the overtime. We had a chance to win in regulation. We did everything we could but win."
In overtime, the Warriors had the ball first (each team gets four downs to travel 10 yards and score).
Brainerd's Colby Ring was pursued by Buffalo's Michael Ortenblad (16) in Saturday's Section 8-5A semifinals. Ring rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns in the Warriors' 20-14 overtime defeat. Photo/John Erickson
On the first play Brainerd's Colby Ring, who rushed the ball 32 times for 154 yards and two touchdowns, gained seven yards. On the next play he lost two. On the third play he got back to the 3.
On fourth down the Warriors sent Zach Cadwell to try a 20-yard field goal, his first attempt of the season. He kicked it wide right and Buffalo took over.
"I don't question the play," Stolski said. "That's the play you've got to make because if you gamble that you can make it and you leave yourself empty then they can line up on first down, kick a field goal and you're done."
From the 10, Vick plowed ahead and fumbled, but the Bison recovered at the 7. On the next play Vick got behind a wall of blockers and appeared to be stopped before slicing into the end zone where hewas buried under a dogpile of teammates.
"I kind of got knocked off my feet," he said. "I came back up, and there really wasn't a hole there. Basically, I don't know. My feet just took me and I got in. I couldn't breath on the bottom of the pile."
Buffalo coach Gerard Rohl didn't consider attempting a field goal.
"A lot of coaches will say you're an idiot for running," Rohl said, "but we've had (a couple) blocked. In high school football it's not a sure thing, the snap, all the other stuff."
Buffalo 20, Warriors 14, OT
The key: Buffalo's Taylor Vick scored on the Bison's second play in overtime
Overall: Brainerd finishes 7-3, Buffalo improves to 8-2
The teams fought their way through regulation with both defenses at their optimum.
In the first half, Brainerd possessions stalled at the Buffalo 2 and 20. In the fourth quarter the Bison were stopped on fourth down at the Brainerd 32. Buffalo didn't advance past its 30 on its last two possessions.
Two plays after a scoreless first quarter Vick, who finished with 31 carries for 156 yards, ran 16 yards up the middle for a TD and a 7-0 halftime lead.
In the third quarter Brainerd got in the game, driving 73 yards in 15 plays for a score, converting four times on third down before Ring's 1-yard dive.
Buffalo quickly regained the lead, 14-7, on the subsequent series, covering 62 yards in 11 plays, capped by Josh Gaughan's 24-yard TD burst around end.
The Warriors countered on their next possession, tying the game on Ring's 3-yard run. Following a penalty, Cadwell kicked a 25-yard extra point.
"Colby carried us on his back offensively," Warriors quarterback Scott Ramey said. "What a running back, what a leader."
Brainerd 0 0 7 7 0 - 14
Buffalo 0 7 7 0 6 - 20
Buf-Taylor Vick 16 run (Cole Meyer kick) 11:34
Brd-Colby Ring 1 run (Zach Cadwell kick) 5:26
Buf-Josh Gaughan 24 run (Meyer kick) :14
Brd-Ring 3 run (Cadwell kick) 10:16
Buf-Vick 7 run
First downs: Brd 14, Buf 13
Rushes-yards: Brd 42-186, Buf 51-262
Pass comp-att-int-yds: Brd 10-21-1-87, Buf 2-6-0-42
Total offense: Brd 273, Buf 304
Punts-avg: Brd 4-39.0, Buf 5-22.6
Return yards: Brd 30, Buf 0
Fumbles-lost: Brd 0-0, Buf 1-0
Penalties-yds lost: Brd 4-35, Buf 6-55
Rushing: Brd, Ramey 9-29, Ring 32-154, Desmond Janousek 1-3; Buf, Austin Perkins 7-50, Gaughan 8-50, Vick 31-156
Passing: Brd, Ramey 10-21-87; Buf, Brooks Beilke 2-6-42
Receiving: Brd, Mike Gervenak 4-47, Kyle Crocker 3-26, Ben Gervais 1-12, Ring 2-2; Buf, Nick Vetrano 1-28, Vick 1-14
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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