For the first time in several years, the Rapid City Central Cobblers can claim victory over a Sioux Falls school, shocking No. 2 Roosevelt 19-18 Friday night at O'Harra Stadium.
After giving up the first 18 points of the game and trailing 18-6 at halftime, the Cobblers pitched a shutout in the second half, getting a pair of short touchdown runs by running back Jeremy Weidmann.
It was an emotional sideline for the Cobblers after the game.
"In our pregame speech, we talked about, 'Enough,'" Central coach Erik Iverson said. "Enough with getting beat by the Sioux Falls schools, and if it's going to happen, tonight is the night. It's a huge momentum builder, but we can't stop now. These guys are going to enjoy it, but we still have the rest of the season."
Things didn't look good early for Central, as Roosevelt, the state's No. 1 team until losing its first game of the season last week to O'Gorman, 36-0, scored on its first two possessions for a 15-0 lead. Jadan Bourne scored on a 4-yard touchdown run and quarterback Brady Dannenbring hit Cayden Jordan on an 18-yard TD pass.
Adam Kusler then gave the Rough Riders an 18-0 lead on a 24-yard field goal.
But Central, as it did in the one-point win over Aberdeen Central last week, chipped away, and before it knew it, was in the lead.
Central's Kohl Meisman hit Wyatt Jungclaus on a 25-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 18-6 just before halftime.
The Cobbler defense then took advantage of several Roosevelt mistakes, including three turnovers, to get back in the game in the second half.
The Central offense, meanwhile, controlled the game clock in the second half and scored on a pair of nice drives as Weidmann went in from 5 and 3 yards out, for the 19-18 lead. Taten Remmers had one point after touchdown kick.
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"I'm sure no one in the state thought we could do it," Iverson said. "We kept telling these guys all week that they had to just keep believing and good things will happen. All year long they've been grinding and sticking to it. Their attitude has been positive, so I'm real proud of the guys for sticking to it."
The Rough Riders, however, had a chance late to steal back the win after forcing a Central turnover near midfield. On fourth down, though, after passing up what would have been a 38-yard field goal attempt, Dannenbring's pass was off the mark, giving the Cobblers their second straight victory.
"They stuck to it, I'm very proud of the guys," Iverson said. "All season long we kept saying 'next play, next play,' so it's good to see some fruit of their labors. Hopefully this is just a springboard for things to come."
The takeaways were huge for Central, with Tyler Liebig getting one fumble recovering and Trevor Maxwell two takeaways — one fumble recovery and one pass interception.
"Our defensive coordinator (Jeremiah McKnight) did a heck of a job, he probably didn't sleep all week," Iverson said. "We came out a little flat and then they started to believe when they came off the field and said, 'they're no better than us, we can hang with these guys.' I felt the second quarter they started to believe in themselves a little more."
Roosevelt did have 380 yards unofficially in total offense, as Bourne had 61 yards rushing and Dannenbring was 16-of-30 passing for 250 yards.
Weidmann led the Cobblers with 86 yards on 27 carries and the two scores, while Meisman was 5-of-15 passing for 108 yards.
"It feels great," Weidmann said. "All of our coaches were saying that this is how we have to get respect in the state. The defense came up big tonight, the D-line played amazing. They made plays when it really mattered."
Central, 3-4, is at Sioux Falls Washington Friday, while Roosevelt, 5-2, hosts Pierre.