BRUNING — One of the sideline heaters on the Bruning-Davenport/Shickley sideline burnt out late in the fourth quarter Wednesday night.
It was symbolic of the flame of the 2019 football season flickering before being extinguished entirely for the Eagles, a storied program who lost just one of their previous 31 games entering the second round Wednesday evening.
No. 7 seed Cross County (6-4) stormed into Bruning on a bone-chilling night and dominated a powerhouse program that it itself is trying to become.
The second-seeded Eagles (9-1) struck first, but never again in a 20-6 Cougars’ victory.
Cross County, which hadn’t won a playoff game in 16 years before last Thursday, has now won two in a row. A date with Tri County, which hammered No. 3 Elmwood-Murdock 68-8, awaits next Tuesday.
The Cougars started the season 1-3, not seemingly destined for a playoff spot. Head coach Hayden DeLano said an attitude change has been the primary factor for the team that’s won five of its last six, including two playoff wins that have carried them into the Class D-1 quarterfinals.
“Energy, effort, and execution, and nothing different,” Delano said. “Our boys bought into it and they played extremely hard. We’ve got boys that are playing hard and that’s about it.”
BDS, which beat the Cougars by two scores on Oct. 18, was shell-shocked.
The Eagles scored on their second drive when Dominic Quinones connected with a wide open Isaac Else for a 23 yard score.
Cross County allowed virtually nothing else all night. The Cougars stopped the run almost entirely. BDS completed a handful more passes, but just one went for more than 10 yards.
Where BDS struggled most on offense was in the red zone. There were two key drives that resulted in no points that might have changed the game entirely had the Eagles cashed in.
BDS chewed up a ton of clock in the first half, especially in the second quarter. A six minute, 13-play drive ended with an incomplete pass on fourth down and 6 at the Cougar 10.
Already trailing, the Eagles’ deficit nearly grew larger on the ensuing drive had a holding call on the Cougars not taken a 40 yard rushing touchdown off the board just before halftime.
The second key possession for the Eagles opened the fourth quarter. BDS trailed 14-6 after a toss was housed 60 yards by Cross County’s Isaac Noyd late in the third.
The Eagles started the drive by converting on fourth down and 1 at the Cougar 24. A third down run later in the drive put the ball at the 7 yard line, but back-to-back negative plays and a pair of incomplete passes turned the ball over on downs.
This time, Cross County did answer with a score. No holding penalty. Carter Siem broke off a 43 yard touchdown run to essentially seal the game.
The Cougars out-gained BDS 330 yards to 96 on the ground. Cross County’s line was physical with the Eagles, and it paid dividends.
Siem rushed 21 times for 187 yards and two scores, including the Cougars’ first score — a 45 yard rush. Noyd ran for 126 yards on 17 carries and one score.
“(Cross County) has very mobile and athletic linemen,” BDS co-head coach Mark Rotter said. “They gave us some trouble with it the first time we played. Their line is very, very athletic, and very, very good.”
BDS’ leading rusher was Quinones, who carried 19 times for 54 yards. He also completed 7 of 14 passes for 71 yards. Dalton Kleinschmidt ran eight times for 38 yards.
“(Offense) was a real struggle,” Rotter said. “We got down in (the red zone) a couple times and didn’t come away with points. (Cross County) really ganged up at the line of scrimmage. The first time we played we knew how fast they were to cover our guys, so it was really tough sledding because they ganged up at the line but were able to cover our passes, too.”
In the grand scheme, it’s a second round playoff win for Cross County. But the bigger picture is the Cougars upset the epitome of dominant program Wednesday.
“Last week was our first playoff win in 16 years. And at the varsity level, I don’t know that we’ve ever beaten BDS. I’ve been here three years and we haven’t, so it’s huge,” DeLano said. “All the credit in the world to BDS, they’re tough kids and a powerhouse program, so it is absolutely huge for our kids and our community.”
The winning culture at BDS’ was illustrated by the passion out of senior Dylan Domeier, who led the team in one final chant while tears streaked down his face.
“These kids give us everything they have. The give us everything they’ve got all the time,” Rotter said. “That’s all we can ask.”
CC (6-4)........................0 8 6 6 — 20
BDS (9-1).......................6 0 0 0 — 6
B — Dominic Quinones 23 pass Isaac Else (pass failed)
C — Carter Siem 45 run (Landen Berck run)
C — Isaac Noyd 60 run (run failed)
C — Siem 43 run (run failed)
Rushes-Yards 32-330 35-96
Passing yards 0 78
Comp-Att-Int 0-2-1 8-15-0
Total offense 330 174
Rushing — C, Carter Siem 21-187, Isaac Noyd 17-126, Landen Berck 9-23, Cale Lundstrom 3-(minus) 6, Colton Nuttelman 3-0. BDS, Dominic Quinones 19-54, Aaron Mick 3-12, Dylan Domeier 4-(minus) 3, Dalton Kleinschmidt 8-38, Hunter Cox 1-(minus) 5.
Passing —C, Lundstrom 0-2-1 0. BDS, Quinones 7-14-1 71, Domeier 1-1-0 7.
Receiving — BDS, Mick 1-18, Else 3-34, Justin Stengel 1-5, Domeier 1-17, Kleinschmidt 1-(minus) 3.