When the rain stopped at Bearcat Stadium near the end of the first half, not to return for the rest of the game, both teams took the wraps off their offenses.
No one scored the rest of the way.
W.F. West made two first-half touchdowns stand up, both built off mistakes by Black Hills, and the defense kept the Wolves off the scoreboard as the unbeaten Bearcats (7-0) claimed a 13-0 Evergreen Conference 2A victory Friday night.
“I thought our defense was the real story of the night,” W.F. West coach Bob Wollan said.
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Black Hills had its best scoring chance of the game after senior Kyler Nygren intercepted Bearcats quarterback Nole Wollan’s first pass of the game. Nygren followed with runs of 7, 16 and 32 yards, the last to the Bearcats 1-yard line where he fumbled the ball out of bounds. A false start, bad snap and finally a fumble recovery by W.F. West’s Brayden Bennett, ended the threat.
“That goal-line stand was a huge momentum changer,” Wollan said.
Black Hills coach Kirk Stevens said turnovers were critical.
“Turnovers make the difference, and tonight that was definitely the case,” he said. “I’m so proud of our effort and how hard we played. We can fix the mistakes, but we can’t fix the effort. That was never in question.”
The strangeness started early. On a night where offense was hard to find, a play on special teams got the Bearcats going early on the game’s opening kickoff. The kick went untouched by the Wolves along the right sideline, so Bearcats junior Gabe O’Neill picked up the live ball at the Wolves 17-yard line before stepping out of bounds.
Three plays later, Colby Steen carried it in from five yards out for a W.F. West touchdown.
The Bearcats went 68 yards in eight plays to go up 13-0 just before halftime. Steen rambled 29 yards to the Wolves 3-yard line to set up Wollan’s 3-yard keeper for the touchdown.
The teams combined for 12 first-half penalties for 90 yards in the steady downpour, which cleared up near the end of the half.
In the fourth quarter, W.F. West took over on downs at its own 14-yard line with 8:37 to go after a long drive by the Wolves, and Black Hills never got another possession. The running of workhorse Austin Emery (24 carries, 119 yards) and Wollan (11 for 54) behind the Bearcats’ efficient offensive line took the ball inside the 5-yard line when time ran out.
“My favorite drive was the last one,” Wollan said, “when we didn’t give the ball back.”
Nygren carried 15 times for 103 yards for the Wolves (4-3).
WFW – Colby Steen 5 run (Cory Davis kick)
WFW – Nole Wollan 3 run (kick blocked)