BERTHOLD - Tied at 13, the Lewis & Clark-Our Redeemer's Christian School football team was a touchdown and a defensive stop away from playing a Class A Region 3 playoff game next week or heading home for a long offseason.
L&C-ORCS junior running back Mitchel White scored on a 7-yard run on the second play of overtime and the Bombers defense forced an incompletion on fourth-and-goal from the 7-yard line to earn the final region playoff spot in a 20-13 victory Friday over Des-Lacs Burlington.
White led the Bombers offense in the second half and finished with 210 yards on 28 carries - 134 yards came in the second half.
Lewis & Clark-Our Redeemer’s junior running back Mitchel White runs behind classmate Nick Stenvold (11) as he blocks Des Lacs-Burlington junior Justin Thomas during the Bombers’ overtime win Friday in Berthold.
"It feels amazing," White said. "It's all I've ever wished for. I have seniors on this team that I love and I was just doing it for them."
The Bombers (4-4 overall, 4-3 region) had to endure a tense final minute of regulation after having a punt blocked at their own 25-yard line. The Lakers drove the ball down to the 7-yard line before taking a timeout with five seconds remaining in regulation.
"I was just praying," L&C-ORCS coach George Duenas said. "I didn't want it to end like that."
Luckily for Duenas, his team's season did not end at the moment as sophomore Brett Schaefer missed a field-goal attempt. He got another opportunity following a roughing-the-kicker penalty, but a botched snap led to overtime.
The victory didn't come easy as the Bombers stumbled out of the gate when sophomore quarterback Austin Lee's first pass was tipped at the line and picked off by DL-B junior defensive lineman Cole Hanenberg at the 14-yard line.
The Lakers (4-4, 3-4) took advantage of the short field and pounded the ball into the end zone on a 2-yard run by senior running back Dalton Njos less than two minutes into the first quarter.
L&C-ORCS answered back with a five-minute scoring drive finished off with a 4-yard touchdown run by Njos to tie the game at seven.
Lee and Njos torched the Laker defense in the first half. Lee completed five passes to Njos for 144 yards. Njos had all but four of the L&C-ORCS receiving yards in the first half. He was held without a catch in the second half.
"He's a huge target and he's fast and strong," Lee said. "He's a great back. I look for him a lot and it just happened that he was in the right spots."
Lee finished 7-of-17 passing for 157 yards.
Njos set up the Bombers' second touchdown with a 47-yard catch-and-run down to the 1-yard line. Lee scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak the next play to give L&C-ORCS a 13-7 lead.
"It feels great," Njos said. "It's the greatest feeling in the world. It could have been my last game, so I just went all out."
Despite heavily outgaining the Lakers in the first half, the Bombers had nothing to show for it in terms of a lead as DL-B junior quarterback Josh Haugrose found junior tight end Tanner Holte on a 9-yard fade in the corner of the end zone to tie the game at 13.
Duenas said he would allow himself to celebrate the victory until Sunday night when the Bombers prepare for the first round of the playoffs.