DICKINSON - After the starting lineups were announced, Killdeer immediately found itself in a predicament.
Senior quarterback Christian Kulish injured his ankle making a chest bump during the starting lineups, thrusting freshman Hayes LeMieux into the starting spotlight.
LeMieux, in his first varsity start, helped Killdeer defeat Velva 43-14 in the first round of the Class A football playoffs on Saturday at the Biesiot Activities Center.
"He (LeMieux) was really under control," Killdeer head coach Lou Dobitz said. "He was smooth and he didn't have to pressure anything. We did the small things well."
LeMieux didn't have to stand in the spotlight alone - he was accompanied by a senior-laden offensive line and sophomore wide receiver Trenton Rohr.
"We have a lot kids that stepped up big this week," said Rohr, who had five carries for 153 yards and two touchdowns. "We practiced hard all week for this and it all came together at the perfect time."
Varsity offensive snaps for LeMieux were limited during the regular season because he was the starting quarterback on junior varsity. He admitted there were a couple nerves at the start.
"I just wanted to keep calm, cool and collected," he said. "I had a little bit of jitters, but it all went away after the first couple plays."
Velva, the No. 3 seed in Region 3, had its own quarterback predicament.
Drew Effertz, the Aggies' starter, broke his collarbone during the team's 32-6 win against Garrison-Max last week. Velva named junior Chris Peterson as the starter and head coach Larry Sandy was impressed with his performance.
"I thought Chris did a really nice job for us," Sandy said. "He put the ball out there in pretty catchable positions most of the time."
The Cowboys, the No. 2 seed in Region 4, trailed after the first quarter and for a majority of the second quarter. But in a span of less than four minutes, Killdeer (7-3) scored three unanswered touchdowns to take a 24-6 halftime lead.
Velva (4-5) had some explosive plays in the first half that only turned into one touchdown. Peterson completed passes to Brad Dean and Kiel Werre for 64 and 46 yards, respectively. Taylor Barstad scored on a 1-yard TD run the play after Peterson's hookup with Dean.
"That first quarter we had some opportunities that we didn't turn into points," Sandy said. "In the playoffs, you have to turn those opportunities into points."
The Cowboys didn't slow down as the rain came and the second half started. Rohr knocked out two long touchdown runs in the third quarter, going for 53 and 75 yards.
Killdeer faces its biggest test of the season Saturday when it travels to No. 1-ranked Stanley-Powers Lake for a quarterfinal matchup.