Elliott Byrd ‘22: On Friday, November 6 the second round of the MHSAA playoffs kicked off and the Romeo Bulldogs matched up with the Dakota Cougars. Earlier in the regular season, the Bulldogs faced the Cougars and lost in a close game 34-28.
Dakota won the coin toss and deferred to the second half, which meant that Romeo started on offense. On the very first play, a mishandled snap gave the Cougars the ball in the red zone.
Dakota capitalized on the early mistake by the Bulldogs and scored a rushing touchdown giving the Cougars a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.
A couple of drives later, Brady Goralski ‘22 broke off a 30 yard run on a jet sweep play setting up Romeo in the red zone. The Cougars defense held Romeo to fourth down which caused Romeo to send out Milan Krstevski ‘21 to nail a chip shot field goal.
With only minutes left in the second half, Dakota drove down the field to the 25-yard line. The Cougars tried to catch Romeo off guard with a pass play to their tight end. Joey Kostrubiec ‘22 read the play and picked the pass off. With the interception stopping Dakota from scoring any more points before halftime, the score remained 7-3.
Neither offense got anything going in the third quarter, with both defenses playing great the score stayed at 7-3 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter the score finally changed when Dakota’s executed the wildcat perfectly and broke off a 35-yard touchdown run making the score 14-3.
However, Romeo still maintained confidence; they answered the Cougars score with an 80-yard touchdown scoring drive. Luke Rolfs ‘22 caught a pass from his brother Logan ‘22 that went for 25 yards. Then, Goralski finished the drive off with another huge run off the jet sweep, this time scoring a touchdown. The Bulldogs went for two but failed making the score 14-9.
The Bulldogs tried for an onside kick to get the ball right back, but Dakota’s hand’s team recovered the kick with ease.
Romeo’s defense stepped to the challenge and forced a three and out giving the Bulldog’s offense a chance to drive down and win the game.
On the final drive of the game, Romeo’s offense executed two straight fourth down conversions. One on a handoff to Brian St.Clair ‘21, and the second on a throw to Nino Brasza ‘21. Then the brothers came up big for Romeo again, when Logan connected with Luke to put the Bulldogs inside the 5-yard line. The Cougars stuffed the Bulldogs three straight times leaving the game up to a fourth and goal from the one-yard line. Logan Rolfs handed the ball off to St.Clair who was initially stuffed and fumbled the ball, Luke Rolfs, saw the fumble and recovered it for the game winning touchdown with zero seconds remaining.
Lineman Cole Tinson ‘22 shared his thoughts on the last play of the game.
“I was in complete shock because I’d never seen a game end that way, It was crazy,” Tinson said.
Look for the Bulldogs to keep the playoff streak alive when they face the Stoney Creek Cougars on Friday, November 13th. Tinson also gave his thoughts on how the team looks ahead to next week’s matchup.
“We need to stay focused and work on the little things to make sure we win,” Tinson said.