Sidney knocks off Dillon, 17-14, in rematch

J.P. Plutt
Wednesday, November 3, 2021
Kee TD

Dillon sophomore quarterback Kee Christiansen rambled into the end zone with 6:44 left in the game to tie the first round Class A Playoff, 14-14. Dillon senior Conner Curnow (9) and sophomore running back Kale Konen, celebrate in the background. Robyn Ori English photo

The Dillon Beavers traveled almost 600 miles across the state to open the Class A Playoff against a team they had already beaten, 36-14. But it is a “what have you done lately,” life in the playoffs and Sidney had scrambled like crazy just to get into the post-season.

“I thought we dumped one there a little bit,” said Dillon long-time assistant coach Brett Carver, the father of Hamilton head coach Bryce Carver. “We were going into that one pretty confident that we would come out with a win, especially since we had already beaten them once earlier this year.”

Dillon opened the scoring with a first quarter touchdown, Sidney controlled the middle of the game with a touchdown in each the second and third quarters, before Dillon lost a wild fourth quarter scramble for the win and right to advance on to the quarterfinal round of the playoff.

In the opening minutes of the game, Sidney held Dillon to three downs and a punt. On first down of Sidney’s ensuing possession, the Eagles coughed up the ball and Dillon senior linebacker Conner Vezina made the recovery at Sidney’s 11-yard line.

One play later, Dillon sophomore quarterback Kee Christiansen fired a touchdown pass to senior receiver and team leader Jonathan Kirkley for the games first touchdown. John Bramlet, a senior lineman and Dillon’s placekicker, extended his incredible string of successful kicks with the extra point to give Dillon a 7-0 lead with less than one minute of game time elapsed off the clock.

Sidney senior Aden Graves, 5-8, 180, scored on an 11-yard run with 2:32 left in the first half to tie the game at intermission, 7-7.

The teams slogged through the third quarter before Parker Sinks, a 6-3, 170 senior, scored on a 19-yard run with 5:06 left in the third quarter to give Sidney a 14-7 lead.

The Beavers had struggled all afternoon stringing together successful offensive plays to move the ball down the field.

Dillon’s running game would total 62 yards on 13 carries for the game, and Christiansen completed 16 of 29 throws for 84 yards, a touchdown and an interception that ended the game.

“The wind picked up a little bit,” said Carver of the conditions. “There was a little crosswind that made it difficult. They had a good game plan that got us in a hole. And then we would get a first down and then get a holding call and we just couldn’t get ahead of the sticks.”

According to Carver, the wind had a detrimental effect on the passing game and a rough and tough Sidney defense made it difficult to make headway on the ground. A compromise of sorts, the screen game, didn’t get clicking.

“We had a couple of screens that I thought could have broke, they looked like they were wide open, but we had some uncharacteristic drops,” said Carver. “And normally, if we can get our running backs just a little crease, they can get going.

“But their team speed, especially quarterback/linebacker/ defensive back Zander Dean and running back/linebacker Aden Graves, they are basically 90% of what Sidney had on both sides of the ball. They are big enough on the front line, young but big, that they just occupied enough gaps that we couldn’t get someone into the crease to score.”

Faced with a 14-7 deficit in the fourth quarter, the Beavers moved the ball down to the red zone, and Christiansen scored a 15 yard touchdown and Bramlet tied the game with the extra point, 14-14, with 6:44 left in regulation.

“Luckily, the one time we went for the first down with a quarterback sneak in our jumbo package, they were so worried about our running backs that Kee got it through and darted around a couple of guys into the end zone to get it tied up.”

Sidney answered with 9 straight running plays and an incomplete pass before kicking the game winning field goal of 28 yards with 2:07 in the game.

Dillon responded with a drive to Sidney’s 34 before a pass to the end zone was picked off. One kneel and it was game over.