MOUNDRIDGE — With the game on the line, Moundridge High School needed one yard on fourth down to keep the drive alive.
Unfortunately, the play was over before it began as a fumbled snap cost the Wildcats late in the fourth quarter. As a result, Moundridge fell to 1-1 on the season with a 28-22 loss to Bennington Friday night in Moundridge.
The Wildcats entered the fourth quarter down by 12, but a 20-yard Daniel Kaufman touchdown run on the first play of the quarter trimmed the deficit to six. Kaufman gave Moundridge its first lead of the night with just over eight minutes to go in the game on a seven-yard touchdown run.
Clinging to a two-point lead, the Moundridge defense could not stop Bennington from marching down the field and taking the lead back at 28-22 with 3:40 left in the game.
A promising Moundridge drive ended with 1:26 left in the game when the center and quarterback could not exchange a clean snap.
“We played a heck of a game,” Wildcats head coach Jeremiah Meeks said. “We played well, but we can’t turn the ball over like that.”
The game was extremely physical from start to finish. The first points of the game were not scored until 25 seconds left in the first half when Bennington quarterback Tyler Stanley rushed forward for four yards to break the scoreless tie.
The 6-0 Bennington lead was extended on the second-half opening kickoff as Javon Allen took the kick 75 yards for the touchdown.
Down 12-0, Moundridge put together its best drive of the night, as an 18-yard touchdown pass from Dillon Vogts to Brady Helms narrowed the margin to four.
Stanley rushed for his second touchdown of the night with three minutes left in the third quarter to give the Bulldogs a 20-8 lead.
The Wildcats did not quit, and made a solid Bennington team work hard for the victory.
“We had a few guys miss some assignments in the first half and we fixed that at halftime,” Meeks said.
Cody Hazelton was a bright spot for the Wildcats. The senior linebacker led the team with a career-high 15.5 tackles including 13 solo.
Meeks said it was by far his best performance in a Moundridge jersey.
“That’s an All-State linebacker you’re looking at if he plays that way every night,” Meeks said.
The Wildcats will hit the road next Friday to take on an undefeated Solomon.