The Buffalo Ridge Wildcats scored 29 unanswered points in the second half Saturday to knock off The Panic 29-12 in a Southern Plains Football League semifinal in Lake Benton.
The Panic, out of Nicollet, held a 6-0 lead at halftime, but the Wildcats were a different team after the intermission.
John Niessen started the scoring barrage on a 12-yard rush with just over four minutes to play in the third quarter. Dana Moore's PAT gave the Wildcats their first lead of the game. Buffalo Ridge trailed throughout a 22-14 loss to the Panic on May 11.
Just three plays later, linebacker Jeff Thorson scored what would wind up being the deciding touchdown when he returned an interception 15 yards for a score to put the Wildcats up 13-6.
Buffalo Ridge continued to add on to their lead in the fourth quarter when Jared Freidel hauled in a 28-yard pass from Joey Nelson for a score. Wildcats defensive lineman Curtis Lustfield produced the next points for Buffalo Ridge, when he sacked the Panic quarterback in the end zone for a safety.
Freidel scored his second touchdown of the quarter on a 12-yard tote, while Moore's third extra point of the game brought the score to 29-6.
The Panic scored a late touchdown to cut into the Wildcats' margin of victory, but could not prevent Buffalo Ridge from advancing onto the SPFL championship.
For the third time in the last four seasons, the Wildcats will take on the South Central Hawgs, from Truman, in the SPFL championship game. The 2013 edition will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Truman, as the Wildcats look to make it two in a row against the Hawgs. Buffalo Ridge stole a 15-13 win from the Hawgs in Lake Benton on June 15.
Panic0 6 0 6-12
Wildcats0 0 13 16-29
W-John Niessen 12 run (Dana Moore kick good)
W-Jeff Thorson 15 INT return (kick failed)
W-Jared Freidel 28 pass from Joey Nelson (Moore kick good)
W-SAFETY by Curtis Lustfield
W-Freidel 12 run (Moore kick good)
BUFFALO RIDGE INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
Rushing: John Niessen 19-75, Jared Freidel 3-26
Passing (comp-att-yards-int): Joey Nelson 7-15-111-2;
Receiving: John Niessen 3-44, Freidel 2-33
Tackles: Toby Ball 10, Matt Carmody 9, Jeff Thorson 8, T.J. Newgard 7
Sacks: Curtis Lustfield, Justin Olson 2
INT: Carmody, Thorson 2, Newgard, Joe Stein