Thompson knocks off New Rockford-Sheyenne 32-28; advances to the NDHSAA 9-man playoff quarterfinals.

THOMPSON — In a game where two teams are evenly matched, often times it comes down to a play. For Thompson, it came down to two.

The Tommies turned two New Rockford-Sheyenne turnovers into scores, the final one putting them up for good as Thompson defeated the Rockets 32-28 Saturday in the North Dakota High School Athletic Association 9-man football playoff quarterfinals. For the Tommies, they survived to host Oakes which defeated Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter 42-34 on Saturday, next week for a chance to play in the Dakota Bowl.

For the Rockets their season end at 9-1.

“It was a battle, it was a heck of a battle,” said Rockets head coach Elliott Belquist. “It was a fun one to coach. That is a heck of a team over there. Both teams grind it out.

“It came down to a few mistakes.”

After going up 22-20 behind a 66 yard touchdown pass from Teddy Allmaras to Bo Belquist, the Rockets forced Thompson to punt giving the Rockets 49 yards to potentially go up two scores. However, Thompson intercepted Allmaras on the first play from scrimmage and then used a three play, 40 yard drive scoring on a 4th-and-4 on a 9 yard run by Nicholas Reck. The two-point conversion failed but Thompson had regained the lead at 26-22.

On the Rockets’ next possession, Thompson recovered an Allmaras fumble. The Tommies converted that turnover into an 11 yard touchdown pass from Cadyn Schwabe to Chance Danner that put Thompson up 10 with 10:52 remaining in the game proving to be the cushion needed to advance.

“It played out like we thought it was going to play out,” said Thompson head coach Brady Schwab. “It was two athletic teams that were out here and I think the weather did factor in a little bit.”

The game was played through a steady rain that got heavier as the game waned on.

“I think it was what we thought it was going to be.”

Thompson (10-0) scored on the game’s opening possession when Schwabe found Hayden Overby for a 31 yard touchdown completion. The Rockets would respond two possessions later when Hunter Thompson burst through the defense for a 57 yard touchdown scamper. NR-S converted the two-point attempt to take the 8-6 lead.

On the Tommies’ ensuing possession, Schwabe snaked his way through the defense to score from 7 yards out. He then connected with Overby for the two-point conversion to regain the lead at 14-8 only to see the Rockets tie the score at 14-all when the Allmaras to Belquist connection occurred for the first time in the game from 16 yards out.

The teams would exchange scores throughout the game.

“I’m very proud of these kids. Proud of the entire season. It was a fun ride,” Elliott Belquist said.

Chris Harris can be reached at charris@devilslakejournal.com and on Twitter: @ChrisHarris_DLJ