Last week, Hi-Liner Football fell to Hillsboro/Central Valley, who became the Class AA Football East Region champions. Valley City shook off the tough loss and prepped to face Hazen High School in the first round of the playoffs, the quarterfinals of the NDHSAA Class AA State Tournament.
The game showcased the outstanding defense that Valley City has boasted all season. Supported by the aggressive linemen, the Hi-Liners were able to score in the first quarter on a 19-yard pass from Tate Sufficool to Avery Bennefeld. With a good kick from Austyn Thornton, the Hi-Liners kept the score 7-0 for the rest of the first half.
Hazen started the second half with an early score on a 10-yard run, tying the score 7-7, but after a pass interception by Bennefeld, Mitchel Taylor was able to carry the ball into the end zone (kick no good). Valley City took the lead 13-7.
The Bison weren’t finished with the Hi-Liners, though. They scored on a 5-yard run and with the extra point, snuck into the lead, 14-13.
On one of their next drives, Valley City opted to try for a 35-yard field goal. Austyn Thornton kicked the ball through the uprights for the Hi-Liners to retake the lead, 19-14. Hazen was unable to score on their offensive drive, and Max Fehr sealed the win when he took the ball into the endzone on a short run. The final score was 22-14 Hi-Liners, taking blue and white to the state semifinals for the first time in 7 years.
On Saturday, the Hi-Liners will travel to Beulah to face the No. 1 team in the West Region.
Look for the full story, and fan bus information, in your Tuesday, November 5th Times-Record.