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Cowboys Win League Title With Victory Over Fairview

Cowboys Win League Title With Victory Over Fairview
NickoloffKobe Nickoloff follows a block by Justice Bengochea during the win against Fairview. (Photo by Bill Vander Weele)
Cowboys Win League Title With Victory Over Fairview
NickoloffKobe Nickoloff follows a block by Justice Bengochea during the win against Fairview. (Photo by Bill Vander Weele)

The Culbertson Cowboys put on an excellent display of power football in the second half to defeat Fairview, 40-28, in a battle of the two top teams of the Eastern C in Culbertson on Friday, Oct. 7.

Fairview led by a 28-26 margin at the end of a high scoring first half and the Warriors then marched deep inside Culbertson territory to open the third quarter. A fumble recovered by Culbertson’s Mark Kirkaldie ended Fairview’s threat and gave the Cowboys possession on their own eight.

“We said at half-time that we needed a stop. That was the play of the game,” Culbertson Coach Brian Manning said of the fumble recovery. “It was a huge play for us.”

The Cowboys responded with a time-consuming, 20play scoring drive to put Culbertson ahead to stay on its way to the conference championship.

“We just needed to execute in the second half and do what we needed to do to keep them down,” Culbertson senior Kobe Nickoloff said.

The hard running of Nickoloff, fullback Justice Bengochea and quarterback Bridger Salvevold led the Cowboys inside Fairview territory. Culbertson then kept the drive going on a 13-yard pass completion from Salvevold to Reese Moon down to the Fairview 24.

The Cowboys faced a fourth-and-inches situation at the three and got the needed yardage on a sneak by Salvevold to the two. A play later, Nickoloff scored with 10:36 left in the contest. Nickoloff also ran in the two-point conversion for a 34-28 lead.

Manning credits the offensive line consisting of Colin Avance, Payton Perkins, Hugh Donaldson, Tucker Finnicum and Kirkaldie for doing an excellent job of opening up running lanes throughout the drive.

“I’m so proud of our boys,” Manning said. “It was a hardfought game.” On Fairview’s next possession, the Warriors attempted a fake punt when they faced a fourth-and-two at their 23. Bengochea stopped the ballcarrier a yard short of the needed yardage, and the Cowboys took over at the 24 with 8:33 left.

After runs by Nickoloff and Bengochea produced two first downs, Nickoloff scored on a three-yard dash for a 40--28 lead with 6:11 remaining.

A deep pass attempt was intercepted by Nickoloff to end Fairview’s next possession with only 5:52 left in the game.

Culbertson’s rushing attack in the game was highlighted with 184 yards by Salvevold, 138 yards by Nickoloff and 56 yards by Bengochea.

The Cowboys scored on the game’s first play from scrimmage when Salvevold raced around the left end for a 57-yard rushing touchdown. Nickoloff got in for the conversion for an 8-0 margin.

Fairview responded with a 65-yard scoring drive. Passes from Jeff Tjelde to Martin Manuel and Deacon Gackle led the Warriors into Culbertson territory. Hunter Sharbono, who finished the game with 152 rushing yards, then ran 23 yards for a touchdown with 8:07 left in the opening quarter.

After a blocked punt, the Warriors took the lead on a three-yard smash by Sharbono. The senior also scored the conversion to put the margin at 14-8 with 5:21 left in the period. The Cowboys answered with a 57-yard scoring drive behind the hard running of Nickoloff and Bengochea. Nickoloff raced 21 yards for a touchdown for a 14-14 deadlock with 11:13 remaining in the half.

Fairview went back ahead when Tjelde connected with Sharbono on a fourth-down, eight-yard pass with 7:33 left in the half. The Cowboys pulled even at 20-20 when Nickoloff scored on a sixyard dash with 3:11 left in the

quarter. A 13-yard run and a twopoint conversion run by Sharbono put the Warriors ahead 28-20 with 43 seconds remaining in the half.

The Cowboys ended the half on a high note when Salvevold took off for a 56yard touchdown scramble to cut the margin to 28-26.

Culbertson will end its regular season with a game against MonDak on Saturday, Oct. 15.

SalvevoldCulbertson Cowboys’ quarterback Bridger Salvevold battles for a first down on a sneakplay during the game against Fairview on Friday, Oct. 7. (Photo by Bill Vander Weele)

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