Red Dogs: It's not over till we say it's over

03/21/03 A loyal Red Dog fan

Well I guess I got it all wrong.   After last weeks strong showing by the Rapid City Red Dogs, I predicted that they would blow the Sioux Falls Storm out of town by a score of 84-56.  I figured that the Dogs could manage 3 TD’s a quarter, and that a team that had beaten the Red Dogs twice last season could manage four per half.  But that's one reason we fans go out to the game, to see if we’re right or wrong.

Sioux Falls jumped out to a late first quarter lead of 7-0, and added another score in the beginning of the second to make it 14-0.  The Red Dogs came back before the half, yet they couldn’t manage the lead.  When the half-time festivities began the score was in favor of the Storm 17-6.

As the second half began, the fans really showed that they had come out to support their team.  The 9th man was defiantly in the building as the Dogs rallied to stay alive.  The third quarter was in the Red Dogs favor, albeit very slimly.  However, if you were at the game last week vs. Wyoming you know that fourth quarters are where it is at.  Rapid City tied the game at 23-23, but rookie kicker Dustin Bakowski missed the extra point that would have given the Red Dogs the lead.  It was absolutely heart stopping.  Sioux Falls came back via former Rapid City kicker Adam Hicks to again take the lead at 26-23.

But the game was not yet over.  Actually, it was far from it.  With 1:29 left on the clock the Red Dogs showed why they are undefeated.  Rapid City scored a touchdown on a beautiful call from Head Coach Dan “Magic” Maciejczak.  Bakowski shook the cobwebs and finally made a clutch PAT to give the Dogs the solid lead of 30-26.  In fact, it was the Red Dogs first lead of the game, and the only one they would eventually need.

The game was still not over however, as the Storms’ ensuing drive started out with a long bomb that would have been a touchdown, had it not been for the obvious offensive pass interference that did get called for a change.  That penalty backed the Storm up 9 yards.  On 3rd and 20 the ball was intercepted by the defense, and another penalty was called on Sioux Falls for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Last week I remember the crowd chanting in unison “one more time” as the Red Dogs knelt the ball and ran the clock out to finish with a 21 point advantage.  This week, with 16 seconds and only a four point lead, not one of the 2,825 fans objected as Terrance Bryant took that final snap and put a knee on the turf to take the big “W” on the home field.  As heart wrenching as it was to watch for the first 58 minutes and 31 seconds, our team prevailed and we were treated to another awesome night of NIFL action.

Next Saturday will be Rapid City’s first road game of the season vs. the Sioux City Bandits.  The Bandits are winless following a loss to the La Crosse Night Train back in week 1.  They are “rested” after having only played one game and having their first bye week already.  Rapid City will be looking to avenge an overtime loss last season, which also took place in Iowa.  Adam Hicks played for the Bandits last season, and he was personally responsible for the overtime when he missed two kicks that could have won it for his team in the fourth, but he came through for his team with the winning kick in OT.

I wasn’t completely wrong however, remember I did predict that the Red Dogs would win.  This weeks prediction is going to be a little different:  I’m not guessing the final score, I’m just saying that the Red Dogs will be 3-0 when they come home to face the Lincoln Capitols on April 4th.

A final thought:  Thank you to Terrance Bryant, Brian Mills, Adrien Perez, Greg Van Leer, the defense, and all the Red Dogs for entertaining us fans.

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