ELWOOD – A big second half for Hi-Line propelled the Bulls past Southern Valley, 44-12 in the first round of the D1 state playoffs. The Bulls outscored the Eagles 30-0 in the second half and forced two turnovers.
The first half saw minimal scoring, three turnovers and each defense stiffening in their own redzone. Southern Valley scored first on a quick 73 yard touchdown pass from Carter Bose to Clayton Berry. Hi-line quickly answered on the ensuing drive on an eight yard pass from Conner Shutz to Cooper Ray tying the game. The Bulls would turn the ball over two times in the first half while the Eagles gave it away once. Each team would score on their final drive of the first half. Hi-line found the endzone on a 54 yard scamper by Shutz and the two point conversion was successful. Southern Valley followed that with a two yard rushing touchdown from Bose, but the two point conversion failed. Hi-line led 14-12 at the half.
Southern Valley started the second half with a turnover on a fake punt that resulted in an Shutz interception. Hi-line capitalized and scored on a 39 yard touchdown run by Ray. Another interception thrown by the Eagles would result in another Shutz Hi-line score. The Bulls would score two more times in the second half on a one yard Shutz touchdown and five yard Colton Stubbs rushing touchdown. The Hi-line defense shutout the Eagles while they scored 30 in the final two quarters.
Hi-line ran for 299 yards while passing for 37. Ray led the team with 123 yards rushing and one touchdown. Shutz ran for 108 yards and three touchdowns. He also accounted for the 37 yards passing. Both Ray and Shutz each turned the ball over one time.
Southern Valley managed 304 yards total with 195 coming through the air and 109 on the ground. Bose passed for 195 yards, a passing touchdown, one rushing and two interceptions. He also ran for 43 yards and one touchdown. Berry ran for 53 yards, but led the team in receiving with five catches with 129 yards and one touchdown. Brody Yant caught six passes for 62 yards and also came away with an interception.
Hi-Line will travel to Neligh-Oakdale on Friday Oct. 30 in the second round of the playoffs. Southern Valley ends the season with a 5-4 record.