MAXWELL-Maxwell committed five turnovers on Friday and lost 18-12 to Stapleton-McPherson County at Brittenham Field.
Maxwell coach Ryan Jones said that everything went as well as he hoped, but his team just couldn't overcome the turnovers.
"We had way too many turnovers to beat a good team," said Jones. "We followed our game plan perfectly. We took (Austin) Starr out of it. If it weren't for the turnovers, maybe it goes the other way."
Maxwell (3-4) scored first on its second series with Brandon Groseth reaching the end zone on a 13-yard touchdown run.
But SMC (5-2) came right back when Trevor Hanna busted loose for a 50-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed and the score was tied at 6-6.
But early in the first quarter, Maxwell committed its first turnover and SMC recovered the fumble at the Wildcat 12 yard line.
Maxwell's defense held the Cyclones to a field goal attmept by Levi Peterson, which went wide right. But the Wildcats were called for roughing the kicker, giving SMC an automatic first down at the three.
On the following play, Logan Paben scored to put the Cyclones up 12-6 after the two-point conversion failed.
The score remained 12-6 at halftime and the Wildcats evened the game up early in the third quarter with a four-yard touchdown run by Brandon Fletcher, that followed a 51-yard run by Tanner Vedder.
On the two-point conversion, quarterback Drew Riggs' pass for Wyatt Strickland went incomplete and it was still tied.
But on the ensuing drive, SMC went to sophomore Luke Walz to get the Cyclones into scoring position.
Once SMC got first and goal, Maxwell's defense held on the next three plays, forcing the Cyclones to a fourth down situation at the 10.
On the play, quarterback Austin Starr found Ross Johnson for a touchdown to give SMC the lead at 18-12 with 1:25 left in the third quarter.
"They beat us at our own game," Jones said. "They lined it up and played power football, getting three, four yards per carry."
From there, the Cyclones held and picked up the win that clinched a spot in the state playoffs.
Even with a loss to undefeated Hemingford next week, Maxwell can still get in. But a lot will depend on Brady in their final game against Hitchcock County, said Jones.
SMC 6 6 6 0 - 18
Maxwell 6 0 6 0 - 12
M-Brandon Groseth 13 run (conversion failed), 3:45
SMC-Trevor Hanna 50 run (conversion failed), 3:33
SMC-Logan Paben 3 run (conversion failed), 10:09
M-Brandon Fletcher 4 run (conversion failed), 8:21
SMC-Ross Johnson 10 pass from Austin Starr (conversion failed), 1:25