Bulldogs Lose Heartbreaker to Bearcats, 39-37
Playoff Run Ends in Branson
November 9, 2023
BRANSON, CO.--Peetz's Bulldog Football team fought their hearts out Saturday afternoon, but came up a little short, falling to the Branson/Kim Bearcats by a final score of 39-to-37. The loss eliminated the Bulldogs from the CHSIAA State Tournament, and ended their season with a 7-and-3 record, good enough for second place in the A-6 League 1 standings.
After four straight seasons of middling performance and no State Title aspirations, first year head coach Dylon Rinaldo quickly got the Bulldog team back in winning shape, and the Bulldogs started their season with five straight wins. Peetz's strength came from the outstanding play of sophomore Rhyder Bayne, and seniors Chance Segelke, Noah Naegele, Aiden Hill, Wyatt Talhelm and Nicoli Serkiz. Although the roster was peppered with outstanding athletes, the Bulldog's ability to play as a team and have critical contributions from all of its members was the key to their success. Unfortunately, they came up just a little bit short on Saturday, and will have to wait until next season to make another run at a State Title.
Saturday's game started well for the Bulldogs, as both teams were able to score two touchdowns in the first quarter, but the Bearcats were unsuccessful in their extra point attempts, while the Bulldogs were able to convert for a 15-to-12 advantage going into the second quarter. Again, both teams scored twice, but Branson/Kim put up 15 points on the board as opposed to Peetz's 14, giving the Bulldogs a 29-to-27 lead at the halftime break. The third quarter was critical in the game, as the Bearcats were able to put up a touchdown while shutting down the Peetz scoring. The Bulldogs were able to score a touchdown and convert for two points, while the Bearcats put up another six points on a touchdown. The two point differential from halftime was flipped, and the Bulldogs ended up two points short, losing the contest 39-to-37.
The Bulldogs went to the air often in this contest, with Segelke and Naegele combining for 12 completions on 18 passes for 265 total yards. The Bulldogs scored three touchdowns via the passing game. Naegele led the rushing attack with 15 carries for 68 yards, while freshman Conner Schumacher and senior Wyatt Talhelm each rushed for a touchdown. Chance Segelke was a force on defense, racking up 13 total tackles and caused, then recovered, a fumble.
Peetz ends a successful campaign in Rinaldo's first year as head coach, and will be challenged next year with the loss of a big group of seniors. However, all of the underclass players got significant playing time and experience, and should be ready to fit into new roles next season. Additionally, the Bulldogs will bring back Rhyder Bayne, a talented athlete that had been the catalyst for many of the Bulldog's wins during the season.