Ethan Stephens caught the winning touchdown pass in the final minutes after Powder Valley made a crucial stop on defense, and the Badgers won a wild shootout on the road in the first round of the 1A state playoffs Friday, edging Lowell, 68-62, to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2016.

“It was a great team win,” head coach Josh Cobb said. “We spread the ball around on offense (and) our defense stepped up huge late.”

Cobb said the Badgers recovered a fumble with about two minutes remaining in the game trailing by two points, then scored the winning touchdown on Stephens’ reception from Reece Dixon. 

The score capped a huge night individually for both Dixon and Stephens. Dixon passed for 271 yards, rushed for 61 and accounted for six touchdowns. Stephens had 120 yards receiving, 71 rushing and 68 passing and had a hand in five touchdowns. Dominick Grende (114 yards receiving, one touchdown) and Roper Bingham (88 yards receiving, two touchdowns) also had big nights through the air, while Clay Martin added 96 yards rushing. 

The Badgers totaled 630 yards of offense in a game that saw the teams battle back and forth all night. Powder Valley led 16-12 after one quarter, trailed 34-32 at halftime, and took a 60-56 lead into the final quarter.

“Lowell was a very good team with tremendous athletes. My hat’s off to them,” Cobb said.

The Badgers (7-3 overall) hit the road again in the quarterfinals when they travel to face Camas Valley Saturday afternoon. 

Huskies eliminated

The Elgin Huskies trailed by just two points early and still hung around at halftime, but St. Paul pulled away in the second half for a 58-6 win in the first round of the 1A state playoffs Friday in St. Paul.

Tristan Simpson connected with Cody Harvey for a touchdown midway through the first quarter that pulled Elgin within 8-6. St. Paul added two more scores to take a 24-6 lead into halftime, then took off in the second half.

Simpson passed for 250 yards for Elgin, but the team was held to just 29 yards rushing. Gage McKay had 111 yards receiving, and Harvey added 74.

The loss brings an end to the Huskies’ season with a final record of 5-4 overall.

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