The emergency kicker came to the rescue.
Junior Josh Seibel booted a 33-yard field goal as time expired to lift Bismarck to a 32-30 victory over Mandan in Friday's AAA playoff semifinal at the Community Bowl.
Bismarck moves into the state championship game for the fifth straight season. Mandan was vying for its first trip to the finals since 1948.
Seibel's field goal, his first of the season, drew the curtains on a wild 25-point fourth quarter.
Mandan rallied from a 29-15 deficit as Devin Coyle threw touchdown passes of 12 and 26 yards to Aaron Janz in the final three minutes.
Janz's 26-yard catch with :50 to play tied the game at 29. Logan McDowall's conversion kick put the Braves up 30-29.
Bismarck milked those remaining 50 seconds for five plays, including completions of 14 yards to Kip Jangula, 15 yards to Devin Schirado and 6 yards to Dexter Werner.
Werner's catch put the ball at the Mandan 16-yard line with 8 seconds remaining. Ben Jolliffe's floater into the end zone on the next play was tipped by Schirado but fell to the ground with 4 seconds to play.
Bismarck head coach Mark Gibson sent Seibel onto the field for his first field goal attempt of the season.
Seibel delivered with a drive right down the middle.
"I knew I had to kick it pretty far and I tried to put a little more on it than normal," said Seibel, who has only kicked extra points. "It ended up working out, I guess."
Seibel said the field goal attempt was the first of his life. He started the season as a cornerback and didn't become a kicker until late in the season. "This is probably my third or fourth game," he said.
And, no, he isn't a loaner from soccer.
"I haven't played soccer for seven or eight years," he noted.
The lead bounced back and forth in the first half, which ended in a 15-15 standoff.
Bismarck scored on its first possession, marching 64 yards in eight plays. Ricky Purtle, a 140-pound sophomore tailback, closed the drive with a 6-yard run. Seibel's kick made it 7-0 with 4:59 expired.
Mandan answered immediately, going 73 yards in six plays, the last a 45-yard run by Seth Westby with 5:13 left in the first period. Westby ran in the conversion for an 8-7 lead
Jolliffe gave Bismarck a 15-8 lead late in the first quarter, scoring on a rollout from six yards out.
Mandan got the equalizer, by scoring the only touchdown of the second period, Coyle connecting with Jordan Zander for a 41-yard scoring strike. Logan McDowall's kick knotted things.
Bismarck tallied the only points in the third period. Jolliffe fired a 29-yard TD strike to Werner and Seibel kicked the extra point to make it 22-15 with the thrill-packed fourth around the bend.
Mandan came within a whisker of advancing to the state title game despite a heavy statistical shortfall. Bismarck outgained the Braves 428-293 and piked up 30 first downs to Mandan's 18.
Purtle ground out 229 yards and two touchdowns in 47 carries to lead the Demon attack. Jolliffe threw for 123 yards, hitting Werner three times for 61 yards and a score.
Westby ran 19 times for 111 yards and a score for Mandan. Coyle threw for 185 yards, teaming up with Janz seven times for 88 yards.
Purtle said he didn't realize how busy he had been.
"I really didn't feel it (physically). I'm on the top of the world right now," Purtle said. "I know I'm going to be sore tomorrow, though."
Seibel, in addition to his kicking duties, came up with the game's lone interception on defense. He said Friday was an unforgettable evening.
"I was kind of shaking (before the winning kick) but I knew if I made it it would be the best thing that ever happened to me," he said.
Although the loss was hard to swallow, Mandan head coach Pat O'Brien said he couldn't have asked for anything more from his team.
"We asked them to play hard on every play for the whole game and they did," O'Brien said. "Bismarck got the two-touchdown lead and we didn't fold. Our kids never quit and I'm proud of them."
"The kids are crushed. We all are," O'Brien added. "But Bismarck is a darned good football team. Last time we got them on the last play of the game. This time they got us on the last play of the game."
Mandan 8 7 0 15 - 30
Bismarck 15 0 7 10 - 32
B - Ricky Purtle 6 run (Josh Seibel kick), 7:01.
M - Seth Westby 45 run (Westby run), 5:13.
B - Ben Jolliffe 6 run (Dexter Werner pass from Jolliffe), 3:43.
M - Jordan Zander 41 pass from Devin Coyle (Logan McDowall kick), 5:39.
B - Werner 29 pass from Jolliffe (Seibel kick), 6:39.
B - Purtle 8 run (Seibel kick), 5:53.
M - Aaron Janz 12 pass from Coyle (Westby run), 2:57.
M - Janz 26 pass from Coyle (McDowall kick), :50.
B - Seibel 33 field goal, 0:00.
First downs 18 30
Rushes-yards 28-108 66-305
Yards passing 185 123
Comp-att-int 11-23-1 7-15-0
Fumbles-lost 2-0 1-1
Punts-avg. 3-38 2-30
Penalties-yards 8-100 12-135
Rushing: M - Seth Westby 19-111, Dwight Mack 1-1, Devin Coyle 8-minus 4. B - Ricky Purtle 47-229, Kip Jangula 11-90, Ben Jolliffe 8-minus 14.
Passing: M - Coyle 11-23-1, 185 yards. B - Jolliffe 7-15-0, 123.
Receiving: M - Aaron Janz 7-88, Jordan Zander 3-80, Westby 1-17. B - Dexter Werner 3-61, Josh Seibel 1-26, Devin Schirado 2-22, Jangula 1-14.
Interceptions: B - Seibel.
Records: Mandan 9-2, Bismarck 10-1.