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Trailing by 12 points entering the fourth quarter and playing without starting quarterback Callin Fenno, Manhattan put together a furious rally.

The Tigers tied the score after Mason Venema scored on a 14-yard pass from Austin Devers. But the point-after kick, which would have given the team a one-point lead, was blocked and then Sweet Grass County scored a touchdown in overtime for a 25-19 District 5B victory.

“We had a chance to win the game in regulation with just a minute left, but our PAT got blocked,” Manhattan head coach Chris Grabowska said. “So we could have been up 20-19 and our PAT got blocked.”

It was the second failed attempt as the Herders also blocked a PAT earlier in the fourth quarter after Manhattan had made it a one-score game on a 4-yard touchdown run by Devers.

In overtime, the Tigers gained a couple of yards on first down. But a penalty pushed the team back on second down and the possession stalled from there.

“We had to take a couple of shots and just didn’t convert on (them). And yeah, turned it over,” Grabowska said. “Our defense held them to fourth down. It was a passing play and the quarterback (Connor Giesecke) made a good play. Their quarterback scrambled in for a touchdown.”

Manhattan (1-3, 0-1 District 5B) was dealt a blow when Fenno was injured in the first half and left the game. Logan Vasarella got the team on the scoreboard on a 30-yard second quarter run, but Sweet Grass County (3-2, 1-0) took a 12-7 lead into halftime on a pair of TD receptions by Kuirt Gullings.

While it was a tough loss in the conference opener, Grabowska noted the team needs to quickly turn the page with Broadwater County, which defeated Three Forks 35-0 on Friday, coming to town next week.

“You know, we’re a few plays away from being 3-1 instead of 1-3,” he said. “Just move on, learn from mistakes, and work on next week’s conference game.”

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Colton Pool can be reached at or 406-582-2690. Follow him on Twitter @CPoolReporter.

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