Two words are echoing through the minds of Le Mars Community coaches, players and fans following Friday's 21-13 loss to Sergeant Bluff-Luton.
"For the most part, except for the second quarter, we played pretty well," Le Mars head coach Jim Boyd said.
The Bulldogs got on the board on the first drive of the game as Travis Kinney scored from 12 yards out and Conner Delfs added the extra point kick.
But then the 'Dogs allowed three Warriors touchdowns, including one as time expired in the first half, to trail 21-13 at the intermission.
"Three plays," Boyd said. "It boils down to that for the whole game."
The Warriors tied the game at 7-7 with Tyler Brodie's 56-yard interception return in the second quarter.
SB-L took a 14-7 lead as quarterback Kendal Hazel found Brodie on a 64-yard touchdown pass later in the quarter.
Le Mars scored what could have been the tying touchdown as Brennan Buss reeled in a 10-yard touchdown pass from Levi Te Brink, but the extra point kick was blocked and Le Mars trailed 14-13.
As both teams took the field for the final play of the first half, assistant coach Kevin Westhoff warned his defense.
"Westhoff said, 'Watch out for the trick. It's gonna come,'" Boyd said. "And sure enough, it came. We just watched them run by."
The Warriors used a 70 yard hook-and-ladder play to score as time expired in the first half to go ahead 21-13 at the intermission.
The second half was a defensive battle that neither offense could break.
"I was proud of the way our kids came out and shut them down the second half," Boyd said. "I was disappointed we couldn't move the ball better, but our defense did a good job."
The Bulldogs posted their best statistics of the year in the loss, including 313 yards of total offense.
In fact, Le Mars out-gained SB-L offensively and more than doubled the visiting team's first downs.
Kinney rushed for a season-high 107 yards and one touchdown to pace the 'Dogs on the ground.
Te Brink rushed for 50 yards while Jeremy Klingbeil added 41 yards and Brennan Buss rushed for 25.
Through the air, Te Brink was 6-for-19 for 78 yards and a touchdown, but three interceptions proved costly.
Kinney, Buss, Blake Wiltgen, Joey Husk, Ryan De Vos and Jake Schneider each hauled in one pass in the loss.
Defensively, Brody Mathey paced the team with six solo tackles and one assist.
Chris Hiserote had five solo stops, including one for loss, two assited tackles and one sack. Trey Rasmussen had four solo stops, including one for loss, a sack and an assisted tackle.
Kinney and Andy Heffner each made four solo tackles and one assist while Matt Strub had four solo stops, including one for loss.
The young Bulldogs fall to 1-6 on the year and 1-4 in district play. While Le Mars is likely out of playoff contention, the team is still able to shake up the district in the final two weeks of the regular season.
Boyd also believes that the Bulldogs have made significant strides this fall that will help them be tougher competitors a year from now.
"I think we have talent, it just needs time to develop," Boyd said. "Unfortunately, this is going to be the year where they make the most growth, have the hard knocks to generate their progress for next year. They're gonna take their lumps this year, but in the following years, they're gonna be pretty good."
Le Mars travels to play Bishop Heelan in Sioux City in Week 8 before taking on Denison-Schleswig on the road in the regular season finale.