CARROLL -- Conner Delfs kicked a 34-yard field goal at the end of the fourth quarter Friday to lift Le Mars Community to a 10-7 road victory at Carroll.
The Bulldogs (7-2, 5-1) used the passing game to gain the upper hand early on.
Quarterback Levi Te Brink threw a 67-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Rahn midway through the first quarter for the opening score. Delfs kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead that would stand for nearly the entire game.
Both teams' defenses played well for much of the game. Le Mars head coach Gabe Tardive said Carroll (3-6, 3-3) caused some problems in the first half by running the option.
"They had a big line up front," Tardive said. "We kind of bent, but didn't break. They really tried throwing the ball on us, but they did not have a lot of success with it.
"Up front, they were big and they moved very well for their size."
Le Mars was unable to build on the lead with several missed opportunities in the first half. Delfs missed one field goal in the first half and had another attempt blocked after a 61-yard punt return by Rahn gave Le Mars possession on the Carroll 13-yard line.
"We did okay with our passing game," Tardive said. "We struggled with our running game. We had a couple of deep balls that we just missed."
Kendall Candor was the Bulldogs' leading runner once again Friday night with 48 yards on 13 rushing attempts. Le Mars was held to 81 yards on 36 carries against Carroll.
The teams jockeyed back and forth in the second half as they fought for the upper hand in field position.
Several statistics reflected the closely-contested nature of Friday's game. Both teams made 11 first downs, committed seven penalties, lost one interception, went 6-for-15 on third down, did not convert a fourth down attempt and ran 57 plays. Carroll only out-gained Le Mars 248-239 in total offense.
Le Mars withstood a goal line challenge by Carroll with five minutes remaining in the game. An interception by Travis Kinney kept the Bulldogs ahead 7-0.
The Tigers finally drew level with the Bulldogs late in the fourth quarter on a 25-yard touchdown run by Anthony Beyerink. The game was tied at 7-7 following a PAT by Keith Wiederien.
"We didn't hang our heads when they scored," Tardive said. "We still had a minute and a half left. We put ourselves in a position to take that chance and you've got to give him credit. Conner made a clutch kick."
Le Mars moved the ball to the Carroll 17-yard line. Tardive called on Delfs once again with five seconds left on the clock.
"I have a lot of confidence in Conner," Tardive said. "They tried to ice him using the timeouts at the end, but it is something that we have worked on. I felt confident when they called the timeout. It didn't really affect us. He went through and put it through the uprights."
The game ended after the ensuing kickoff.
Te Brink was 9-for-20 passing for 158 yards and a touchdown with one interception. Rahn caught five passes for 103 yards and a touchdown.
Andy Heffner made a team-high nine solo tackles and assisted on three more. Kinney finished with six solo tackles, six assisted tackles and the interception. Jeremy Singer made three solo stops and assisted on four more.
Le Mars will now host Lewis Central (7-2, 4-2), Tardive's former school, in the first round of the playoffs on Wednesday.
"They look good on film," Tardive said. "I know they've got some good athletes."
"Of course I had a lot of those kids when they were back in second or third grade," Tardive continued. "But I think we're excited about the opportunity to play at home, play a good team in a big game and just see where we are."