SIDELL —At the beginning of the season when the Salt Fork Storm were setting their goals for the 2013 campaign, at the top of the list, as usually is the case for a Brian Plotner-coached team, was to first make the playoffs. That goal was followed closely by winning in the playoffs. If they could simply make it to the playoffs, everything else during the regular season would take care of itself.
The Storm did more than qualify for the playoffs this season; they fell only one game short of finishing the regular season undefeated for what would have been the third time in Plotner’s 12 seasons as head coach.
The three-point loss in Week 5 to the Bismarck-Henning Blue Devils was disappointing, especially realizing they could have picked up nine wins, which was another goal Salt Fork had set.
But not all was lost. All the Storm had to do was win their first playoff game and for the third season in a row, they would have reached the mark. But that didn’t happen, either.
With multiple opportunities, and the misfortune of turning the ball over a total of six times, Salt Fork fell in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs on Saturday 23-19 to the Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond Knights.
“We were hoping today more than anything that it would have been three years in a row with nine wins,” Plotner said. “That would have been a really nice accomplishment for these guys (seniors) to get nine wins in three consecutive years. That was the primary goal to advance and get to that mark. They still had a good season.
“We lost to two really good teams that I think we were evenly matched with. They’ve had a lot of success here at Salt Fork. It’s a frustrating way. It was everything a playoff game should be.”