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In 2000 Winona State and Missouri Western
hooked up in a triple overtime thriller.

The Mineral Water Bowl has had more than its share of close games and exciting finishes but it had never before taken overtime to decide one. In 2000 it took three overtime periods for Winona State to defeat Missouri Western 43 - 41 in one of the bowl's greatest games.

Jeff Dobbertin caught an 11 yard touchdown pass from Andy Nett in the third overtime and then hooked up again for the two point conversion. Western answered with an 8 yard run by Matt Smith but Smith couldn't come up with the conversion pass from Kasey Waterman to tie the game.

Regulation ended 21 - 21 after Missouri Western jumped out to an early 14 point lead. Ryan Reed's 1 yard touchdown run less than two minutes into the game followed an interception by Griffons safety Chad Smith on the third play of the game. Then in the second quarter Waterman hit receiver Jerris Evans with a 26 yard strike. Nett and Dobbertin connected for a 34 yard touchdown late in the second quarter to make it 14-7 at the half.

Freshman free safety Nick Jaeger's 35-yard interception return for a touchdown in the opening seconds of the second half pulled the Warriors even and gave Winona State the momentum. When running back Ryan Walch hit Dobbertin with a 54 yard option pass later in the third the Warriors took their first lead of the day.

Winona State had success running the ball against a Western defense that had lost two linemen before the game then one to injury in the first half and kept the ball out of the hands of the dangerous Waterman until late in the fourth quarter. But Waterman led the Griffons on an 80 yard game tying drive that ended with Reed scoring his second touchdown with four minutes left in regulation time.

Then the drama of triple overtime began.

Winona scored on the opening possession when Curtis Jepsen slipped into the end zone on a 3-yard run. The Griffons responded on the very next play, when Evans caught a 25-yard pass from Waterman.

Western took the lead on Sterling Finney’s 21-yard touchdown catch in the second overtime, but Walch capped off a six-play series on a 1-yard Warrior touchdown to force the third extra session.

On fourth and 12 at the Griffons 27 Nett hit Adam Lilla with a 17 yard pass to set up the final dramatic plays.



Photo credits: Top Left: St. Joseph News-Press/Winona Daily News-Online. Top Middle & Right and MVP's: Lorrie Woods, QB Club

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