VERMILLION, S.D. (KCAU) — The Elk Point-Jefferson Huskies returned to the DakotaDome to defend its Class 11B State Championship, taking on Hot Springs.

The fourth-seeded Huskies scored the first touchdown of the game on a two-yard rushing score from quarterback Keaton Gale. Hot Springs quickly answered off a touchdown from Augustana commit Camron Maciejewski to tie the game.

From there, the sixth-seeded Bison took the lead with a 79-yard passing touchdown from Connor Iverson to Braden Peterson. Hot Springs would take a 13-7 lead into halftime.

EP-J marched down to the red zone, but failed to convert a key fourth-and-goal, turning it over on downs.

On its final drive, the Huskies quickly moved down the field with a 38-yard trick play off a double pass to Gale. Fifteen yards was added to the play following a Bison facemask penalty.

With less than a minute remaining, Elk Point-Jefferson’s pass to the end zone was deflected and intercepted by Hot Springs to end the game with a 13-7 Bison victory.

“They made EP-J what it is. They want to be a part of meaning something they want to be a part of and they’re willing to work for it. In July at 5:15 a.m. when that alarm goes off, it’s really easy to shut that thing off. But, you can’t replace an experience like this.” EP-J head coach Jacob Terry said. “It’s tough for them, but the sun is going to come up tomorrow and they’ll be able to reflect on what a great experience this was for them.”

EP-J finishes the season with a 10-2 record.