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INDOOR FOOTBALL: Axemen comeback in fourth to force overtime and get first win

Axemen defensive back Rodney Anthony scrambles for a fumble against Billings in the first quarter. The Axemen used a fourth quarter comeback and overtime to win 47-44 in the Sanford Center. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer 1 / 2
Axemens receiver Josh Jarboe leeps to catch a pass in the second quarter of play against Billings on Saturday night. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer 2 / 2

BEMIDJI — Zach Pulkinen nailed a 33-yard field goal in overtime to give the Axemen their first win of the season Saturday with a 47-44 comeback win against Billings.

Bemidji (1-2) started the final drive of regulation at their own 17 and marched down the field with three passes to Ryan Balentine and one to Galloway to get to the Billings (0-3) three-yard line before Mulku Kalokoh finished the drive to tie the game at 44 after the PAT.

After a Tony Grimes interception on the first play of overtime, Bemidji got its chance to end it.

Two Kalokoh runs and an incomplete pass brought fourth down from the 15, when Pulkinen nailed a field goal to end the game.

“I can’t say enough about (Kalokoh) tonight,” said head coach Dixie Wooten. “He ran the ball for us, and he’s the one that took us to this victory tonight.”

After a Michael Green interception to close the third, the Wolves scored on the opening play of the final segment on an eight-yard pass to James Walton to pull ahead 41-27.

Josh Jarboe caught a seven-yard touchdown pass, his second, from Terrance Owens and Pulkinen kicked a field goal to bring Bemidji within four with three minutes, 54 seconds remaining

Kalohoh had 81 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while Owens had 130 passing yards, three touchdown passes and two interceptions.

Balentine led the Axemen in receiving with 57 yards, but Jarboe added 53 yards and two touchdowns.

“Even though he made a few mistakes, he always kept fighting,” Wooten said of Owens who came back Saturday after sitting out Monday with a lower back injury. “No matter how bad he’s doing, he’s always going to pick himself up and fight back.”

Jory Johnson led the defense with five tackles while Adam Lucas had four.

Darakata Britt was 12-of-26 passing for 134 yards and four touchdowns while throwing one interception for Billings.

“What they improved on the most is discipline,” Wooten said of his team after Monday. “They knew that I wasn’t happy with 14 penalties (Monday), but they understood that this week and settled down, and that’s what made them play better along the way.”

The Axemen will return to the turf at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 29 when they travel to Green Bay.