A second-half collapse on Saturday night kept Haskell Indian Nations University football team from breaking a long curse.
Highland Community College defeated the Fightin' Indians, 43-34, at Haskell Stadium. It was Highland's 24th straight win over Haskell.
"Well at least you can say it was exciting football," Haskell coach Gary Tanner said.
Haskell scored first. On the Fightin' Indians' third play, running back Chris Muskrat turned a pitch play into a 65- yard touchdown run.
"After that run, I thought this was it, this was going to be the year we beat them," Haskell quarterback Jon Kerr said. "But they answered on the very next play."
Following the kickoff, the Scotties' Heath Whetstine threw a 62-yard pass down the sideline to Bradley LeDuc for a touchdown.
With 2:40 left before halftime, Highland led 22-14. But Haskell's Casey Kidwell broke three tackles after a fake reverse on a kickoff return and scampered down the sideline for a 90-yard touchdown.
"I wasn't even supposed to be in," Kidwell said. "And suddenly here I am running the ball for 90 yards, it felt great."
Kidwell's return was the longest in Haskell history. The return and a Bucky Thompson extra point pulled the Fightin' Indians within one point, 22-21 at halftime.
The Scotties continued to score on big plays in the third quarter. Whetstine connected with LeDuc for an 88-yard touchdown on their second series of the half to put the Scotties up 29-21.
Highland extended their lead to 36-27 by the end of the quarter.
"This was our game, but we just lost our focus in the second half," Muskrat said.
Haskell had one last chance in the fourth quarter, trailing 43-27 with 3:04 remaining. The Fightin' Indians mounted an 88-yard drive that culminated with a 2-yard touchdown run by fullback Justin Blaylock.
But the Indians were unable to come up with an onside kick and the Scotties held on to win.
"We played great football for about three and one half quarters," Tanner said. "Unfortunately football is a four-quarter game."
Haskell (2-2) will travel to Independence Community College next Saturday.