The Milbank Area Bulldogs ran away with the Northeast Conference football title with a 51-13 victory over the Sisseton Redmen Friday, October 13, at AB Campbell Stadium. Bulldog Head Coach Jeremy Tostenson said, “NEC champs – our guys earned it!”
Milbank received the ball to start the game and did not waste any time. Big plays from Cole Dockter and Jake Karges set up a 22-yard connection between quarterback Mitch Quade and Dockter for the touchdown. Carlos Padilla’s extra point attempt (PAT) was good, giving Milbank the quick 7-0 lead.
Late in the quarter, Milbank Area found paydirt again. The Bulldog defense forced Sisseton into a punting situation. Senior Austin Schuelke blocked the punt, picked up the ball, and ran it into the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown. A successful PAT gave Milbank Area the 14-0 advantage.
On the next possession, the Redmen fumbled the ball, and the Bulldogs recovered. Quade found Max McCulloch on a long pass to move into the red zone to the 16. The running duo of Karges and Dockter again set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Karges. After a failed extra point attempt, the Dawgs maintained a 20-0 lead to end the first quarter.
Sisseton regained the ball to start the second period, but were quickly shut down by the Bulldog defense. Quade found Dockter on a long bomb into Redmen territory. Karges ran for a first down before Dockter punched the ball in for the 24-yard score. Padilla’s kick was good widening the gap for the Bulldogs to 27-0. It appeared Milbank Area would strike again before halftime, but Sisseton recovered a Bulldog fumble and capitalized on a four-yard touchdown pass. The PAT failed and the score moved to 27-6 to end the half.
After halftime, Sisseton returned the opening kick off 86 yards for a touchdown. The extra point kick was also good, but Milbank Area remained ahead 27-13.
The Bulldogs put together a solid offensive drive which led to a 11-yard touchdown run by Dockter. Padilla’s kick was good, and Milbank Area led 34-13 with nine minutes left in the quarter.
Another solid defensive effort forced Sisseton to turn the ball over on downs to the Dawgs. Milbank Area pushed the ball down field, winding time off the clock. Quade then threw a jump ball to McCulloch in the end zone for the touchdown. A successful PAT extended Milbank Area’s lead to 41-13 with four minutes left in the third period.
Mason Riley took over the reins at quarterback and other substitutions ensued, but Milbank Area continued strong. Another solid drive was highlighted with pass connections to Dillon Schneck and Nate Bohn, and a hard run by Jake Sandvig. Riley attempted a quarterback keeper two times, but was denied. Padilla then hit a field goal to widen the gap to 44-13 with just over nine minutes left in the game.
Sisseton coughed up the ball on their next offensive series, and Brodie Holtquist recovered it. It was all Holtquist from there. He moved the ball downfield on several carries and finally found paydirt from five yards out for the touchdown. Padilla’s kick was good, and Milbank Area’s lead was 51-13. That score remained on the board until the buzzer sounded.
Milbank Area racked up 370 total yards of offense. The Dawgs tallied 153 passing yards and 217 rushing yards. Sisseton ended the game with 99 total yards including 24 passing and 75 rushing.
Quade went 7-11 passing for 127 yards and two touchdowns to lead the team. Mason Riley went 2-2 for 26 passing yards. Karges led the ground attack with 99 yards rushing on nine carries and one touchdown. Dockter was close behind with 98 yards rushing on nine totes and two scores, and 50 yards receiving on two catches and a touchdown. Riley Gauer added 12 yards on two carries and 10 yards on one reception. Sandvig had eight yards on three totes.
Other offensive totals included: Sam Seffrood, five yards on one carry; Holtquist, two yards on three totes; Bohn, 15 yards on one catch; and Schneck, 11 yards on one reception. Defensively, Karges led the team with nine tackles. James Weber followed with six, and Quade, Sandvig and Schuelke added four tackles each. Bohn was credited with three tackles; Dockter, Tanner Kettwig, and Chandler Peery added two tackles. Gauer, Holtquist, Tate Stricherz, Padilla, Nick Ruhr, Jake Fox, and Angel Chen had one apiece.
Milbank Area hosts Tri-Valley on Thursday, October 19, in their last regular season game. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at AB Campbell Stadium.
Photo: Senior Cole Dockter fielding a catch from Mitch Quade.