The Milbank Area Bulldogs got off to a solid start and held on for a big 32-20 I-29 conference football victory over McCook Central-Montrose Friday night at AB Campbell Stadium. The Dawgs improved to 2-0 on the season with the win.
“This is a good win for us to a good football team,” noted Milbank Area head football coach Jeremy Tostenson. “The kids are playing hard, and that is good to see.”
The Bulldogs received the ball to start the game and got the offense rolling. The locals moved the ball down the field with big runs by Kyle Montag and Isaac Snaza. Tanner Gauer broke free from eight yards out and reached over the goal line for the first touchdown of the game. Montag’s extra point kick was just outside the goal posts, and Milbank Area led 6-0.
McCook Central-Montrose fumbled the ball on its first position which Milbank Area used to its advantage. On the Bulldogs’ first play from scrimmage, Montag ran around the left end for a 43-yard touchdown to widen the gap to 12-0. Gauer was stopped just short of the goal line on his two-point conversion run.
McCook Central-Montrose fumbled the ball again on its next offensive series. Milbank Area recovered the ball, but was unable to convert the turnover into points on the scoreboard.
Milbank Area’s Jake Anderson came up with a interception toward the end of the first quarter to put the Bulldogs within striking distance again. Montag took advantage of the turnover and ran it in for a 37-yard touchdown. Montag’s extra point kick attempt bounced on the cross bar and went through the uprights to give the Bulldogs the 19-0 lead to end the opening period.
They settled down and got into the flow of the game in the second quarter. The teams exchanged punts before the Bulldogs’ offense marched down the field for another scoring opportunity. Snaza’s long pass to Jacob Jackson was broken up in the end zone, and both teams went into the locker room with the score remaining 19-0.
The visitors started the second half with renewed enthusiasm. McCook Central-Montrose scored a one-yard touchdown less than a minute into the half. The Cougars two-point conversion run was successful. Milbank Area led 19-8.
The visitors remained fired up and forced the Bulldogs to punt the ball away on its first offensive series of the half. McCook Central-Montrose took advantage and punched the ball over the goal line again for a TD. The conversion attempt failed, and Milbank Area hung on at 19-14 midway through the third quarter.
The teams exchanged punts again. Milbank Area worked its way down the field before Tristan Hall broke free up the middle and scrambled to the end zone for a 50-yard TD. Montag’s kick was good to widen the Bulldog advantage to 26-14 to end the third quarter.
Cody Dockter intercepted a Cougar pass to give Milbank Area a chance to break the game open, and they did. The combination of Snaza, Montag, Gauer and Hall drove the ball down the field on a solid offensive series. Montag reached for the goal and was just shy. Snaza pushed the ball over the line on a quarterback keeper to widen the gap to 32-14 with six minutes left in the contest.
The visitors were not ready to concede just yet. The Cougars took the ball into the end zone from 50 yards out to cut the deficit to 32-20 with just under three minutes remaining.
Milbank Area was patient and wound time off. Hall gained big runs for the Dawgs to move the ball to the Cougars 40-yard line. The Bulldogs then went into victory formation to run out the clock and secure the win.
Montag led the offense with 166 yards rushing on 15 carries and two touchdowns. Hall followed with 103 yards on nine totes and one TD while Snaza added 52 yards on 12 carries and a score. Gauer tallied 25 yards on eight carries and had one touchdown. Snaza also went 0-3 passing.
Snaza and Koben Huber led the offense with six tackles each. Anderson added four while Gauer, James Weber, Taran Mogard and Devin Stricherz were credited with two tackles a piece. Snaza and Mogard each recovered a fumble while Anderson, Gauer and Dockter had an interception for the Dawgs.
Milbank Area finished the contest with 346 yards rushing. McCook Central-Montrose ended with 11 yards passing and 227 yards rushing for 238 total yards of offense.
The Bulldogs will travel to Aberdeen Friday to take on the Roncalli Cavaliers in the second game of the night. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. at Clark Swisher Field.