The Milbank Area Bulldogs suffered a disappointing 13-7 loss to the Groton Tigers Friday night and drop to 2-2 on the season.
“The better football team lost tonight for the second week in a row,” said Bulldog head coach Jeremy Tostenson. “We need to learn how to win and step up our practices. We need to focus on one play, one practice and one game at a time.”The rainy, wet field conditions made things difficult to start the game. After holding the Tigers to a three and out on their first series, Milbank Area took control with a short field advantage inside the opponents red zone. The Bulldogs were unable to convert and turned the ball over to the Tigers on downs.
A glimmer of hope presented itself when Derrick Aho picked off a Tiger pass and the Bulldogs controlled the ball with a short distance to the goal. Milbank Area was held and turned the ball over on downs to the Tigers.
Groton Area’s offense found a few holes and began to move the ball, but was again stopped on fourth and long when Aho broke up another bomb which forced the Tigers to punt and brought the first quarter to a close.
The Dawgs struggled to gain yards upfield and were forced to punt on a three and out. A flag was thrown which forced Milbank Area to attempt the punt again. On the second try, the ball flew over punter Jacob Jackson’s head and he was brought down at about the 13-yard-line to give Groton Area another short field advantage. On its second play from scrimmage, Tiger quarterback, Bennett Shabazz scrambled into the end zone for a touchdown. The PAT was successful giving Groton Area a 7-0 lead.
Late in the second quarter, the Bulldogs put together a solid offensive drive. Milbank Area fumbled the ball in Groton Area territory and the Tigers recovered. Groton Area broke free on a long run and were brought down at the two-yard-line. Shabazz pushed the ball over the goal line on his second attempt to widen the gap to 13-0. The PAT was no good and the horn sounded to indicate halftime.
Midway through the third quarter, the Bulldogs found themselves driving down the field with runs by Kyle Montag, Tristan Hall and Tanner Gauer. The drive ended when Isaac Snaza’s pass was intercepted by a Groton Area Tiger. The teams battled but ended the quarter without adding points to its scores.
Early in the final period, the Bulldogs were driving down the field again. Milbank Area faced a first down with a short distance to go when Snaza connected on a long bomb to Jackson. A few plays later, Montag found paydirt around the left end for the touchdown. His extra point kick attempt was good to cut the deficit to 13-7.
Hopes of a comeback win remained high as the Bulldogs found themselves heading down field late in the game. Those hopes faded when a long Snaza pass was intercepted. The Tigers then ran out the clock and held on to the victory.
Isaac Snaza led the team with 51 yards on 6-10 passing and 18 yards rushing on 13 carries. Kyle Montag carried the ball 16 times for 50 yards rushing, one catch for 16 yards and one touchdown while Tristan Hall added 31 yards rushing on nine totes. Tanner Gauer contributed 20 yards rushing on nine carries and 19 yards on three receptions. Jacob Jackson caught two passes for a total of 16 yards.
On the defensive side, Snaza and Jake Anderson led the team with four tackles each. Gauer, Koben Huber, Tanner Kettwig and Zach Angerhofer added three tackles a piece, and Ben Nelson and Riley Wollschlager had two each. Also contributing to the defensive efforts were Devin Stricherz, Cole Dockter and Jake Karges, one tackle each, and Derrick Aho, one interception.
Milbank Area finished the game with 145 total yards of offense. The Bulldogs had 51 yards passing and 94 yards rushing. Groton Area ended with 163 yards, including 25 yards passing and 138 yards rushing.
Milbank Area will host Sioux Valley next week at AB Campbell Stadium.