The Milbank Area Bulldogs secured a 26-21 victory over the Dell Rapids Quarriers Friday night at AB Campbell Stadium in a push to secure a playoff spot later this month. The Dawgs improved their record. They now stand at 5-2 with just two games remaining in the regular season.
Milbank Area got off to a solid start. Quarterback Isaac Snaza handed off to Tanner Gauer who scrambled around the right side, broke tackles and raced to the end zone for a 61-yard touchdown on the Dawgs’ first play from scrimmage. Dalton Koch’s extra point kick attempt bounced off the uprights and was no good, but Milbank Area held the early 6-0 lead.
A defensive three-and-out for the Bulldogs, followed by a punt return by Derrick Aho, gave the Dawgs the short field advantage. Milbank Area was unable to convert the advantage into points on the scoreboard.
Two series later, Dell Rapids broke free and headed for the end zone. Jake Anderson used his speed and brought down the Quarrier at their own 20-yard-line, saving the TD. Milbank Area came up with a big defensive stop, and Dells turned the ball over on downs to the Bulldogs. The teams battled it out for the remainder of the first quarter, but were unable to find pay dirt.
Things started to get a little interesting for the Bulldogs in the second quarter. Hunter Hansen scurried 90 yards for a Quarrier TD. A successful PAT put Milbank Area behind 7-6. The Bulldogs were then held to a three-and-out, and Dell Rapids took over once again. A long punt return set up a four-yard TD run by full-back Jacob Faux. The PAT was good, widening the gap to 14-6.
Milbank Area kept its composure and steadily moved the ball down the field. Tristan Hall broke free with a long run but was brought down at the two-yard-line. Kyle Montag capitalized on Hall’s run with a two-yard TD push over the goal line for the score. The two-point conversion attempt failed and Milbank Area trailed 14-12.
With the ball in the opponent’s hands and a driving offense, Milbank Area knew it needed to step up its defensive pressure. The Quarriers’ quarterback threw a long bomb, but it was picked off by Riley Wollschlager.
With little time on the clock, Milbank Area attempted to use the strong arm of Jonny Ash to hit the end zone again before the midway mark, but was unsuccessful. The Dawgs went into the locker room down by two points.
The Bulldogs went on the defensive to start the second half and forced Dell Rapids to punt the ball. Milbank Area got to work right away on its next offensive series. Facing a third-and-five, Snaza threw a ball 16 yards to Nolan Foss in the end zone for a TD. Hall added the conversion run to give the Bulldogs the 20-14 advantage.
Later in the quarter, Gauer found pay dirt on a 26-yard scramble around the right side for a score. The conversion attempt failed, but Milbank Area held a 26-14 advantage.
Dell Rapids made things a little tighter when it added a 13-yard touchdown run and a successful PAT to move the score to 26-21 to end the third period.
Both teams battled things out on both sides of the ball throughout the final stanza. Neither team was unable to add more points to its total, and Milbank Area remained on top 26-21.
Gauer led the offense with 104 yards rushing on 13 carries and two touchdowns. Montag added 26 yards on 12 totes and one score. Snaza went 4-4 passing for 72 yards and one TD and added eight yards rushing on eight carries. Hall caught two balls for 61 yards and had three yards rushing. Foss caught a 16-yard TD pass.
On the defensive side, Koben Huber came up with a big game and had 12 tackles and one quarterback sack. Anderson followed with seven tackles while Devin Stricherz added five. Snaza and Gauer chipped in with four tackles each. Cole Dockter had three, and Zach Angerhofer, Hall and Jake Karges, one each. Stricherz recovered one fumble and Gauer and Wollschlager each had one interception.
Milbank Area wrapped up the victory with 210 total yards of offense. The Bulldogs collected 138 yards rushing and 72 yards passing. Dell Rapids ended with 300 offensive yards including 269 yards rushing and 31 yards passing.
Milbank Area will travel to Sisseton Friday night, and will wrap up its regular season Thursday, October 22, at Madison.