The Milbank Area Bulldogs used a big second half to secure their first win of the high school football season. The Dawgs rolled to a 38-15 victory over Flandreau Friday, August 26, at AB Campbell Stadium in front of a large home crowd.
Things started off a little shaky for Milbank Area on their first possession of the game. The Dawgs fumbled the ball, but recovered it just before junior quarterback Jonny Ash threw an interception. Flandreau converted the turnover into a touchdown on its next play, but fortunately for the Bulldogs it was called back because of a penalty.
The Bulldog offense slowly put things together and inched down the field, but were then plagued by the yellow penalty flag and turned the ball over on downs to Flandreau.
A solid defensive stance forced the Fliers to a 3-and-out. Derrick Aho’s 25-yard punt return set up a short field advantage for the Bulldogs. On the next play, Ash connected with Cody Dockter on a 29-yard pass for a touchdown. Ash’s extra point kick was successful giving the Dawgs the 7-0 lead with just over two minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
Slight struggles continued for the Bulldogs in the second quarter. Milbank Area was called for several penalties, Flandreau recovered a fumble after a long reception by Cole Dockter and the Fliers recovered a fumble on a handoff from Ash to Cole Dockter.
Flandreau took advantage of the locals’ mishaps and evened the score at 7-7 on a 16-yard TD run midway through the quarter.
Milbank Area then put together a fairly respectable offensive drive. Tanner Gauer found the open hole before Ash connected again with Cole Dockter. Penalty flags continued to fly, giving the Dawgs a long 2-and-15 from Flandreau’s 31-yard-line. Cole Dockter found the hole for a long gain, and Ash scrambled searching for the open man before running the ball himself. He was brought down in the red zone at the 7-yard-line before the flags flew again pushing Milbank Area back to the 20. The Dawgs had had enough. Ash then found paydirt on a 17-yard pass to Riley Wollschlager for the score. Ash’s extra point kick was good, but a flag forced him to re-kick. The second attempt failed, but Milbank Area pushed ahead 13-7 to end the first half.
The Bulldogs gave themselves a little cushion early in the third period when Ash once again connected with Wollschlager on a 90-yard TD bomb. A botched snap resulted in a failed two-point conversion, but Milbank Area remained ahead 19-7.
The Dawgs began to step up on defense and play their solid game forcing troubles for Flandreau. The locals quickly turned to offense where Koben Huber ran the ball in from 50 yard out for a TD. The two-point conversion failed, and Milbank Area widened the gap to 25-7 with seven minutes on the clock in the third period.
Late in the period, a huge run by Cole Dockter set up the 59-yard TD pass from Ash to Wollschlager for the score. Ash’s kick was blocked, therefore Milbank Area led 31-7 to wrap up the third quarter.
The Bulldog defense continued to execute their game plan forcing Flandreau to turn the ball over on downs. Milbank Area quickly converted the mishap into another touchdown when a 7-yard run by Gauer. Ash’s extra point kick was good to extend the Bulldog lead to 38-7 early in the final stanza.
Additional players for Milbank Area saw significant playing time throughout most of the fourth quarter with Jake Sandvig taking over the reigns at quarterback. Flandreau scored its last TD with just under four minutes remaining to finish out the scoring at 38-15.
“We really stepped up defensively in the second half and used our techniques the way we are supposed to,” noted Bulldog head coach Jeremy Tostenson. “Offensively, we executed more efficiently and cut down on the penalties and turnovers. Our depth also took its toll on Flandreau.”
On the offensive side, Ash led the Bulldogs with 271 yards passing with 9-for-13 completions and four touchdowns. He also had two carries for 14 yards rushing. Huber tallied 74 yards rushing on eight carries and one touchdown while Gauer added 73 yards rushing on seven carries and a TD and one reception for 11 yards. Cole Dockter had 53 yards rushing on five carries and 56 yards on three catches. R. Wollschlager finished with a huge game, contributing 175 yards receiving on four catches and three touchdowns. Cody Dockter caught one ball for 29 yards and a TD.
Defensively, Riley Folk led the team with nine solo tackles and one assist. Ben Nelson followed with four tackles while Tanner Kettwig added two solo tackles and three assists. James Weber and Gauer chipped in with two solo tackles and one assist each, and Zach Angerhofer had two tackles and one quarterback sack. Cody Dockter rounded out the leaders with two tackles.
Milbank Area finished the game with 493 yards of offense which included 271 yards passing and 222 yards rushing. The Dawgs had six fumbles and 10 penalties.
Flandreau wrapped up the contest with 179 rushing yards and no yards passing. The opponent nine penalties and no turnovers.
The Bulldogs will travel to Salem Friday, September 2, to take on McCook Central.