The Milbank Area Bulldogs defensive unit produced a solid game which led to a 14-7 victory over the Sioux Valley Cossacks Friday, September 23, on the road.
But that is not how the game appeared it would go from the start. Milbank Area obtained the ball to start the contest. On the Dawgs second play from scrimmage, Cole Dockter ran the ball to the house from 62 yards out for a touchdown. Jonny Ash’s extra point kick was good to give the Dawgs the early 7-0 lead.
Sioux Valley put together a solid offensive drive, but fumbled the ball which Milbank Area recovered on their own 21 yard line. The Dawgs were quickly forced to punt putting the defense back on the field. The first quarter ended with Sioux Valley knocking on the door with a fourth down and one on the Milbank 15 yard line.
To start the second period, the Cossacks pushed the ball over the goal line to knot the score up at 7-7, where the score remained at the midway mark.
The Bulldog defense made adjustments at halftime, and came out solid in the second half. Milbank Area forced Sioux Valley to turn the ball over on downs two different times, before putting together an offensive push of its own.
Near the end of the third quarter, Milbank Area started with the ball on their own 48. Ash pitched the ball to Jacob Karges who pushed ahead for a first down. Ash then connected with Riley Wollschlager to move the sticks again within the red zone at the 19. Wollschlager ran the ball down to the five yard line with Karges pushing ahead two yards to the three. Cole Dockter then cut up the middle over the goal line for the second time in the contest. Ash’s kick was good, and the Bulldogs widened the gap to 14-7 with just 12 seconds left in the third.
The defensive unit for the Bulldogs took charge in the final quarter and spent a majority of the period on the field. Early in the quarter, Sioux Valley was driving and found themselves in the red zone at the Bulldog 12 yard line. Taran Mogard broke up a big pass which resulted in the Dawgs taking over on downs.
After a Bulldog punt, Sioux Valley again was knocking on the door at the Milbank Area 6 yard line. The Dawgs again stopped the Cossacks and took over on downs at their own 1 yard line.
Unable to get the offense rolling, Milbank Area punted the ball and Sioux Valley took over at their own 43. The Cossacks connected on a long bomb for a first down before Derek Aho came up with a big interception with just over one minute remaining in the game.
Milbank Area felt a little breathing room, but their sails were quickly deflated when Sioux Valley recovered a Bulldog fumble at the Dawgs own 15 yard line. Mogard again came up with a big play and sacked the quarterback as he was scrambling to bring up a 3rd and long. Aho then intercepted another Cossack pass in the end zone for a touchback with just 40 ticks on the clock.
Using good clock management, the Bulldogs were able to line up in victory formation and Ash kneeled on the ball to run the clock out, giving the Dawgs a big 14-7 victory.
“Defensively they got after us pretty good in the first half,” stated Bulldog head coach Jeremy Tostenson. “The second half, we made a couple of adjustments and guys got some things done. I’m proud of our effort in the second half. Offensively, it may not have been our best game statistically, but when you win the turnover battle you are always in the game. We had guys playing in different positions on offense and I’m proud of the way our guys competed. It’s always about guys making plays when their number is called. We had a lot of guys get it done in big situations.”
Milbank Area finished the game with 132 yards rushing and 29 yards passing on the night. Sioux Valley ended with 173 yards rushing and 69 yards passing.
Ash went 5-12 passing for 29 yards. Cole Dockter finished with 81 yards rushing on seven carries and two touchdowns and eight yards receiving on one catch. Karges followed with 45 yards rushing on 14 totes while R. Wollschlager ended with 15 yards on two carries and 11 yards on one reception. Riley Folk added eight yards on two catches, and Nate Bien had one catch for two yards.
Defensively, Jake Anderson led the team with 14 tackles on the night. R. Wollschlager had seven tackles. Ethan Paysen had six while Cody Dockter, Koben Huber and Karges added five. Mogard and Folk had four; Tanner Kettwig and Ben Nelson, three, and Jordan Riley, one. Also on the defense, Mogard was credited with one quarterback sack and Aho picked off two passes. The team recovered two fumbles.
Pictured is the Bulldog defense – #7 Jake Anderson, #21 Jacob Karges, #56 Taran Mogard, #77 Tanner Kettwig. Also shown is Riley Wollschlager, Koben Huber and Riley Folk.