The season has ended for the Milbank Area Bulldog football team. The Dawgs suffered a 43-0 loss to the Madison Bulldogs in the opening round of the Class 11A playoffs, and completed their season with a 6-4 record.
The number six-seeded Milbank Area knew their first round matchup was going to be tough. Factors out-favored Milbank Area, who drew number three-seeded Madison in the first round. The two teams battled just one week ago, where Milbank Area fell 61-22.
Thursday night (October 27) was just as tough of a battle for the locals. Milbank Area received the ball on offense to start the contest and were quickly held to a three-and-out and forced to punt. Madison in turn quickly answered with a one-yard touchdown run by Riley Janke. Josh Jiles scrambled into the end zone following a high snap on the kick attempt, giving Madison the early 8-0 lead.
Milbank Area took over and moved the yard markers downfield with a successful pass from junior quarterback Jonny Ash to senior Riley Wollschlager. The glimmer of hope was short lived, when Ash’s next pass was intercepted by Madison and returned to midfield. Madison then broke free for a long touchdown run, but a penalty on the opponent brought the ball back out to the Milbank Area 42-yard-line. Madison didn’t let that deter them as they marched the ball down the field and capitalized again on a one-yard TD run by Riley Janke. The PAT was good, giving Madison the 15-0 advantage to end the opening quarter.
Early in the second period, Madison once again found paydirt on a 20-yard TD pass from Josh Giles to Jaxon Janke. A successful PAT widened the gap to 22-0. Madison then performed an onside kick and recovered it themselves, but another penalty forced a re-kick. Derrick Aho came up with a solid kick return to spark Milbank Area.
Facing a fourth down and three yards to go, Tanner Gauer broke free up the middle for a big first down for Milbank Area. On the next play, Ash connected with Matt Lenards for another first down inside the red zone. Ash’s next pass was intercepted by Madison at the goal line and returned to midfield which set up a nine-yard TD pass to Mason Leighton for the score. The PAT was good, widening the margin to 29-0.
Late in the second period, Riley Wollschlager came up with a big interception, but the half would end before Milbank Area could produce a positive result.
Madison received the ball to start the second half. Jadon Janke ran 58 yards to the house for a TD on the opening play of the half. After the PAT, Madison held a commanding 36-0 lead. Milbank Area was unable to get any offensive drives put together, before Madison converting another TD score with a 27-yard pass from Josh Giles to Jadon Janke.
The teams were scoreless throughout the final quarter, and Madison secured the 43-0 victory and advanced to the Class 11A semi-finals.
“We played hard,” stated Milbank Area head coach Jeremy Tostenson. “The loss and ending the season short does not take away from the success we had this season.”
Milbank Area produced 129 yards of total offense in the contest. Ash went 8-17 throwing for 58 yards and two interceptions. The team ended with 71 yards rushing. Madison finished with 229 yards passing and 225 yards rushing for a total of 454 offensive yards.
Gauer led the locals with 38 yards rushing on 10 carries. Jacob Karges tallied 23 yards rushing on two totes while Cole Dockter added 17 yards rushing on nine carries and 28 yards on four receptions. Lenards, R. Wollschlager and James Weber each caught one ball for 12, 10 and 9 yards, respectively.
Jake Anderson led the Milbank Area defense with 11 tackles. Lenards followed with six while Ethan Paysen and Zach Angerhofer added five each. R. Wollschlager, Cole Dockter and Aho tallied four tackles apiece, and Ben Nelson and Koben Huber had three each. Rounding out the defensive totals were Weber, two tackles, and Karges, Tanner Kettwig and Mitch Quade, one tackle each.
Thirteen senior players completed their high school football career Thursday night. “A big thank you to our seniors for all their efforts the past four years,” expressed Tostenson.
Honored for their years of contributions to Bulldog football were Jake Anderson, Zach Angerhofer, Nate Bien, Cody Dockter, Riley Folk, Tanner Gauer, Matt Lenards, Taran Mogard, Ben Nelson, Albert Pavlinac, Jake Stinson, Caden Wollschlager and Riley Wollschlager. Senior cheerleaders were Kaitlin Rufer, Mallory Trapp and Emma VanVooren.