The Bulldogs snapped the Pheasants three-game winning streak with a 27-15 victory on Friday, October 17. Redfield had not suffered a loss since September 10 against Roncalli.
The triumph also increased Milbank’s winning streak to four and kept the Bulldogs’ playoff plans alive. Only the top-eight teams qualify for a berth in post-season play. Milbank moved up to the No. 7 spot and Sioux Falls Christian is also still holding on at No. 8.
Friday night’s game at A.B.Campbell Field held more thrills and spills than the score indicates. The Pheasants made several mistakes, including three fumbles. The Bulldogs capitalized on the errors, but in the end, things still went down to the wire.
The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard first when Redfield botched a play that ended in a fumble and the Milbank defense came up with it. Ryker Trevett then marched it down the field to give quarterback Kaden Krause the chance to take it home and put the Bulldogs up by six. The extra-point kick was no good, but the Bulldogs led 6-0 going into the second period.
Krause kept the fans on their feet In the second quarter when he carried the ball down the turf for 48 yards and a touchdown. The extra-point attempt failed, but the Bulldogs held a commanding 12-0 lead.
Redfield’s quarterback, Easton Millar, got the Pheasants on the board when his eight-yard pass connected for a touchdown. The Pheasants put the extra-point kick in to nip at the Bulldogs heels at 12-7.
The Bulldogs’ defense was not intimidated. They stepped up again to do damage control in the Pheasant’s redzone. The Milbank squad foiled Redfield’s attempt at another score just short of the goal and just before the end of the first half.
After halftime, the Bulldogs emerged from the locker room ready to roll. They had possession first and put together a mix of runs and a pass to get them within scoring range. Junior Sawyer Gauer obliged from the five-yard line, and Krause and Kellen Hoeke teamed up to secure two points with a conversion. The Bulldogs held a solid lead at 20-7 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Pheasants kept pecking away, though, and in the beginning of the fourth quarter, Millar passed –this time for 58 yards– for a touchdown. Their extra-point kick combined to put more than a little pressure on the Bulldogs at 20-15. The tension continued to mount when Redfield again got the ball down to their own 15-yard line late in the fourth quarter.
But Redfield’s efforts only succeeded in spurring the Bulldog defense on even more. They stepped it up again and ruffled the Pheasant’s feathers by provoking their third fumble of the night.
Leyton Raffety recovered the ball for the Dawgs, and Milbank’s offense got down to business. Using their time wisely, the Bulldogs moved the football into their own territory and kept it moving until Kaden Krause whisked it into the endzone just as the clock clicked down to seven seconds.
Michael Karges put it in the books by booting the ball between the goalposts. Bulldogs, 27; Pheasants, 15. Milbank piled up 311 total yards, most of them on the ground. They amassed 293 yards rushing and 18 yards passing. On the flip side, Redfield had 266 total yards with 254 passing and just 12 yards rushing.
Krause had just 18 yards passing, but was the leading rusher with 189 yards, including the three touchdowns. Trevett added 83 yards on 16 carries, and Gauer had eight. Karson Weber was the leading receiver at three.
Sophomore Jayden Johnson led the Bulldogs in tackles with seven. Karson Weber had six, Jace Rufer had four, and Krause had three. Connor Bender, junior Eli Johnson, junior Brayden Christensen, Carter Bowsher, and Stevie Ash all had two apiece. Gauer, Maddox Hanson, and Evan Hausauer each added one.
The Bulldogs were charged with just one penalty for a loss of 13 yards and the Pheasants committed five infractions for a total loss of 40 yards. Millar led the Pheasants with 226 yards passing.
Next up for the Bulldogs? Milbank plays this Thursday, October 21, when they turn their attention to defeating the Sisseton Redmen (0-8). Kick off is at 7 p.m. in Sisseton.