Opportunity knocked and the Bulldogs answered. The first half of the football game against Sisseton on Friday, October 7, proved to be the best game Milbank has played all year. Sisseton fumbled after their first snap, and Bulldog Aidan Foell recovered the ball. Milbank turned Sisseton’s snafu into eight points when Barrett Schneck took it into the end zone on a two-yard run, and junior Jayden Johnson nabbed another pass from quarterback Garrett Mertens for the two-point conversion.
When the Bulldogs finally found time to catch their breath, they had secured four touchdowns. They had recovered two fumbles and an onside kick in the Redmen’s first three possessions. Milbank led 29-0 at the end of the first quarter. They surged ahead 43-0 at the half, and took it home with a final score of 43-6.
Brian Allmendinger, head coach for MHS, said, “It was good to see the guys get rewarded for their work and effort over the past few months. This victory should build confidence moving forward as we close out our season.”
Quarterback Garrett Mertens, a junior, nailed four touchdown passes. Senior Barrett Schneck caught the one in the opening minutes of the game. Junior Jayden Johnson then caught two in a row. Mertens also kept the ball to take it in eight-yards for the score to end the first period. Senior Sawyer Gauer caught number five on a five-yard pass in the second quarter. Sophomore Emmett Hanson reeled in number six to finish the first half.
Milbank held the Sisseton to 45 yards passing and 47 yards rushing. They allowed the Redmen one touchdown in the third, when freshman LaVonne Carter scored on a 10-yard run. Junior Nate Tchida ended the game with 46 yards on two carries. He also recorded five tackles and an interception.
Milbank collected 132 yards rushing and 139 yards passing. Mertens threw for 108 yards. He completed seven of 12. Freshman Braylen Bowsher connected on two of three for 31 yards. Schneck rushed for 70 yards in the first half of play. Senior Eli Johnson had 28 yards. Mertens had 23. Junior Caleb Rick added 12. Gauer donated one.
Gauer also caught two passes for 46 yards. J. Johnson had two receptions for 24 yards. Sophomore Joe French and Foell, a senior, each recovered a fumble for the Bulldog defense. Bowsher intercepted a pass. The offense also received solid support from Bowsher, E. Johnson, and sophomore Bergen Nolting. They made two tackles apiece. Schneck, Rick, J. Johnson, French, and freshman Hunter Hawley each had one.
What’s next on the turf? The Bulldogs hope to put up another “W” on Friday, October 14. They go on the road to face Chamberlain. Kick-off is at 7 p.m. Allmendinger says the key to the win will be to “continue to execute on offense, tackle well, and limit the big play on defense. Win the turnover battle!” Allmendinger also commented on how the Bulldogs have stayed motivated. “Motivation relies on seniors knowing these are their final few weeks and underclassmen understanding they are fighting for playing time in the seasons to come.”