The Milbank football team will butt heads with Madison tonight in the Battle of the Bulldogs in Madison at the DSU Soccer Field.
Milbank sits at 1-0 after their victory at home last Friday against the Beresford Wildcats. Milbank took down Beresford 9-0 with its stout defense and an offense that came when called.
Madison, however, was defeated by Dell Rapids last week with a score of 44-13. Don’t count the Madison Bulldogs out just yet, though. They have a history of great teams, and their loss last week came at the hands of the currently top-ranked team in 11A.
In their game against Dell Rapids, Ben Brooks, Madison’s starting quarterback, threw two passing touchdowns. He also led the team with 77 rushing yards. Milbank will be wise to also keep their eye on Shane Veenhoff who grabbed six receptions for 65 yards and one touchdown and Eli Barger who caught three receptions for 28 yards and one touchdown.
It will be a tight game if Milbank does as many things right tonight as they did last week.
- Garrett Mertens produced a steady stream of five and six-yard surges to keep the Bulldogs moving down the field. He completed strategic passes and ran with the ball himself when necessary.
- Milbank’s defense deterred the Watchdogs from crossing the center line and only allowed them into the red zone once.
- In the first quarter, Bowsher nabbed a Wildcat pass for an interception and returned it to the Beresford 40-yard line.
- Moises Luna kicked the pigskin through the uprights with 21 seconds left on the clock in the second quarter to give Milbank a 3-0 advantage. The Bulldogs protected their lead the rest of the game.
- Penalties affected both teams in the first half, but Milbank cleaned up their act in the second half.
- Jayden Johnson, Joe French, Tate Schuleter, and Emmett Hanson led the Bulldogs in tackling, but Braylen Bowsher, Sam Rick, Layten Osowski, Landon Novy, Jesse Schneck, Ethan Owen, Chaxton Goldammer, Oliver Korth, and Esteban Abrego also contributed important tackles.
- Owen Tesch completed a six-yard run for a TD with less than two minutes on the clock in the fourth quarter to put the game on ice for the Bulldogs.
- Landon Novy and the Bulldog defense managed a big sack on fourth and three at the Milbank 29-yard line late in the fourth quarter to stop the Wildcats and keep them scoreless. The Bulldogs then moved into the victory formation to run out the clock for the 9-0 victory.
Milbank lost the 2022 Battle of the Bulldogs at 41-6, but they defeated Madison in 2021 by shutting them out 9-0. The two teams met again that year in the 11A State Championship game. Milbank took the loss that time.
So, it’s anybody’s game tonight! If you plan to go, stay hydrated. The temperature is expected to be 89 degrees at the 7 p.m. kickoff.
Photos: Top-Garrett Mertens looks to make a pass. Middle- Emmett Hanson makes a crucial catch late in the second quarter to set up a field goal. Bottom- Braylen Bowsher returns an interception deep into Watchdog territory.