The Bulldogs football team acquired their only loss this season against Vermillion on Friday, September 8. It marked Milbank’s second game in a row... Dawgs Ready to Do Damage at Dakota Valley Friday Night

The Bulldogs football team acquired their only loss this season against Vermillion on Friday, September 8. It marked Milbank’s second game in a row that ended in OT. The final score rested at 22-20 – about as close as you can get – and fans were treated to a rollercoaster ride. Now, it’s time to get up, dust off, and move on. 

The Bulldogs travel to North Sioux City this Friday to face the Dakota Valley Panthers. Dakota Valley is also coming off a loss last week to Sioux Falls Christian. Earlier this year, Dakota Valley defeated Chamberlain and Vermillion. Both Milbank and Dakota Valley now hold  2-1 season records, but Friday is the Panthers’ Homecoming, so they might have something to prove. They also have a new head coach, Kenny Wilhite. White is a former defensive back for the Nebraska Huskers. He also served on staff at Nebraska for nine seasons after he played four years in the Canadian Football League. 

Brian Allmendinger, head coach for the Bulldogs, says Milbank has been busy preparing for this Friday’s game, “We have tried to better execute some aspects of our game that were not up to standard against Vermillion.” Allmendinger also noted, “Dakota Valley has some very good athletes with above average speed.”


In the Vermillion game at A.B. Campbell Stadium in Milbank, both the Bulldogs and the Tanagers struggled to find their groove in the first quarter. Timeouts consumed most of the action. Heat timeouts were taken as temperatures hovered around a humid 82 degrees. Each team requested regular time outs, and an injury timeout resulted in the Tanagers’ quarterback Hayden Christopherson leaving the field and unable to return for the remainder of the game.

In the second quarter, Bulldog Layten Osowski finally made it rain. Vermillion connected on what would have been a good run, but they couldn’t hold onto the ball. Osowski recovered the fumble for the Bulldogs. Milbank marched  it down to fourth and 10 at the 24-yard line with less than five minutes on the clock in the half. Quarterback Garrett Mertens targeted Emmett Hanson for a 23-yard pass. Hanson delivered the TD, and  Moises Luna put the kick up and in.The Bulldogs charged ahead 7-0.

Vermillion answered with their freshman quarterback Nolan Nygren running the show.  Nygren moved the sticks to first and goal at the five-yard line and found Ty Robinson for six points. The Tanagers opted to run the ball in for two points.  With 3:18 left to go in the half, Vermillion took over the lead at 8-7. 

Milbank had another turn, but couldn’t produce any points. Vermillion took over on downs on their own 35. Emmett Hanson flattened Nygren for a big sack, but the Tanagers scratched their way to second and goal at the one. They took it home by going airborne over the pile of bodies at the line. Vermillion again opted for a two-point run, but were denied by the Bulldogs. At halftime, the scoreboard read 14-7 in favor of the visitors.

The third quarter was all Milbank or almost all Milbank. The Bulldogs kept their hands on the ball for all but a minute and 17 seconds of the entire third quarter  when Vermillion finally took over on downs. Milbank had flirted with the goal in and out of the red zone, but couldn’t find the right opportunity. Jesse Schneck came close to putting up a safety when he nearly caught Nygren inside the Tanager endzone, but the score remained at 14-7.

In the fourth quarter, with the Bulldogs trailing, Milbank knew they had to perform. Tesch and Mertens kept the ball moving in the right direction until the Bulldogs were slapped with a holding penalty and were forced back. Braylen Bowsher obliged, however, by snagging a long pass on the sideline to make up for the loss in yardage. Facing fourth and nine at the 20, Mertens connected again, this time with Hanson. Hanson tipped the ball up, but hung onto it and went down at the five-yard line. At second and goal from the one-yard line, Mertens rang up another TD with a quarterback sneak. The kick by Luna was good. Things were all tied up at 14-14.

Tension ran high at the end of the fourth. Vermillion got the ball back with 5:14 to go in regulation, but Carter Gloe bagged a big sack in the backfield to put the kibosh on any plans Vermillion had for a quick score. Milbank was charged with holding. Vermillion was charged with holding. Milbank made a bad snap, but Mertens jumped on it to retain possession. Vermillion eventually sat at fourth and 14 with seven seconds to go. They decided to talk about it. Nothing brilliant must have occurred to them as the Bulldogs defense shut them down and sent the game into overtime. 

In overtime, each team was awarded four chances to score from the 10-yard line. Vermillion went first. Nygren was gobbled up by Milbank’s defense, but turned things around to pull off a TD for six. Again, the Tanagers opted for the two-point conversion. It was good, and Vermillion led 22-14.

Milbank  Mertens made quick work of getting the Bulldogs down to the three-yard line, and Tesch sealed the deal with a three-yard TD run. The score sat at 22-20. Milbank was forced to go for the two-point run, but it was incomplete. Vermillion escaped with a 22-20 victory.

Milbank played hard. They made 71 plays; Vermillion made 47.The Bulldogs accrued 293 yards to the Tanagers 218. Milbank recorded 188 yards rushing  and 105 passing. Vermillion recorded 52 yards rushing and 166 passing.

For the Bulldogs, Mertens completed 10 of 15 for 105 yards. He had 97 yards rushing. Tate Schlueter rushed for 44 yards, and Jayden Johnson added 15. Johnson also had three receptions for 26 yards. Hanson had 38 yards on two receptions. Ethan Owen led the Bulldogs in tackles with six. Johnson had five. Bowsher, Hanson, and  Schneck each had three. Mertens and Sam Rick made two. Esteban Abrego, Gloe, and Osowski made one apiece.

For Vermillion, Nygren completed five of 11 for 66. Conner Roerig had three receptions for 95 yards and Connor Peterson had four for 65 yards. Rollie French led the Panthers in tackles with 13. Landon Cerny had nine. Peterson was next at seven,


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