The Milbank football team took a long bus ride to North Sioux City to face the No. 2-ranked Dakota Valley team and play a game on artificial turf. It was Homecoming week for the Panthers, and they came onto the field fired up. Milbank won the coin toss, but opted for Dakota Valley to receive. The Panthers wasted no time putting together a 75-yard drive that ended with a 14-yard pitch-and-catch to Beau Jones for a TD. The kick was up and in to give Dakota Valley an early 7-0 lead at 10:08.
Milbank struggled, but kept their heads in the game. The Bulldogs fumbled on the return, but recovered the ball. Three plays later the Panthers picked off a pass from Milbank’s quarterback Garrett Mertens and took possession. Joe French stopped the Panthers by sacking Dakota Valley’s quarterback for a loss of seven yards, but Milbank was also slapped with a penalty.to move Dakota Valley closer to the goal. The Panthers took advantage of their position to make a 32-yard run for another TD. Their kick was no good, but the Bulldogs were charged with a penalty for making an early move, and Dakota Valley was given another chance to secure the extra point. Their second attempt was good. Dakota Valley led 14-0 with 8:16 left on the clock.
The Bulldogs couldn’t convert their effort into points on their next possession and had to punt. The Panthers took over on their own 39-yard line. Quarterback Drew Lukken hurled a pass to Trae Piel, who was wide open, and he caught it for another TD. The PAT was good and the Panthers led 21-0.
The Bulldogs rallied during their next possession, but came up about three yards shy of a first down and Dakota Valley took over on downs. Dakota Valley started at their own 41-yard line, but made little progress. On second and 11, Emmett Hanson made a big sack to keep the Panthers at the 32-yard line for third and 18. The Panthers’ quarterback dispatched a bomb way down field and it was caught, but it turned out to be a dud when the receiver was deemed illegal. Dakota Valley was forced to return the ball to Millbank. The Panthers, however, intercepted a pass to regain possession and close out the first quarter. The score sat at 21-0.
In the second quarter, with 1:42 to go on the clock, Dakota Valley moved the ball seven yards across the line and put up another six points.The kick was good and the Panthers led 28-0.
In the third quarter, Dakota Valley again ran the ball into the endzone – this time from 20 yards. The kick was good and stretched the Panthers’ lead to 35-0. They then took to the air and secured their win with another 60-yard TD pass. The kick went up and in to add the extra point to the final score of 42-0.
As a team, Milbank acquired a total of 99 yards.. Mertens completed seven of 15 passes for a total of 50 yards. Hanson made two receptions for 17 yards. Jayden Johnson contributed two catches for 13 yards. Esteban Abrego made one catch for nine yards.
On the ground, the Bulldogs accumulated 49 yards rushing. Joe French carried the ball three times to gain 21 yards. Jayden Johnson had three totes for 19 yards. Mertens added 12 yards on four carries.
For the Bulldogs defense, French led the team with five tackles, including one sack and two for losses.. Hanson had four, including a sack and one for a loss. He also recorded a crucial fumble recovery. Layten Osowski also contributed four tackles. Mertens and Jesse Schneck recorded three tackles apiece. Braylen Bowsher had two. Esteban Abrego, Bergen Nolting, Sam Rick, and Jacob Erickson each added one tackle.
Dakota Valley accumulated 186 yards passing.and 157 yards rushing. Jackson Boonstra led the team in rushing with 10 carries for 85 yards. Drew Lukken was the Panthers’ leading receiver. He had two receptions for 65 yards. Jones had three for 49 yards. Brayden Stivers led the team with five tackles.
What’s next for the Bulldogs? Milbank hosts top-ranked Dell Rapids (4-0) for the Bulldogs’ Homecoming game this Friday, September 22. Kick off is at 7 p.m.