There’s no sugarcoating the lopsided score from the Bulldogs’ Homecoming football game against Dell Rapids on Friday, September 22. The Quarriers – the defending state champions and the No. 1-ranked team in the state– overwhelmed Milbank 63-8.
As the saying goes: you either win or you learn. Isn’t learning what school is all about? It takes courage and grace to go out on the gridiron, the court, or to stand at the debate podium when the deck is stacked against you. The Bulldogs never gave up against Dell Rapids, and the fans who packed the stands remained loyal to the end. Congrats to every Bulldog who gives 100 percent every time or supports their team regardless of the final score.
For the Quarriers on Friday night, Mason Stubbe, Cooper Frost, and quarterback Jack Henry did most of the damage. Stubbe had three touchdowns in the first quarter, although Treyse Eastman caught a 50-yard pass in the opening minutes of the game to start Dell Rapids’ string of scores. Their first attempt to add extra points was no good. They made a bad snap and the Bulldogs made them pay, but the score at the end of the first quarter sat at a disillusioning 29-0.
In the second quarter, on a nine-yard run, Dell Rapids added another six points to their total. The extra point kick was successful to put the Quarriers ahead 36 to zip. Milbank then showed some spunk. Mertens lobbed a 29-yard pass down field that was caught by Micah Tostenson. The duo gave Milbank a first down at the Dell Rapids 35-yard line and the Bulldogs wasted no time in parlaying the opportunity into points. Mertens hurled another pass – that one up the middle to Owen Tesch. Tesch plucked it from the air and ran 34 yards for the TD. Milbank opted to run for the extra points and put two more on the board to move the score to 36-8.
The Quarriers were relentless, though, and responded with another touchdown. Dell Rapids was charged with a false start during their conversion attempt and was forced to move back five yards. In a change of tactics, they kicked for one. The score moved to 43-8. Milbank put together two more drives before the end of the half, but neither resulted in points.
In the third quarter, with the clock continuously running due to the score differential, Sam Rick replaced Mertens at quarterback for Milbank, and Frost went in for Dell Rapids. Both teams substituted players at most positions. The Quarriers managed one touchdown in the third to extend their lead to 57-8 and another in the fourth quarter to automatically end the game.
The Bulldogs gained 194 total yards. Milbank posted 141 yards passing and 53 yards rushing. Mertens completed seven of 12 for 130 yards with one touchdown. Rick was one of one for 11 yards. Mertens and Schlueter each gained 16 yards rushing. Emmett Hanson and Tate Schlueter were Milbank’s top receivers. Hanson had two receptions for 26 yards. Schueter had two for 14 yards. Jayden Johnson had one for 15 yards, and Liam Street had one for 11 yards.
Braylen Bowsher, Street, Jaxson Wiese, Esteban Abrego, and Bergen Nolting each recorded two tackles for Milbank. Schlueter, Jeter Scoular, Hanson, Landon Novy, Ethan Owen, Carter Gloe, and Jacob Erickson made one tackle apiece.
The Quarriers posted an 83 percent efficiency rating on third downs. They amassed a total of 427 yards – 50 yards passing and 377 rushing. Cole Ruesink was their leading rusher with 79 yards. Jeremiah McDougal rushed for 44 yards. Sutton Williams made four tackles, and Henry was credited with three.
What’s next? This Friday, the Bulldogs travel to Sioux Falls to square off with Sioux Falls Christian. The Chargers are currently ranked No. 4 in 11A. Kick-off is at 7 p.m.