“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents…” Although Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote this about London in 1830, he could have been describing A.B Campbell Stadium in Milbank during the Bulldogs-Cubs football game on Friday, October 13 in 2023.
Despite the foul weather, Joe Schulte presented a heartwarming solo of “The Star Spangled Banner” on euphonium, and Milbank’s defense and offense came onto the field fired up. Moises Luna kicked off to Chamberlain and the Bulldogs’ D stepped up to force the Cubs into a three-and-out.
On Milbank’s first possession, they started at their own 47-yard line. Quarterback Garrett Mertens kept the ball for a four-yard gain to get the Bulldogs into Chamberlain territory on second and six. Mertens’ next move was to hand off to Owen Tesch. Tesch took it down to the 41-yard line. Mertens liked the results so much he repeated the play and went back to Tesch again. Tesch squirreled the ball away and scampered 41 yards for the TD. Luna put the kick between the sticks to give Milbank the lead at 7-0 with 9:18 still on the clock in the first quarter.
Milbank’s D returned to the field and sacked Chamberlain’s quarterback – 6’ 4”, 220-pound Cruz Soulek– on the first play of their second possession, but the Bulldogs were slapped with a penalty. Working then from inside the 20 yard-line, Soulek made a quick pitch- and-catch to get the Cubs inside the five-yard line. On the next snap, Soulek held onto the ball and took it into the endzone for six. Miller’s kick was good for one. The scoreboard read Milbank 7 and Chamberlain 7.
In the second quarter, Milbank switched things up by bringing in Braylen Bowsher to play quarterback on a few plays. The Bulldogs threatened, but they couldn’t quite seal the deal. Chamberlain, however, always seemed to have an answer. They worked their way to the four-yard line where Soulek made another pitch-and-catch to Miller to sneak in TD number two and put Chamberlain up13-7. Miller’s kick was on target again to send the score to 14-7. Chamberlain then tacked on seven more points on a long pass to Sawyer Donovan and another kick by Miller to push the Cub’s lead to 21-7.
In the third quarter, the rain continued to pour down and wind whipped the referees’ uniforms like racing flags. Chamberlain made a four-yard run for the border to put up another six points, but their extra-point kick was no good. The Cubs led 27-7.
The Bulldogs weren’t out of fight and finesse just yet, though. Emmett Hanson pulled down a seven-yard pass for a touchdown and edged the Bulldogs closer at 27-13. Their two-point conversion attempt was not good, so the score remained at 27-13. Soulek then turned around and went on a 43-yard romp to add a touchdown and Chamberlain’s lead mushroomed to 33-13. But the Cubs failed on their extra point attempt and the score stayed at 33-13.
The fourth quarter was less exciting, unless you enjoy watching big boys jump over mud puddles, and your opponents take the victory formation to burn the clock when your team is behind. Surprisingly, there was just one turnover in the entire game, and that was only because the ball came loose when Mertens slipped on the soaked and slippery turf. The final score sat at 33-13.
Milbank moved to 2-6 this year with their last game of the regular season coming up this Thursday at West Central. Kick off is at 7 p.m. in Hartford.
Against the Cubs, Milbank accumulated 320 total yards – 223 rushing and 97 passing. Mertens connected on six of 11 for 81 yards in the air. Bowsher was one of two for 10 yards, and Sam Rick completed one for six yards. Mertens also added 66 yards rushing. Tate Schlueter had 38, and Bowsher, 15.
Jayden Johnson bagged three receptions to lead the Dawgs. Hanson and Bowsher each hauled in two, and Esteban Abrego caught one. Schlueter and Jesse Schneck protected the Bulldogs with six tackles apiece. Hanson and Ethan Owen each pulled down three. Bowsher, Abrego, Landon Novy, and Layten Osowski razed two each. Johnson and Jairek Frazee each had one.
Chamberlain moved the ball for a total of 412 yards. Soulek completed seven of 12 for 101 yards. He also amassed 233 yards rushing. Miller got credit for 10 tackles. River Niewenhuis made nine. Chamberlain collected 19 first downs; Milbank garnered 18.