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Glenn Pursley, Published October 26 2013

Milnor-North Sargent advances in Class 1A state football playoffs

MILNOR, N.D. – With its running game locked down, Milnor-North Sargent took to the air and flew into the state quarterfinals.

Starting quarterback Briton Bussman connected with three different receivers for touchdowns and passed for 171 yards as M-NS defeated Lakota-Edmore-Dakota Prairie 36-22 Saturday in the opening round of the North Dakota Class 1A state football tournament.

Running back Dillon Morlock was limited to 14 yards off four touches in the first half, but picked up 22 yards on a screen play for a touchdown to put the Bulldogs up 8-0 after the first quarter.

Andrew Martinson and Wyatt Mund each caught a touchdown pass in the second quarter.

“They took away our running game. Their linebackers did a good job of slowing that down,” said Bulldogs head coach Eric Olson. “We knew that we had to look elsewhere to get some yardage, and we thought we could find some holes when we threw the ball, so that’s exactly why we had to do that.”

Morlock’s touchdown in the first quarter capped a five-play, 35-yard opening drive just five minutes into play.

Bussman connected with Morlock near the sideline for the screen play, and with two defenders out front, Morlock took it 22 yards for the score.

“The inside was getting stuffed up, so (we made) a couple of adjustments, and we ended up getting our game going outside,” said Morlock. “I felt like we did good overall. We had a little rough start in the second half, but we managed to pick right back up where we left off and kept everything going.”

The Bulldogs held a 14-point lead at half, but allowed the Raiders to score on consecutive scoring drives to start the second half.

The Raiders opened the half with a 53-yard touchdown drive.

“I just told the kids that we were hurting ourselves, and we stopped ourselves a couple of times,” Raiders head coach Joe Harder said. “I told them we were going to come out and take it at them and get ourselves back in the game and we did.”

After accepting a personal foul call that placed the ball on the Bulldogs’ 5-yard line, running back Robb Kuchar broke through the line of scrimmage and into the end zone for the score.

On the Raiders’ next drive, quarterback Chris Bogdan found Dylan Donohue down field for 26 yards and a touchdown. Kuchar would run in the 2-point conversion to knot the game at 22-22.

Bogdan finished 4-for-11 with 105 yards and Kuchar led the Raiders in rushing with 87 yards off 25 carriers.

“We just had to regroup,” Olson said of the quick two scores. “We had to tighten up and play some defense and get another score on the board.”

And that’s just what the Bulldogs did.

Morlock returned a punt 40 yards to set up excellent field position. Facing a third-and-15, Martinson caught a pass from Bussman and fell just two yards short of the goal line, but would score on the next play to give M-NS an eight-point lead.

Morlock would score on the Bulldogs next drive to secure the 14-point win and a spot in the state quarterfinals. The Bulldogs will face North Prairie.

“We’ve faced adversity throughout games throughout the year, and we always battle back,” Bussman said. “And that’s what we did today.”

Olson added: “They’ve been through these pressure-packed games before.”

LEDP 0 8 14 0–22

MNS 8 14 0 14–36

M-NS–Morlock 22 pass from Bussman (Martinson run)

L-E-DP–Brogdan 10 run (Brogdan run)

M-NS–Mund 36 pass from Bussman (Morlock run)

M-NS–Martinson 20 pass from Bussman (run failed)

L-E-DP–Kuchar 5 run (run failed)

L-E-DP–Donohue 26 pass from Brogdan (Kuchar run)

M-NS–Martinson 3 run (Mund from Bussman)

M-NS–Morlock 25 run (pass failed)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: M-NS, Morlock 5-34, Martinson 13-49, Yagow 1-5. L-E-DP, Kuchar 25-87, Brogdan 9-51, Fitcher 2-22, Donohue 4-38, Minello 1-2, Aronson 3-3.

PASSING: M-NS, Bussman 10-19-0 171, Yagow 0-1-1 0. L-E-DP, Brogdan 4-11-1 105.

RECEIVING: M-NS, Morlock 1-22, Mund 3-59, Martinson 2-35, Peterson 1-8, Yagow 1-23, Noonan 1-25. L-A-DP, Fitcher 1-30, Donohue 2-41.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Glenn Pursley at (701) 241-5549