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Paynesville Press - October 2, 2002

Dogs prevail in double overtime, 32-24

By Kevin Mehr

Sophomore linebacker Michael Mueller broke up a fourth-down pass attempt by Benson's Zach Johnson to seal the Bulldogs' 32-24 victory in double overtime on Friday night.

Homecoming is always the most exciting game of the year for football. Added to this, for the seniors, this was the last game they would ever play in front of their home crowd, and they wanted to go out with a bang.

The Bulldogs rallied from a 16-point deficit with two second half touchdowns, trailed again by eight points in overtime but managed to tie the score, and then prevailed in double overtime.

PAHS football The first half was about as ugly as it can possibly get for an offense, as the Dogs turned the ball over twice on fumbles, including once while driving to score inside Benson's two-yard line. The Dogs were also penalized five times for 40 yards and trailed 8-0 after a fast first half.

Junior lineman Derek Burris (68) and senior linebacker Ryan Glenz (25) combine to stop Benson's Mike Duncan (30) as seniors Eric Frank (50) and Russell Leyendecker (32) rush to help.

After a good lecture from coaches Kyle Nehowig and Ron Fuchs, the Dogs appeared ready to play in the second half. But Benson's Mike Duncan returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for an apparent touchdown. A penalty for an illegal block in the back brought the ball back to the Dogs' 41-yard line, but on the very next play Duncan ran in for a touchdown, which the Braves followed with another two-point conversion to lead 16-0.

Down 16-0, the Dogs came out with a little trickery in the second half. On their first play, senior halfback Kevin Mehr threw a 25-yard option pass to senior wideout Josh Teicher. But, three plays later the Dogs fumbled once again, and the Braves recovered.

On the Dogs' next possession, their drive stalled at Benson's 25-yard line, but a roughing the passer penalty on fourth down kept the drive alive. Four plays later senior Milan Virant scored from a yard out to get the Dogs on the board.

Virant, who rushed 39 times for 186 yards and four touchdowns, also ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 16-8.

The defense came up big in the second half and forced Benson to punt, giving the offense good field position again. But the Dogs fumbled for the fourth time.

In the fourth quarter, Virant returned a punt 70 yards for an apparent touchdown, but an illegal block in the back penalty negated this score. Instead the Dogs drove down the field, and Virant tied the game by scoring a touchdown from five yards out and then running in the two-point conversion as well.

The defense saved the day again on the next series, as Teicher made an outstanding play by ripping the ball out of Duncan's hands and securing the ball for the Dogs. The defense gave the offense a chance to win the game in regulation, but Paynesville turned the ball over on downs. Benson ran out the clock, sending the game into overtime.

In the first overtime, Benson got the ball first. The Bulldogs almost sacked Johnson on third down but he escaped the rush and completed a pass to the goal line. On fourth down, Johnson scored on a sneak and then ran in the two-point conversion.

Then the Dogs' offense got their shot, needing a touchdown and two-point conversion to force another overtime. After two runs for losses by Virant and an incomplete pass, the Dogs were faced with fourth and goal from the 15. Fuchs' pass to Teicher fell incomplete, but Teicher was bumped in the corner of the end zone. The pass interference penalty gave the Dogs a first down on the five-yard line. Virant ran it in, and Mehr scored the two-point conversion, sending the game to a second overtime.

This time, the Dogs got the ball first. After a key 11-yard run by senior quarterback Chris Fuchs, Virant scored his fourth touchdown of the game. Then he ran in the two-point conversion, making the score 32-24.

With the game on the line, the Dogs' defense played its best. On first down, Mueller sacked Johnson for a five-yard loss. Two plays later, senior linebacker Ryan Glenz disrupted Johnson's pass play, forcing him to run right into senior defensive end Ryan Wendlandt for the sack. On fourth down, Mueller deflected Johnson's pass at the goal line, sealing the win.

With the victory, the Bulldogs improved to 2-3 for the season overall and 1-1 in conference.

The Bulldogs' next game is on Friday at LPGE at 7:30 p.m.

Benson--0 8 8080-- 24
Paynesville--0 0 88 88-- 32

Scoring Summary
First Quarter
No scoring;
Second Quarter
Ben-Mike Duncan 7 run (John Wittenberg pass from Zach Johnson);
Third Quarter
Ben-Duncan 41 run (Jon Mikkelson pass from Johnson);
Pay-Milan Virant 3 run (Virant run);
Fourth Quarter
Pay-Virant 5 run (Virant run);
First Overtime
Ben-Johnson 1 run (Johnson run);
Pay-Virant 1 run (Mehr run);
Second Overtime
Pay-Virant 1 run (Virant run);
Individual Statistics
Rushing (attempts-yards-TDs): Milan Virant 39-186-4; Chris Fuchs 10-61; Kevin Mehr 11-40; Ryan Glenz 8-20;
Passing (completions-attempts-yards): Mehr 1-1-25; Fuchs 1-7-9;
Receiving (receptions-yards-TDs): Teicher 1-25; Virant 1-9;
Tackles: Glenz 8;
Sacks: Ryan Wendlandt 2; Michael Mueller 1.

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