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|Paynesville Press - October 16, 2002|
LQPV rallies to beat Dogs, 26-12
Three turnovers in the second half led to 20 of Lac Qui Parle Valley's 26 points as the Bulldogs lost 26-12 on Friday in Madison.|
On a windy night, the Bulldogs tried to do something they haven't done in five years: beat the Eagles.
The Bulldogs started out strong by claiming an early lead on a one-yard scoring run from senior halfback Kevin Mehr and took a 6-0 lead into halftime.
But seniors Ryan Glenz and Ryan Wendlandt -Ęboth standouts on defense - left the game with leg injuries, and the Bulldogs gave up 26 points in the second half, thanks in part to those three turnovers.
The Eagles took the opening drive of the second half 75 yards for a touchdown and took an 8-6 lead. The Bulldogs were forced to punt, and the Eagles' Blake Sandven returned the punt 58 yards, setting up a 12-yard run by Nick Pillarski, which increased LQPV's lead to 14-6.
On the ensuing kickoff, Mehr got a great block from seniors Milan Virant and Russell Leyendecker, and returned the kick 65 yards for a touchdown, cutting LQPV's lead to 14-12.
But the defense failed to stop the Eagles' offense as quarterback Jon Hanson hit wide receiver Scott Owens on a 53-yard strike to put the Eagles ahead 20-6.
On the Bulldogs' next possession, senior quarterback Chris Fuchs threw a quick pass to Mehr, who couldn't hang on to the ball and the Eagles' defense recovered.
Pillarski then took the ball on the next play for the Eagles and ran for 24 yards to put the game out of reach, making the final score 26-12.
For the second week in a row, the Bulldogs played well in the first half, but an ugly second half cost them a conference game.
"It's really disappointing to lose games like this. We had the game won, but we just made stupid mistakes on offense, and our defense fell apart in the second half. We still have one more game to get everything right, and then the playoffs start. And that's what really counts," said junior tackle Derek Burris.
The loss dropped the Dogs to 1-3 in the conference and 2-5 overall. The Bulldogs' next game is tonight at Morris. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
The Bulldogs are currently seeded sixth in their subsection, and if the playoffs started today, they would face Staples-Motley, whom they upset in the first round of last year's playoffs. If they drop to the seventh seed, they would face either Albany or Melrose in the first round of the playoffs.
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