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Paynesville Press - October 23, 2002

Virant sets school records in 34-29 win

By Kevin Mehr

Senior halfback Milan Virant ran for 308 yards and scored five touchdowns in the Bulldogs football team's 34-29 victory over Morris Area on Wednesday, Oct. 16. The game was played midweek due to the two-day school holiday on Thursday and Friday.

Virant broke the school's career rushing record with this effort.

The Bulldogs knew that they had to come out early and put the game away in the first half. After subpar games at LPGE and against LQPV, the Dogs needed confidence, and they got just that in the first half.

Senior Milan Virant With Virant running at will against the Tigers, the Bulldogs led 28-15 at the half, thanks to four first-half touchdown runs by Virant.

But the Bulldogs knew the game was not over, as they have seen leads slip away in the second half in their two previous games. With a little more confidence, the Bulldogs came out ready to play in the second half this time.

Senior Milan Virant - shown in action earlier this season - broke two school rushing records and scored five touchdowns in leading the Dogs to a 34-29 win last week.

On the Bulldogs' first series of the second half, they were forced to punt. The high punt sailed into the wind, and senior Eric Frank ran downfield and crushed Morris' Brett Winkleman.

The Tigers' scored on that drive on a 30-yard run, cutting the Dogs' lead to 28-22. The Dogs' offense then turned the ball over on the Morris five-yard line on a fumbled snap exchange from senior center Brad Person to freshman Jamie Paul, who was making the first varsity start of his young career.

But the Dogs' defense forced the Tigers to punt again, and Virant returned it 32 yards for his fifth touchdown of the game.

Morris would score once more in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough as the Bulldogs prevailed 34-29.

"The highlight of the game for me was seeing Eric crush that guy on the punt. I've seen a lot of good hits in my day, but none like that," said assistant coach Jerry Hunt.

Going into the game against Morris, Virant needed 158 yards to break the school record for rushing yards in a career. Apparently, that wasn't enough, as he not only broke the career rushing record but he also broke the school record for yards in a single game.

"This is awesome. I feel great, but there's no 'I' in team," said a modest Virant. "I couldn't have broken any records this year if it weren't for my teammates. I thank all of you for helping me obtain this record."

With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 2-3 in the conference and 3-5 overall.

The Bulldogs received the #6 seed for the section playoffs and played at Albany on Tuesday night.

If they win on Tuesday, the Dogs will either play at #2 Staples-Motley or will host #7 St. Cloud Cathedral on Saturday, Oct. 26. Game time will be 7:30 p.m.

Paynesville--14 14 60-- 34
Morris--7 8 77 -- 29

Scoring Summary
First Quarter
Mor-Adam Love 1 run (Andy Sharatt kick);
Pay-Milan Virant 2 run (Virant run);
Pay-Virant 57 run (pass failed);
Second Quarter
Pay-Virant 5 run (Josh Teicher pass from Kevin Mehr);
Mor-Love 51 run (Pat Mahoney pass from Eric Meischner);
Pay-Virant 1 run (run failed);
Third Quarter
Mor-Tore Bredvik 30 run (Sharatt kick);
Pay-Virant 32 punt return (run failed);
Fourth Quarter
Mor-Brett Winkelman 47 pass from Meischner (Sharatt kick).

Individual Statistics
Rushing (attempts-yards-TDs): Milan Virant 43-308-4; Kevin Mehr 17-108; Mike Mueller 3-40;
Passing (completions-attempts-yards-TDs): None;
Receiving (receptions-yards-TDs): None;
Interceptions: Russell Leyendecker 1; Brandon Berg 1;
Sacks: Ryan Wendlandt 1; Eric Frank 1; Mehr 1.

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