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|Paynesville Press - October 24, 2001|
Bulldogs upset LPGE, 42-35
The Paynesville Bulldogs rebounded from a couple of tough road losses to beat the fourth-ranked football team in Class 3A. The Bulldogs traveled to Long Prairie on Wednesday, Oct. 17, and beat the LPGE Thunder 42-35. |
The Bulldogs came up with one of their best performances of the season, as they built a 42-14 lead in the fourth quarter before letting LPGE climb back in the game at the end.
The Bulldogs came out on fire as they took the opening kickoff and went 67 yards in six plays and scored on a three-yard touchdown run by junior Milan Virant. The big play on the opening drive was a 34-yard pass play from junior quarterback Chris Fuchs to senior end Steve Mages.
The Thunder responded with a touchdown on a 42-yard pass play and took the lead with the extra point kick 7-6.
The Bulldogs showed their muscle on the next drive as they drove 64 yards in seven plays for their second touchdown of the night. Fuchs went over from one yard out for the score to make it 12-7 in favor of the Bulldogs.
The Bulldog offense rolled for 166 yards of offense in the first quarter.
Paynesville dominated the second quarter, coming up with 16 points and shutting out the Thunder.
The Bulldogs' first score of the quarter came on an 82-yard interception return for a touchdown by senior Nic Glenz. Glenz picked off a Thunder pass that had been deflected by senior defensive tackle Jason Leyendecker and outran the Thunder tacklers to the end zone. Fuchs scored a two-point conversion to make the score 20-7.
The Bulldogs scored again with just 55 seconds left in the half when junior Kevin Mehr scored from two yards out. Fuchs added another two-point conversion run, and the Bulldogs went into halftime with a 28-7 lead.
The Bulldogs registered five quarterback sacks in the first half, led by senior Chris Nosbush, who tackled the Thunder quarterback three times himself.
The Bulldogs had a let down to start the third quarter as the Thunder came out and scored on their second play. The 71-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tschida to Matt Larson came only 15 seconds into the half.
The Paynesville offense responded with a great drive, going 76 yards in 11 plays thanks to some great blocking by their offensive line. Seniors Jake Nyffeler, Chris Jacobson, Ryan Smith, Jon Schefers, and Aaron Lang opened holes for the Bulldogs' ground game.
The Bulldogs rushed for 369 yards on the ground and pounded out 22 first downs. Both Virant and Mehr had 100-yard rushing games.
Virant scored on a six-yard run to cap the drive and the Bulldogs led 34-14.
The Bulldogs started another drive at the end of the third quarter and made it to the 20-yard line of the Thunder at the end of the quarter.
The Bulldogs finished the drive early in the fourth quarter when Virant scored his third touchdown of the game on a two-yard run. Fuchs threw a pass to Glenz for the two-point conversion, and the Bulldogs had what seemed to be a comfortable 42-14 lead with 10 minutes left in the game.
The Thunder then showed why they were undefeated in seven previous contests and ranked fourth in the state. They scored two touchdowns only 14 seconds apart, thanks to a Bulldog fumble, to close to within 42-28.
The Bulldogs then took some costly penalties, which forced them to give the ball back to LPGE. The Thunder took advantage and scored their third touchdown of the fourth quarter to pull to within 42-35 with 38 seconds left.
The Thunder attempted an onside kick, but it was recovered by the Bulldogs' Ryan Schneider. This enabled the Dogs to run out the clock.
The two teams combined for 810 yards of offense. The Bulldogs' defense held the Thunder to 14 yards rushing, but the Thunder did pass for 359 yards. Tschida threw five touchdown passes, four to receiver Matt Larson, who caught nine passes for 223 yards.
Coach Kyle Nehowig was extremely happy with the play of seniors Chris Nosbush and Jeremy Sogge, who came up with big plays for the Dogs when they needed them.
The Bulldogs ended the regular season record with a 5-3 record and finished second in the West Central Conference South with a record of 3-2. The loss was the first for LPGE, which fell to 7-1.
The Bulldogs are the fifth seed in the section playoffs and traveled to Staples to play the fourth-seeded Staples-Motley at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
If the Bulldogs win, they will play the winner between top-seeded Albany and eighth-seeded Wadena. The sectional semifinals will be held on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 7:30 p.m. The higher seed will host the game, so if Albany wins, the game will be at Albany. If both Paynesville and Wadena win, the Bulldogs would host Wadena on Saturday night.
The football playoffs are single elimination, so if the Bulldogs lose to Staples-Motley their season will be over.
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