By Kelsie Hoitomt
BOYCEVILLE – The Bulldogs hosted the Athens football team last Friday night for the level 2 playoff game where they shut out the Bluejays 18-0.
The Bluejays were the number three seed in Division 6, coming from the Cloverwood conference with a 7-1 record.
They weren’t much competition against the Bulldogs’ defense as they held them to 32 yards passing and 107 yards rushing.
The Bulldog’s spark was ignited after Dominic Olson intercepted a pass by Conner Ellenbecker during the Bluejays first possession of the game.
The Bulldogs took over on their own 26 yard line. A 43 yard run by Zach Klassen brought the ball to the 13 yard line, but an unsuccessful fourth down attempt gave the Bluejays the ball on their own five yard line.
The Bulldogs were able to hold the Bluejays and force them to punt on the 13 yard line.
The punt was blocked and recovered in the end zone by Tyler Draeger for the Bulldogs first touchdown of the game. With three minutes left in the quarter the Bulldogs were up 6-0.
The Bluejays following possession ended after they attempted a field goal which was unsuccessful to start the second quarter.
The Bulldogs second touchdown of the game came during their first possession of the second quarter.
A 21 yard run by Klassen and then a 39 yard run by Olson helped push the Bulldogs down the field to the 11 yard line.
However, a flag pushed them back ten yards but they were able to redeem themselves on a pass by Matt Leach to Josh Cormican for a 22 yard touchdown completion to put the score at 12-0.
The Bulldogs final touchdown of the game came in the middle of the quarter after Draeger recovered a fumble for a 40 yard run. The two-point conversion try failed.
The first half would end with two penalties called against the Bluejays, Ellenbecker was sacked by Klassen and Athens punt fake was unsuccessful.
The third quarter was a defensive battle as each team forced the other to punt throughout the entire 12 minutes.
Klassen had his second sack on Ellenbecker, which forced them to punt with under a minute left in the quarter.
The Bulldogs had the ball on their own 45 yard line and a pass from Leach to Olson for 12 yards started off the fourth quarter.
The Bluejays first possession in the quarter would end near the end zone after Cormican intercepted a pass and ran the ball to the 23 yard line.
With the clock winding down, the Bulldogs started to switch out their starting players with Brady Schutts taking over as quarterback.
The Bulldogs looked to score one last time after a turnover on downs by the Bluejays left the ball on the 11 yard line.
Draeger and Wyatt Hansen carried the ball to the six yard line, but a failed fourth down attempt would give the Bluejays the ball on the four yard line.
With less than 15 seconds left in the game, Ellenbecker was sacked for the third time and the ball was recovered by Justin Schulz to seal the Bulldogs win.
The Bulldogs held the Bluejays to 139 total yards with 32 yards passing and 107 yards rushing.
The Bulldogs had a total of 281 yards with 247 yards rushing and 34 yards receiving.
Klassen led the game with 130 rushing yards on 16 carries. Olson had 73 yards rushing on 10 carries and 12 yards on one reception. Will Kraft rushed for 30 yards, Hansen rushed for five yards, Leach and Cormican each rushed for four yards, with one 22 yard reception by Cormican and Draeger rushed for a yard.
The Bulldogs will face-off against the Division 6 number one seeded team, the Regis Ramblers, at the Regis High School for the level 3 playoff game on Friday night at 7:00 p.m.
The winner of that game will advance to play the winner of the Edgar versus Rosholt game on either November 9 or 10.