Bulldogs are quarterfinal bound for fourth straight season

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MFL MarMac running back Wyatt Powell scored twice in the 28-6 win against Dike-New Hartford on Oct. 28. His 177 yards on 16 carries surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Kade McElwaine posted a team-high 14.5 tackles versus the Wolverines. Twelve were solo efforts and 3.5 for a loss. He also had a sack.

Fullback Carver Blietz-Bentien carries the ball for MFL MarMac in Friday's 28-6 win.

Bryce Radloff picked up 7.5 tackles and also grabbed two interceptions against Dike-New Hartford.

Bulldog quarterback Zach Driscoll hands the ball off to running back Wyatt Powell.

Taylor Herzmann takes the Wolverine quarterback to the ground.

Karter Decker looks for a hole against Dike-New Hartford. He scored one touchdown in the MFL MarMac victory.

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

 

MFL MarMac is headed to the football playoff quarterfinals for the fourth straight season. The Bulldogs advanced with a 28-6 win over Dike-New Hartford in Monona on Friday night.

 

“We were going against a good football team, and it wasn’t easy,” said head coach Dan Anderson. “But I felt like we were in control most of the football game. The kids executed well and played fast.”

 

MFL MarMac took a quick 14-0 lead after scoring on each of the first two offensive plays—one a 76-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Zach Driscoll to wing back Karter Decker and the other a 56-yard breakaway courtesy of running back Wyatt Powell.

 

“They were a really good team, and we caught them off guard with the two deep plays. Our O-line stepped up and blocked really good,” said junior Kade McElwaine.

 

Powell converted again early in the second quarter, this time on an 85-yard catch. Dylan Jones upped the lead to 21-0 with the extra point.

 

The Wolverines’ lone touchdown came with under eight minutes to go in the quarter. They threatened to make it a one-possession game on the opening drive of the second half, but MFL MarMac’s stout defense kept them from the end zone.

 

“It changed the whole tempo of the game,” McElwaine said.

 

“When we got that stop and got the ball back, that was huge. Then we could just start running the clock,” Anderson added. “We got an extra score and kind of made them play with one arm tied behind their back in the second half. As we started to pull away, they had to throw a little more and we started smelling blood in the water and sending more blitzes and bringing a lot more pressure on the quarterback.”

 

Driscoll secured the Bulldogs’ final points, on a 50-yard run at the end of the third quarter. A Bryce Radloff interception—one of two he snagged that night—set the team up.

 

“Our defensive line, our linebackers, played well. And our DBs played really good football tonight too,” Anderson said.

 

McElwaine posted a team-high 14.5 tackles—12 of which were solo efforts and 3.5 for a loss. He also had a sack. Powell totaled 9 tackles, including 1.5 sacks, while Radloff had 7.5 tackles, Carver Blietz-Bentien 7 and Bryce Diehl 4.5.

 

Anderson was especially proud of the defense’s ability to stop the Dike-New Hartford run. Junior back Micah Walston racked up 219 yards against Cascade the previous week but had just 61 versus MFL MarMac.

 

“We saw last week that running back ran wild against Cascade. We had a good game plan to stop them,” he said. “We’ve got some good linebackers, and we worked drills all week long about closing down hard, jamming tight ends, making sure we’re not getting kicked out. The only play they had a little success on was pitch. That’s what they scored on. But they didn’t have very many big runs. We really shut them down.”

 

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, had 240 total rushing yards. Powell accounted for 177 on 16 carries, to break the 1,000-yard mark for the season. 

 

“Outside runs were working well for me, then Zach was giving me good looks through the middle. Zach played a great game,” Powell said.

 

Driscoll was 4-10 passing for 217 yards, to surpass 1,000 yards on the season. He threw two touchdowns and also took in the one himself.

 

This offensive diversity is one aspect that sets the 2022 quarterfinal team apart from others, according to Anderson.

 

“We’re more balanced than we’ve ever been. Our defense is faster than we’ve ever been. We can score a lot of different ways,” he said.

 

Since early season struggles in non-district play, Powell feels the team is more dialed in.

 

“We don’t make as many mistakes,” he said. “We play as one. We don’t get down on each other. We work through problems together. We win as a team.”

 

“It’s the chemistry between the team. We all have good relationships and we stay tight together,” McElwaine added.

 

The Bulldogs’ quarterfinal opponent will be 10-0 West Branch this Friday, Nov. 4. The players admitted there is some pressure to be the team to finally get over the hump and to the UNI Dome.

 

“It’s a great win. Now, we’re pushing to win in the quarterfinals,” Powell stated. “This is definitely the best year we have to get past there. I know our coaches will come up with a great game plan to get us past there.”

 

“If we come out with a ‘W,’ that makes school history. It’s big for us,” said McElwaine.

 

MFL MarMac and West Branch will be fairly evenly matched, having both beaten Durant by 36 points and Columbus Catholic by 20. For Anderson, the key will be to have a good game plan, play good football and execute. 

 

“We’re going against a 10-0 team at their place. No matter who you play when you go to the quarterfinals, they’re going to be good,” he shared. “I expect it to be a one touchdown game. We just have to give our best effort. Our kids will be ready to fight.”

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