Another dominant defensive effort keeps Bulldogs on hunt for district title

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One of the most dominant defensive performances came from MFL MarMac senior linebacker Kade McElwaine, who collected 11 of the team’s 49.5 total tackles, including 7 solo and 1.5 for loss. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Quinn McGeough was one of two MFL MarMac runners to surpass 100 yards in the victory over Denver.

Quarterback Carver Blietz-Bentien hurls the ball downfield. He completed 5 of 8 passes for 36 yards and a touchdown.

Running back Wyatt Powell powers past Cyclone defenders in the MFL MarMac victory.

Cornerback Bryce Radloff breaks up a pass versus Denver.

The Bulldog offensive line helped runners amass over 270 yards on the ground.

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


Another dominant defensive performance keeps the MFL MarMac football team’s hunt for a Class 1A - District 3 title alive. The fourth-ranked Bulldogs defeated Denver 28-7 on Oct. 6, improving their overall record to 6-1 and district mark to 3-1.


“We did what we needed to do tonight. We took care of business,” said head coach Dan Anderson.


Capitalizing on a 56-yard return by Kade McElwaine, MFL MarMac took a 7-0 lead on the opening drive of the game. Bryce Radloff punched the ball into the end zone and Ben Krambeer completed the extra point.


“They’re a good football team, ranked fifth with one loss. Getting momentum at the start of a game is a big thing, and we did,” Anderson said.


The Bulldogs upped the lead to 14-0 right before halftime, this time on a 10-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Carver Blietz-Bentien to Radloff.


Running back Wyatt Powell then created a 21-0 advantage on a 21-yard score midway through the third quarter.


Although Denver trimmed the lead to 21-7 with 5:30 remaining in the game, Blietz-Bentien waltzed into the end zone from a yard out a few minutes later, putting MFL MarMac back up by 21 points.


The final touchdown was significant because it maintained a plus-17-point margin.


“We want that plus-17 because it’s the most points you can get for the [district] tiebreaker. We had to try and score again, and we did,” Anderson said.


The Cyclones managed just 110 yards of total offense, including 38 on 17 carries for running back Micah Grier, already an 1,100-yard rusher this season.


“[Denver is] big and physical up front. They bullied everyone they played this year except Sumner-Fred. But they couldn’t really do much,” Anderson said. “The defense just played lights out tonight. I’m so impressed with how they flew to the ball. Good pad level and good tackling.”


One of the most dominant performances came from linebacker McElwaine, who Anderson likened to another coach on defense. The senior collected 11 of the team’s 49.5 total tackles, including 7 solo and 1.5 for loss. 


Blietz-Bentien was right behind McElwaine with 10 total tackles—1.5 of which were for a loss—and contributed on a sack. Bryce Diehl came in at 4.5 tackles, while Elias Hatt and Tristen Koehn each had 4.


Offensively, MFL MarMac racked up 276 rushing yards. That included a pair of 100-yard performances by Powell, who carried the ball 13 times for 101 yards and a touchdown, and fullback Quinn McGeough, who picked up 111 yards on 21 attempts.


Quarterback Blietz-Bentien accumulated 53 yards and a touchdown on four carries, in addition to completing 5 of 8 passes for 36 yards and a touchdown. Backup Hatt also saw quality reps at the QB position, hitting 2 of 3 passes for 32 yards.


Powell caught a trio of passes for 38 yards, Radloff had a single catch for 10 yards and Eli Hanson netted 14 yards on one reception.


“Elias came in and did a nice job when we played him. We felt comfortable handing the ball off,” Anderson said.


Offensively, the coach added, “we did exactly what we wanted to do. We saw things on film that we believed we could trap these guys. They’re big up front, their defensive line. It’s hard to move those guys, but sometimes you use what they want to do against them. If they want to come straight up field and rush hard, we had angles and can kick ‘em out. Our offensive line was able to create the angles. We were also able to complete some passes out in the flats.”


MFL MarMac will close out the regular season Friday, Oct. 13, at Central Springs. At the top of the list is taking care of business against the 1-6 Panthers, said Anderson. Then, the Bulldogs hope for a Denver loss to Dike-New Hartford.


“Then there’s a really good chance we’ll be district champions,” he stated. “That’s been our goal the whole time. Everyone [in the district] has lost a game, so we’re right where we need to be. We put ourselves in a good position after we lost to Sumner-Fredericksburg. We’ve got the tiebreaker points.”


“Even if Denver wins that ballgame, the worst we can be is second place, so we’ll be hosting a playoff game,” Anderson continued. “We’re happy with that too.”

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