MILNOR, N.D. – Maple Valley/Enderlin football coach Brett Kapaun expected "a dogfight" Friday against Milnor/North Sargent, but what he got was completely unexpected.
Instead of a close fight to the finish, the previously-undefeated Falcons fell 28-6 to a feisty Bulldog squad that put together 20 points in the second half.
It was an outcome that left both coaches shocked..
"Watching Enderlin/Maple Valley against Northern Cass last week we knew the type of team they had but I never imagined a 28-6 spread," MNS coach Eric Olson said.
Both coaches credited their linemen for the game's outcome.
The Bulldogs' used their big offensive line to open gaps for running backs Dillon Morlock and Andrew Martinson, both of whom continually punched through the MVE defense.
"It all starts with our front line, offensively and defensively," Olson said. "We knew that it was going to be a tough challenge but I thought our O-line and D-line did absolutely fantastic stopping the run defensively then establishing the line of scrimmage offensively."
The success with both ways.
MNS defensive lineman Wyatt Mund and Zachary Drevlow worked with linebacker Rahk Hansen to get three big sacks on Falcon quarterback Jordan Haseleu, which forced key turnovers.
"I don't know what it was," Kapaun said. "Our offensive line didn't do anything. They didn't block very well; we didn't run the ball well for a second week in a row. That's key to us.
"We've got kids dropping the ball, we've got kids limping around. You could tell we weren't ready to play football, and Milnor was, and they showed it to us."
The game started slow as MNS worked their way to a first down on the Falcons 4-yard line when the whistle blew ending a scoreless first quarter.
The Bulldogs got on the board five seconds into the second quarter with a run by Martinson. The initial two-point conversion run by Morlock was good for two points but a holding penalty on MNS pushed them back 10 yards for a replay. Undeterred, a pass from quarterback Briton Bussman to receiver Chance Noonan made the score 8-0.
The Falcons responded with a 45-yard pass from Haseleu to receiver Daniel Lindgren that set up a first-and-goal at the Bulldogs 9-yard line, but four downs later MVE turned the ball over one yard from the goal line and finished the half down 8-0.
"They took that big drive and we couldn't answer in the first half," Kapaun said.
The Bulldogs received the ball in the second half and drove to a first down at the MVE 16-yard line. The Falcons defense was able to limit MNS to four yards in three downs and an incomplete pass to Noonan turned the ball over.
Regaining possession on their own 12-yard line, the Falcons lost a yard on a run by Dacotah McGough, but on the next play receiver Austin Dixson ran in a pass from Haseleu to get MVE on the board. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score 8-6 with 6:22 left in the third quarter.
Morlock returned the ensuing kick to the Falcons 30-yard line and a face masking penalty on the MVE kickoff team would give the Bulldogs an extra 15 yards. Again, the Falcons defense held strong, but Martinson turned a fourth-and-two situation into a first down two yards out of the end zone. He scored on the next play but couldn't convert the run, leaving the score at 14-6 with 4:03 left in the third quarter.
The Falcons regained possession at their own 31-yard line, put a short run, and incomplete pass and the sack by Drevlov, coupled with an illegal procedure penalty on MVE, had them punting from the 10-yard line.
The kick went nearly straight up in the air and gave the Bulldogs posession at the Falcons' 18-yard line. MNS pushed to a first-and-goal at the 7-yard line as the third quarter ended, and Morlock ran in a touchdown three seconds into the fourth quarter. A conversion pass to receiver Colin Yagow increased the lead to 22-6.
Hansen's sack and two incomplete passes on the Falcons' following drive forced a punt that was returned to the 50-line. Another face mask and a personal foul penalty added to successful runs by Martinson, giving the Bulldogs a first down at the MVE five. Despite the loss of 10 yards to a holding penalty, Martinson still worked in a one-yard touchdown run to make the final score 28-6.
Despite the loss, the Falcons remain at the top of the Class A Region 1 standings.
The Falcons will play Oakes, one of three teams tied for second place, Friday in Enderlin.
Kapaun said his team will have a lot of work to do between then and now, including three days of pushing the blocking sled for his offensive line.
"We've got to figure it out next week. We've still got a chance to win the region but we've got to play better football than that," he said.