OTC to take on Breckenridge on Friday at FargoDome

Chris Fronning follows the lead block of Ben Oseien during Tuesday’s Section 6A opener against Lake Park-Audubon in Henning.

The third seeded Otter Tail Central Bulldogs have advanced to their first section championship game since 2018. That season brought to an end a stretch of six consecutive trips to the section championship football game at the FargoDome. 

The Bulldogs advanced to the game after defeating sixth seeded Lake Park-Audubon by a score of 33-22 on Tuesday and upsetting second seeded Pine River-Backus on Saturday by a score of 27-6. 

OTC, who is 7-3 on the season, will take on fifth seeded Breckenridge, who is also 7-3 overall, on Friday night at 5:30 p.m. at the FargoDome. Breckenridge advanced to the section championship game after a pair of lopsided wins last week. The Cowboys defeated Menahga 35-0 in the opening round, before edging top seeded New York Mills 21-0 on Saturday. 

Lane Dilly and Mason Dalluge bring down a Lake Park-Audubon ball carrier during Tuesday’s game in Henning. 

The Bulldogs defeated the Cowboys by a score of 28-27 in the opening game of the season on Sept. 1.  

The Bulldogs currently average 29.6 points per game on offense, while giving up 16.2 points per game on defense. 

Breckenridge is averaging 31.9 points per game on offense, while giving up 20.8 points per game on defense.

The winner of the game will advance to the state football tournament, which will begin at a variety of outstate locations on Friday, Nov. 4. 

Tuesday

OTC scored 27 consecutive points to blow past Lake Park-Audubon on Tuesday night in Henning by a score of 33-22. 

Jack Mekalson put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard early in the first quarter when he found the end zone on a 9-yard run. The two-point conversion failed to leave the score at 6-0. 

Brodie Chilton, of LPA, found the end zone on a 5-yard run and converted the two-point conversion to give the Raiders their only lead of the game, by a score of 8-6. 

That’s when the OTC offense took over as they scored 27 straight points, including a pair of second quarter touchdowns by Bricker Bladow on an 8-yard and 21-yard run, as well as a 2-yard Mason Hammer touchdown to leave the score at 26-8 at halftime. 

Hammer scored his second touchdown of the game in the third quarter, this time from 4-yards out, to put the Bulldogs up 33-8 heading into the fourth quarter.

While the Bulldogs maintained a comfortable lead, things got a bit interesting at the end of the game as LPA scored a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to lead the score at 33-22. 

OTC finished with 280 yards of total offense, including 98 yards passing and 182 yards on the ground. The Bulldogs converted 15 first downs and were 5-6 on third down. The big difference in the game came in turnovers as OTC turned the ball over 3 times, while the Raiders didn’t turn the ball over once. 

Mekalson led the team in passing by going 4-5 for 98 yards. 

Bladow rushed 13 times for 108 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Hammer rushed 9 times for 44 yards and 2 touchdowns. Mekalson added 16 yards on the ground and a touchdown, while Tyler Christensen rushed 2 times for 7 yards and Chris Fronning rushed 3 times for 7 yards. 

Mason Dalluge finished with a pair of catches for 69 yards and Hammer caught 2 passes for 29 yards. 

Saturday

OTC defeated Pine River-Backus 27-7 on Saturday. 

OTC got the first points of the game when Jack Mekalson hooked up with Mason Dalluge for a 49 yard pass. Bricker Bladow then ran in the two-point conversion to put OTC on top 8-0. 

On the next possession the Tigers moved the ball down the field and scored after completing a long pass of their own.  OTC was ahead after PRB did not complete their two-point attempt.  The score remained 8-6 at the half.

In the second half OTC wasted no time as Mekalson and Dalluge hooked up again for a 66-yard passing touchdown on the first play.  

After a strong defensive stand for the Bulldog defense, Mekalson and Dalluge hooked up for their third passing touchdown to give OTC a 20-6 lead.  

In the fourth quarter Mason Hammer added to OTC’s scoring with a 2 yard touchdown and Owen Buehler added the extra point extending OTC’s lead 27-7.  

The Bulldog defense held the Tigers off the board making the game final at 27-7.  

OTC’s offensive and defensive lines (Lane Dilly, Declan Nelson, Carter Kenyon, Jonny Fielding, Sawyer Christensen) made the difference in the game allowing OTC to rush for nearly 200 yards and give up less than 75.