OTC to host Hillcrest in Henning on Friday night

By Chad Koenen


The Otter Tail Central Bulldogs have ushered in a new era of football as the team is competing in 9-man football this fall. The 9-man schedule is off to a rousing start as the Bulldogs are 2-0 overall and have outscored their opponents by a 54-23 margin. 

On Friday night the Bulldogs traveled west on Highway 210 to take on the Underwood Rockets, a game the Bulldogs won by a score of 34-23. 

This week the 2-0 Bulldogs will host one of the highest scoring teams in 9-man when the 1-1 Hillcrest Lutheran Academy Rockets come to Henning. The Comets are averaging 52 points per game on offense, while surrendering 43.5 points per game on defense. Last week the Comets defeated the Ortonville Trojans by a score of 68-42, but fell to Fosston in their opening game of the season on August 31 by a score of 45-36. 

OTC is averaging 27 points per game on offense and are surrendering just 11.5 points per game on defense, which is one of the best in 9-man. 

Friday’s game will be held at Don Seipkes Field in Henning at 7 p.m. 

August 31

In their first 9-man game in program history, the Otter Tail Central Bulldogs blanked perennial power Goodrich/Grygla by a score of 20-0 on August 31 in Battle Lake. 

The Bulldogs got things going in the first quarter when Teigan Bjerke caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Jack Mekalson in the first quarter to make the score 6-0 in favor of the Bulldogs. 

After a back-and-forth second quarter with stalled drives for both teams, Lane Dilly caught a 4-yard pass from Mekalson late in the second quarter to go up by a score of 14-0 following the two-point conversion. 

The final score of the game came in the fourth quarter when Mekalson gave the Bulldogs a bit of breathing room by scoring on a 2-yard run to make the score 20-0. 

The Bulldogs outgained the Chargers by a margin of 327-175 with 178 of those yards coming through the air. The Bulldogs were also efficient on fourth downs as they went 5-8 on fourth down and held the Chargers to just 5-13 on third downs.

Mekalson led the charge offensively by going 12-21 passing for 178 yards and a pair of touchdowns. 

Tyler Christensen led the way rushing with 48 yards on 16 carries, while Mekalson had 45 yards on 10 carries. Dilly rushed 11 times for 42 yards, Mason Dalluge had 3 carries for 10 yards, Chris Fronning had 1 rush for 2 yards and Anthony Rousu rushed 1 time for 2 yards.

Dalluge had a big game receiving as he had 7 catches for 101 yards, while Dilly had 4 catches for 48 yards and a touchdown. Bjerke added 2 catches for 42 yards and a touchdown.


In many ways, Friday’s game between the Otter Tail Central Bulldogs and Underwood Rockets was just as much of a track meet as a football game. With nearly 700 yards of total offense and 57 combined points, the two teams found their fair share of success on the offensive end of the field. 

Fortunately for the Bulldogs, they had 384 total yards of offense and rushed for 203 yards as they mustered their way to a 34-23 win over the Rockets.

Tyler Christensen broke a scoreless tie in the first quarter when he scored his first of two touchdowns in the game, this time on a 1-yard run to make the score 6-0 in favor of OTC. Christensen added a second touchdown on a 1-yard run early in the second half to make the score 14-0 following the two-point conversion. 

Following an Underwood field goal from 32-yards out, Mason Dalluge was on the receiving end of a 32-yard pass from Jack Mekalson to make the score 20-3 in favor of OTC. 

Underwood added a touchdown late in the second quarter when Drew Evavold connected with Evan Lundgren from 16-yards out to end a wild first half with OTC leading 20-10. 

The Rockets made a game of it early in the fourth quarter when Collin Lukken scored on a 9-yard run to make the score 20-17 in favor of OTC.

Dalluge wasted little time in getting the Bulldogs back in front by two scores as he took the ensuing kick off 87-yards to the end zone to make the game 28-17 following the two-point conversion. He scored his second touchdown of the quarter a bit later when he caught a 19-yard pass from Braxtyn Cameron to make the score 34-17. 

Lukken scored his second touchdown of the quarter for Underwood when he scored on a 57-yard touchdown run to make the score 34-23 in favor of OTC. The final quarter featured an amazing 27 combined points between the two teams.

The Bulldogs were led offensively by Mekalson who went 9-15 for 162 yards and a touchdown through the air, while Cameron completed his only pass for 19 yards and a score. 

Lane Dilly led the way on the ground with 18 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown, while Christensen carried the ball 16 times for 57 yards and a touchdown. Mekalson rushed 5 times for 32 yards, while Dalluge rushed 3 times for 17 yards and Chris Fronning rushed 3 times for 8 yards.

Dalluge added 6 catches for 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns receiving, while Dilly caught 4 passes for 60 yards.