OTC to face Nevis in 9-man state semi-finals

By Chad Koenen


Otter Tail Central scored a touchdown in every quarter on Thursday night on their way to a 28-8 win over Cedar Mountain in the opening round of the state football tournament. The Bulldogs also dominated the time of possession by running nearly twice as many plays as the Cougars who ran just 44 plays for 178 total yards, compared to 74 plays and 349 yards for the Bulldogs.

OTC wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard on Thursday night in Buffalo as Mason Dalluge made a highlight reel one-handed catch in the back of the end zone over a Cedar Mountain defender to put the Bulldogs up by a score of 6-0. Lane Dilly converted the two-point conversion to give the Bulldogs an early 8-0 lead. The drive was kept alive by a fake punt deep in Cedar Mountain territory that was converted for a first down.

The Bulldogs once again marched the ball right down the field in the second quarter when Dilly found the end zone on a 2-yard run to make the score 16-0 when Dalluge converted the two-point conversion. 

Teigan Bjerke breaks up a pass in the middle of the field on Thursday night in OTC’s game against Cedar Mountain.

Unfortunately, late in the second quarter the Bulldogs went for it on a fourth down and about a half yard and were stood up at the line with just over 3 minutes remaining in the half. That’s when the Cougars struck for what would be their only touchdown of the game when they completed a 17-yard pass for a touchdown. The Cougars converted the two-point conversion to make the score 16-8 at the half.

Not wanting to leave any doubt in the outcome of the game, OTC marched the ball right down the field and scored a touchdown in the third quarter through another dominating drive on the ground to give the team a 22-8 lead when Dilly scored on a 1-yard run.

The OTC defense did its part throughout the second half by stopping Cedar Mountain in its tracks, while also giving the Bulldogs good field position. The Bulldogs scored one final time in the fourth quarter when Dilly made it a trifecta of touchdowns when he scored on a 4-yard run to leave the sore at 28-8 in favor of the Bulldogs. 

Dilly once again had another huge game for the Bulldogs after rushing 40 times for over 200-yards in the section championship game. This time around he rushed 37 times for 173 yards and 3 touchdowns. He almost single handedly outgained the entire Cedar Mountain team which had just 178 yards of total offense.

Chris Fronning rushed 13 times for 64 yards, Dalluge rushed 5 times for 13 yards and Jack Mekalson rushed 1 time for 2 yards.

Mekalson had an efficient day through the air as he went 10-14 for 97 yards and a touchdown, while Dalluge caught 5 passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. Dilly caught 3 passes for 22 yards and Teigan Bjerke caught 2 passes for 19 yards. 

As a team the Bulldogs finished with 252 yards on the ground and 97 yards through the air. They went 4-12 on third downs, but were able to convert 5-6 attempts on fourth down to keep their drives alive throughout the night.

With the win the fourth ranked Bulldogs improved to 11-0 and will face third ranked Nevis in the 9-man state semi-finals on Thursday at 1 p.m. at US Bank Stadium. 

Nevis comes into the game with an identical 11-0 record after defeating top ranked and defending 9-man state champion Mountain Iron-Buhl in the opening round of the state tournament by a score of 12-8. The Tigers are currently ranked third in the QRF and average 44.5 points per game on offense, while giving up 8.8 points per game on defense. 

The Bulldogs are the top ranked team in the QRF and average 39.6 points per game on offense, while giving up 13.4 points per game on defense. 

The winner of Thursday’s game will take on either fifth ranked Kingsland (12-0 overall) or second ranked Fertile-Beltrami (12-0 overall)  in the 9-man state championship game on Saturday, Nov. 25 at 10 a.m. at US Bank Stadium.