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On to the second round: MFL MarMac advances with 55-3 win over Hudson

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Bulldogs Tristen Koehn (left) and Brayden Gordon bring down the Hudson quarterback in MFL MarMac’s 55-3 win in the playoff opener. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

MFL MarMac demonstrated its quarterback depth in Friday’s game, with reps for both Elias Hatt (pictured) and Carver Blietz-Bentien. The two completed three passes—all for touchdowns.

Brandon Christofferson dives for the ball in MFL MarMac's postseason win against the Pirates.

Carver Blietz-Bentien split time at fullback and quarterback versus the Pirates.

Offensive linemen Averey Thornton and Aiden Schoulte take on a Pirate defender.

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

 

The MFL MarMac football team is headed to the second round of the Class 1A playoffs thanks to a 55-3 win over Hudson in the Oct. 20 opener in Monona. It was both a dominant offensive and defensive performance for the Bulldogs, who cruised to their highest point total of the season.

 

“I thought we’d win this game, but didn’t know we’d put up 55,” said head coach Dan Anderson. “There’s always something you can work on, but we played pretty solid all around. Both quarterbacks threw the ball well. Our offensive and defensive lines dominated and were extremely physical.”

 

The Bulldogs put up 20 points in the first quarter alone, despite a fumble on the opening drive. Carver Blietz-Bentien, splitting time at quarterback with Elias Hatt in order to get some reps at fullback, scored the first touchdown on a 53-yard breakaway. Regular fullback Quinn McGeough tacked on a 16-yard run late in the quarter, before Blietz-Bentien scored again—this time from 9 yards out. Bryce Radloff returned a punt 90 yards to the end zone midway through the second quarter.

 

“With a punt return, the ball’s in the air awhile, so you never know where guys are. With me, I have so much trust in everyone who blocks for me. I have time to look and they really hold guys off. I have holes you can probably drive a semi through,” Radloff said.

 

He later added a 62-yard touchdown that put MFL MarMac up 34-3 at halftime, with the Pirates’ only points coming on a first quarter field goal.

 

The offensive onslaught continued in the second half, as running back Wyatt Powell reached the end zone on a 54-yard completion, then Radloff caught a 6-yard TD. Receiver Brandon Christofferson closed out the game with a 45-yard score.

 

MFL MarMac amassed 426 yards of offense, including 321 on the ground. McGeough topped the list with 101 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Blietz-Bentien earned 98 yards and a pair of TDs on five attempts, while Radloff had 62 yards and a touchdown on a lone carry.

 

The quarterback tandem of Blietz-Bentien and Hatt completed three of seven passes for 105 yards. Each completion resulted in a touchdown.

 

“We wanted Elias to get a chance and Carver in the fullback spot. That gives Quinn a little break,” said Anderson on the switch-up. The move also establishes more depth, “and that’s what you need in the playoffs. It gives teams a little more to look at.”

 

Anderson believed Hudson’s spread offense attributed to the Bulldogs’ offensive success. The Pirate defense was unaccustomed to MFL MarMac’s style of football.

 

“If you run a spread offense and practice a spread offense all the time, your defense is going against that and it’s kind of your mentality,” he explained. “In the second half, people might say we were throwing the ball, but we have to. We have to keep practicing throwing the ball. We have to make some teams back off in the playoffs and show them we can complete some passes.”

 

Hudson boasted its own offensive threat in quarterback Camden Davis, who completed 20 of 36 passes for 180 yards. Overall, the Pirates threw the ball 43 times—the most attempts the Bulldogs saw all season.

 

“It’s probably the best passing team we’ve played all year. They’re a spread team. We knew their quarterback was huge and can move, scramble and throw,” Radloff said. “But our DBs just played lock down all game. Coach Anderson, and credit to our DB coach Luke Arenz, working us and preparing us for situations like that.”

 

Luckily, noted Anderson, most of Hudson’s completions were short.

 

“I tell the guys don’t worry about that. They’re not going to beat us throwing 5-yard hitches all night long. Just keep scoring and they’re going to have to throw it deep, and eventually they’re going to drop one or we’ll get a sack,” he said.

 

MFL MarMac defenders picked off three passes—one each by Radloff, McGeough and Christofferson. The defense also recorded two sacks—both by Bryce Diehl—and eight tackles for loss.

 

Radloff’s 8.5 total tackles led the team, and Blietz-Bentien had 6.5. Kade McElwaine and Tristen Koehn totaled 4.5 apiece, while Diehl and Hunter Christofferson each earned 4.

 

The best part, said Radloff, is that the Bulldogs didn’t even play their best game.

 

“We’re improving every day, and we’re a team that wants to go to practice and do better every single day. That’s Bulldog football,” he shared. “We all take pride in everything we do: kickoff, kickoff return, offense, defense. You take pride in what you do, and that’s what makes us a great team.”

 

“I think we’re unstoppable,” Radloff added. “If we play Bulldog football, I don’t think any team can touch us.”

 

MFL MarMac’s second round opponent is West Branch, a team who last season denied them a trip to the UNI-Dome. The Bears come into the match-up 6-3, after defeating Pleasantville 35-20 in the first round. The game will start at 7 p.m. in Monona on Friday, Oct. 27.

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