PREP FOOTBALL: Rush attack
Guided by ground game, MCC rolls past TMB 30-6
SLAYTON — The Murray County Central and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton football teams both had similar-style victories in their season openers last week. Using the ground game to their advantage, the Rebels and Panthers looked to have repeat success in the backfield when they battled in a Week 2 matchup, especially with cold October weather making the pass game a challenging task.
MCC would take advantage in the first half and not look back, as the Rebels cruised to a 30-6 victory over the Panthers on Friday night.
It was a slow start offensively for both teams, as neither side could gain much traction and traded empty possessions the entire first quarter. Near the end of the frame, TMB was able to get the ball back on a fumble recovery, but a couple of plays later, MCC came up with a defensive highlight of its own, as Brayden Ahlers jumped in front of a pass attempt and took the ball 60 yards the other way for a pick-six. Abe Paulzine then got the 2-point conversion to go to give the Rebels an 8-0 lead with 9:26 left in the first half.
After the Panthers were forced to punt on their next possession, MCC started with the ball on its own 16 but quickly moved upfield on a huge run by Dylan Johnson to put the Rebels deep in TMB territory. MCC would then march down to the Panthers’ 3-yard line before Johnson found the end zone on a 6-yard run. Blake Schmitz then found Paulzine again for the 2-point conversion to push the Rebels’ advantage to 16-0 with 5:53 to go in the first half.
A couple of empty possessions would close out the opening half. In need of a spark, TMB came out of the halftime break ready to go, marching downfield before getting on the board with a 14-yard pass from Noah Swenhaugen to Christian Wendland to cut the deficit to 16-6 with 4:46 left in the third quarter.
But MCC would have a response, though, as the Rebels moved the ball quickly to set up a 16-yard touchdown rush by Johnson to make it 23-6 MCC with 53 seconds left in the third. Johnson’s day wasn’t done there, as he later added a 7-yard run with 7:52 left to push MCC’s lead to 30-6 and ultimately the victory.
MCC finished the game with 422 yards of total offense as a team, including 234 yards on the ground. Johnson led the way with 158 rushing yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns while Schmitz added 40 yards on the ground. Schmitz also completed 13 of his 27 pass attempts for 188 yards. Dawson Tutt led in receiving with 95 yards on four catches while Johnson added 40 yards on four catches of his own.
Defensively, MCC was led by Christian Kuball with seven total tackles while Ahlers added the interception return and Tutt had two interceptions of his own.
TMB finished the game with 234 yards of total offense, including 161 rushing yards. Ayden Horner led the way with 86 yards on the ground on 22 carries while Caden Anderson added 54 yards. Swenhaugen completed 5 of his 17 pass attempts for 73 yards and a touchdown. Wendland led in receiving with 64 yards on two catches and a score
Matt Munson led the way defensively for TMB with seven total tackles.
MCC (2-0) will face Wabasso next Friday at 7 p.m. while TMB (1-1) will face Sleepy Eye next Friday at 7 p.m.