MFL MarMac advances past Durant

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Karter Decker scored a touchdown on each of his four carries during MFL MarMac’s 48-12 playoff win over Durant on Oct. 21. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Bulldog Bryce Radloff upends Durant’s Nolan DeLong for one of his six total tackles.

Austin Schlee celebrates a sack during MFL MarMac's opening round playoff win against the Wildcats.

Carver Blietz-Bentien finished the night with 116 yards on nine carries. He scored two touchdowns—one on the ground and one on a catch.

Brock Hackett and Bryce Diehl team up to tackle a Durant runner.

Quinn McGeough heads toward the end zone in the Bulldogs' 48-12 victory.

Kade McElwaine eyes a tackle in the game versus the Wildcats. He had 7.5 total that night.

Taylor Herzmann snagged a key interception late in the first half that allowed the Bulldogs to tack on to their lead.

Running back Wyatt Powell takes a handoff from quarterback Zach Driscoll.

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


A 48-12 win over Durant on Oct. 21 advanced MFL MarMac to the second round of the Class 1A football playoffs.


“Durant was a tough team. They showed that all year long. But our game plan was awesome. Our coaches studied hard. We executed the game plan and came out with a victory,” said Bulldog senior Karter Decker.


The Wildcats struck first, taking a 6-0 lead after MFL MarMac was stifled on its opening drive. The Bulldogs didn’t panic though, evening the score late in the first quarter on a 7-yard touchdown by fullback Carver Blietz-Bentien. 


It was all MFL MarMac from there on out, as Blietz-Bentien added a 10-yard scoring reception to his stat line in the second quarter, followed by a 21-yard touchdown run from Decker. Bulldog lineman Taylor Herzmann then snagged an interception right before halftime, setting the team up for another shot at the end zone. Running back Wyatt Powell took it in from 5 yards out, pushing the lead to 27-6.


“We didn’t blink at all,” Decker said. “Beckman last week shut us out our first drive, and we didn’t expect that. Teams have marched down the field and scored on us before, but we know if we stay composed and play our style of ball, we’d shut them down.”


Durant cut the deficit to 27-12 halfway through the third quarter, but MFL MarMac—and more specifically Decker—continued to tack on points. The wing back scored three times on three touches in the second half, on runs of 58, 10 and 65 yards.


He led the team with 154 rushing yards, in addition to two catches for 27 yards.


Decker credited the linemen and receivers who blocked for him.


“They opened some huge holes for me. I was able to slip through the holes and read our wide receiver out there blocking. I had the easy work, I guess,” he commented.


Blietz-Bentien finished the night with 116 yards on nine carries, while Powell picked up 86 yards on nine attempts. Bulldog quarterback Zach Driscoll completed half of his eight passes for 51 yards and a touchdown. He threw one pick.


“The offense was really clicking,” said head coach Dan Anderson. “They blitzed a lot, and we prepared for that. We told our guys we’re probably going to have some big plays in this game, but we might also have some negative plays because they’re so aggressive. That’s why we ran counter multiple times with Decker, because those linebackers were flowing so hard when they saw the ball getting handed off to Wyatt.”


The Bulldog defense was able to keep Durant’s Nolan DeLong, the state’s leading rusher, under 200 yards on 34 carries. DeLong spent over half the game at quarterback after the Wildcat starter was injured in the second quarter, and went 6-23 for 57 yards.


“We knew [DeLong] was going to be a special ball player, and he was, but I don’t think he had any really big gains against us. Our defense pretty much contained him and held him to short gains,” Decker said.


According to Anderson, MFL MarMac prepared for DeLong to play wildcat quarterback, but didn’t anticipate he’d be at the position for such a large part of the game.


The defensive game plan was to keep it simple.


“I called the same defense, over and over again. It was just about fighting off blocks, running to the ball, and we had to rotate a lot of our defensive linemen because they were getting tired when you’re trying to chase that guy around,” Anderson explained. “He can buy a lot of time with his legs, so I thought our DBs did a nice job not giving up anything.”


Decker and Kade McElwaine were MFL MarMac’s leading tacklers, with 7.5 apiece. Six of Decker’s tackles were solo efforts, including one for a loss. Cole Allert finished the night with 6.5 total tackles, followed by Bryce Radloff with 6 and Blietz-Bentien 5.5. Powell and Quinn McGeough each totaled 5 tackles.


Herzmann and Blietz-Bentien snagged interceptions and Drew Earles, Corbin McElwaine and Austin Schlee picked up sacks.


The victory showed the Bulldogs’ experience and calm under pressure, said Anderson.


“Our guys have been in tight ballgames. We’ve fought against really tough teams before. A couple really good football players shouldn’t beat a really good team,” he stated. “We feel we have a really good team, and the kids have good chemistry and work well together. They’re smart football players too.”


“I was really proud of the effort,” he added. “We just kept our nose to the grind stone and kept fighting and tacking on a touchdown and a touchdown. Survive and play another week.”


The win improved MFL MarMac to 8-1. The team’s next opponent will be Dike-New Hartford (7-2) on Friday, Oct. 28. The game will start at 7 p.m. in Monona.

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