Offense carries MFL MarMac to 43-31 win over New Hampton

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Quinn McGeough ran for 197 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries in MFL MarMac’s 43-31 non-district win over New Hampton on Sept. 8. The Bulldogs totaled nearly 350 rushing yards in the offensive outpouring. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Head coach Dan Anderson credited the MFL MarMac offensive line, including Bryce Diehl, for their role in the offense’s success. “That was the best pass protection I’ve seen in years for our team,” he said.

Bulldog quarterback Carver Blietz-Bentien was 6-10 passing for 104 yards and a touchdown, then added 25 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.

Bryce Radloff picked up 121 yards and three touchdowns in the win over the Chickasaws.

Ben Krambeer attempted what would have been a school record-breaking field goal. He missed, but head coach Dan Anderson is confident he will get another try this season.

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


A 43-31 non-district victory over New Hampton on Sept. 8 lifted the MFL MarMac football team to 3-0. It was also the third victory over a Class 2A opponent for the Bulldogs, who, after entering halftime tied at 21, out-scored the Chickasaws 22-10 in the second half.


“Tonight, the offense really carried the team. The first two weeks it was the defense, and tonight it was the offense,” said head coach Dan Anderson. “Eventually, we’re going to have to put it all together going against the district. But the fact is we went against three bigger schools that have a lot of tradition, a lot of history, and we were able to find ways to win.”


The task was even tougher in what Anderson called an “emotional week,” with the loss of beloved community member and MFL MarMac girls basketball coach Jason Winter. 


“Our kids came out with maybe a little bit of a hangover feel. Football, and everything in sports, is a lot about keeping the same routine. Our routine was thrown off today having the funeral. Everybody was down in the dumps and we had to get charged back up,” Anderson shared. “But I told our boys, ‘For 2.5 hours, let’s try to help our community and the New Hampton community enjoy some football.’” 


The Bulldogs kicked off the scoring at the seven-minute mark in the first half, on a 26-yard touchdown reception by Bryce Radloff. A Ben Krambeer extra point made it 7-0.


New Hampton countered later in the quarter, before a Quinn McGeough run early in the second helped the Bulldogs take a 14-7 advantage. The lead was short-lived, however, as the Chickasaws returned the kickoff for a touchdown to even the score at 14.


The teams entered halftime tied at 21 after Bulldog quarterback Carver Blietz-Bentien took the ball in from one yard out, followed by a New Hampton TD with 41 seconds left in the quarter.


“I’m glad we had to face a little bit of adversity because we haven’t had to the first two weeks,” Anderson said of the Bulldogs, who had allowed just a combined 12 points up to that point this season. “Going into halftime tied up, these guys were calm, cool and collected in the locker room. We had to make a few adjustments.”


The Bulldog defense made a fourth down stance on the opening drive of the second half, when the Chickasaws threatened from the MFL MarMac 25 yardline. They also kept New Hampton out of the end zone a drive later after the Chickasaws nabbed an interception deep in Bulldog territory. New Hampton settled for a field goal and took their first lead, 24-21.


From then on was all MFL MarMac, as Radloff rattled off 19- and 46-yard rushing touchdowns and McGeough slipped past defenders for a 77-yard score. 


In the fourth quarter, Eli Hanson recovered an onside kick that gave the Bulldogs the ball at midfield. It was the second such attempt for MFL MarMac that night.


“That wasn’t trying to rub anything in. It was just, ‘Hey, it’s a good opportunity to try an onside kick,’” Anderson said. “Ben kicked the ball great tonight and Eli made a great recovery. We almost had one to start the second half too.”


The field position helped set Krambeer up for what would have shattered MFL MarMac’s 37-yard school record for a field goal attempt by nearly 10 yards, but it was unsuccessful.


“In practice, he’s been kicking 47-yard field goals. He’s got the leg to make those kicks,” Anderson said. “We’re going to give him the opportunity again, hopefully, to break the school record.”


New Hampton brought the score to 43-31 with just a minute left in the game.


“The scoreboard was 43-31, but we were getting everybody in there at the end, and they scored on us. Besides that last score, we gave up three points in the second half. Our defense really stepped back up in the second half,” the coach said.


Kade McElwaine’s 7.5 total tackles led the team, and he also recorded a sack. Blietz-Bentien racked up 6.5 tackles, Tristen Koehn 5.5, Brandon Christofferson 5 and McGeough 4.5. 


MFL MarMac was without one of its leading defenders and running back, Wyatt Powell, due to injury, but Anderson was proud of how other players adjusted to expanded roles.


“Our kids stepped up when we had to shuffle some things around. The guys who went in and played his spots did really well,” Anderson said.


Offensively, the Bulldogs put up nearly 350 yards on the ground, including respective career highs of 197 and 121 yards for McGeough and Radloff. Blietz-Bentien added 25 yards on seven carries and was 6-10 passing for 104 yards and a touchdown. Radloff caught four passes for 87 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Christofferson totaled 17 yards on two catches.


“Our offense—we were a pretty well-oiled machine running and throwing. Quinn had a huge game, Radloff had a good game,” Anderson said, “but the stars of the show tonight, though, were our offensive line. Carver had plenty of time to throw the ball. They were opening up big holes. That was the best pass protection I’ve seen in years for our team.”


MFL MarMac will now shift to district play, heading to Aplington-Parkersburg Friday, Sept. 15. 


“Now, the games really matter. It’s for the playoffs,” Anderson said.


He believes the challenge of facing three Class 2A opponents has prepared the team well.


“We rose to the challenge in every game, and I’m really proud of the coaches and players for responding,” he said. “We’re hard to defend. And we showed we can throw the ball tonight, and we’re not afraid to throw the ball down field. I think we’ve put the district on notice that we’re a really solid football team. We can win on offense and we can win on defense.”

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