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Blackjacks defeat Dragons, Panthers down Raiders

ADRIAN -- Behind a defensive effort that forced four second-half turnovers and an attack that scored 20 unanswered points, the Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks defeated the Adrian Dragons, 20-7, in a Little Sioux Conference football match-up Thursday night.

Adrian (5-2, 5-2) lost for the second straight week, after falling to T-M-B a week ago.

"We haven't taken two hits for quite a while, so it'll be different for us," Adrian head coach Randy Strand said. "We hope to come back. We'll come back, and we'll be alright."

For Dawson-Boyd (7-0, 7-0) the Blackjacks' first ever win against the Dragons kept them in the hunt for a conference championship.

"We knew that Adrian last week against T-M-B was a big game, because that really decided the conference championship," Dawson-Boyd co-head coach Phil Lienemann said. "We were hoping that Adrian would give us some help there, and we knew this was a must-win big playoff-type game."

The Dragons not only suffered their second consecutive loss, but had to play the last quarter without starting quarterback Brett Nowotny.

"We had some costly turnovers in the second half," Strand said. "When Nowotny went out, it kind of put us out of position for a few kids, but that's football."

The Dragons received the opening kickoff, and found themselves facing a fourth-and-seven from their own 47.

On a fake punt, Adam Diekmann found a wide-open Joey Bertrand for a 21-yard gain and an Adrian first down.

The Dragons marched down to the D-B 6-yard line. However, with four chances to find paydirt, the Dragon offense could not strike, eventually ending the six-minute drive by turning the ball over on downs.

"We knew that it would be a tough game and a battle," Lienemann said. "It was a little frustrating to see them do that. Sometimes you think 'here we go again,' Adrian's running all over us. But it gave us good confidence, and it was a big stand for us by the end zone."

For Adrian, it was something that Strand had seen all too often.

"That's been our Achilles heel the last couple of games," Strand said. "We've been down there, and we didn't get in the end zone."

The Dragons then forced D-B to punt the ball back.

Adrian took over on its own 20- yard line, and went to work offensively again.

Nowotny (4-of-6, 80 yards) threw for 53 yards on the drive, and he orchestrated the Dragons back inside the D-B 5-yard line.

Jesse Brake (50 yards on 15 carries) found the end zone to give the Dragons an early lead.

After a Diekmann PAT, Adrian held a 7-0 lead.

With an 80-yard drive following a 62-yard drive, the Dragons had accumulated 142 yards of total offense in their first two drives.

"In the first half, we had some breakdowns and some errors," Lienemann said. "We were in a situation at halftime where it was still a ball game."

It was a tale of two halves for both teams, as Adrian had just 68 yards of total offense after the first two drives, and committed four turnovers.

Adrian fumbled on its first possession in the second half, giving the Blackjacks the ball in Dragon territory.

It took D-B 11 plays before quarterback Josh Aakre (14 rushes, 74 yards) found the end zone from 17 yards out.

The 2-point conversion failed, leaving Adrian a slim 7-6 lead.

"The first half, we were a little slow, but that happened before against Minneota," Aakre said. "We came back, and didn't lose faith in our team. We played a good second half and shut them down on the run. We shut them down on offense and capitalized on their turnovers."

Facing another fourth down, from their own 44, the Dragons once again tried a fake punt. This time, the pass was broken up -- giving D-B the ball with good field position again.

However, on the third down play, Nowotny suffered an ankle injury that would sideline him for the rest of the game.

It took only two plays for the Blackjacks to find the end zone again. This time, Aakre (7-for-15, 76 yards, 2 TDs) found Andrew Roiger, who broke a tackle and found the end zone.

"It was a designed curl to just get the first down, but he made a great move and got to the end zone," Aakre said. "It was perfect for him, but it started up front."

The 2-point conversion failed, leaving the score 12-7 in favor of D-B.

Adrian committed another turnover on its next possession, giving D-B the ball on the Adrian 31.

Aakre hooked up with Cameron Jurgenson in the end zone to give D-B an 18-7 lead. This time, the 2-point try was successful, giving D-B the 13-point lead.

D-B will face MACCRAY Tuesday night to end the regular season, while the Dragons will limp into Wednesday's game at Murray County Central.

D-B 0 0 6 14 -- 20

Adrian 0 7 0 0 -- 7

T-M-B 41, Fulda 6

FULDA -- The Tracy-Milroy-Balaton Panthers posted yet another victory Thursday evening, knocking off the Raiders to improve to 7-0 on the year.

Panther quarterback Isaac Dolan had a banner day, completing 17-of-23 passes for 299 yards and four touchdowns. Dolan also ran for one TD.

Spreading out his passes to several receivers, Dolan hit Drew Nelson for a 73-yard strike, Josh hook for a 37-yard TD, John Swenhaugen on a 21-yard touchdown, and David Schmidt from nine yards out.

Andrew Prairie led the Panthers on the ground with 141 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown.

Aaron Leinen was 9-of-16 for 95 yards passing, including a 19-yard TD strike to David Crowley, who caught three balls for 83 yards.

Alex Hein was the leading rusher for the Raiders, gaining 92 yards on 19 carries.

Defensively, Andy Henning, Devin Kuehne and Cody Kramer charted nine, eight and seven tackles, respectively.

T-M-B visits Minneota Wednesday, while Fulda travels to R-T-R to end the regular season.

T-M-B 7 20 14 0 -- 41

Fulda 6 0 0 0 -- 6