Panthers pounce on Dragons

ADRIAN -- Combining the powerful inside running of Keith Engelkes and Brandon Kirk with a potent aerial attack spearheaded by Isaac Dolan Friday night, the Tracy-Milroy-Balaton Panthers scored a touchdown in each quarter and picked up a 30-6 vict...

Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe Tracy-Milroy-Balaton's Josh Hook (10) catches a 34-yard touchdown pass as Adrian's Adam Diekmann defends during the first quarter of Friday night's Little Sioux Conference football game in Adrian.

ADRIAN -- Combining the powerful inside running of Keith Engelkes and Brandon Kirk with a potent aerial attack spearheaded by Isaac Dolan Friday night, the Tracy-Milroy-Balaton Panthers scored a touchdown in each quarter and picked up a 30-6 victory over the Adrian Dragons in a key Little Sioux Conference football game.

T-M-B gained 410 yards of total offense (190 passing, 220 rushing) and limited the Dragons to 197 yards on the night (117 passing, 80 rushing).

"We're very pleased with how we played tonight," T-M-B co-head coach Derek Flann said after the game. "We ran the ball well, which opened things up for our passing game. We also played pretty good defense, using our strength up front to control Adrian's running a little bit."

T-M-B (6-0 and currently ranked sixth in Class AA) recovered a fumble on the game's opening possession and then scored on its fifth play of the ensuing series.

Starting at their own 40-yard line, the Panthers fed Kirk for a nine-yard gain before Engelkes (15 carries, 85 yards) netted 17 yards on three carries to move the ball to Adrian's 34-yard line.


Then, on second-and-inches, Dolan (14-for-21, 190 yards passing; 11 carries, 45 yard) connected with Josh Hook (four receptions, 92 yards) down the right sideline for a 34-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion was no good, but T-M-B had a 6-0 lead with 7:57 to go in the first quarter.

Adrian's Brett Nowotny (7-for-20, 110 yards passing) found Jesse Brake (18 carries, 57 yards) for a 24-yard gain on the following drive, but the Dragons were forced to punt just after crossing midfield.

T-M-B was marching on the next series, as Hook caught a 23-yard strike from Dolan -- who later rolled to his right and made a nice pass on the run to John Swenhaugen for an 18-yard play to help the Panthers move from their 21-yard line to Adrian's 34.

However, the drive stalled when Adrian's Brandon Aggen recovered a fumble at the 44-yard line -- giving the Dragons (3-3) a good chance to score.

A terrific 20-yard reception by Adam Diekmann (five receptions, 78 yards) over the middle moved the Dragons into T-M-B territory, but Engelkes picked off a pass at the 25-yard line with 40 seconds left in the period.

T-M-B's offense then went back to work, with Dolan running for 33 yards on a keeper up the middle on the drive's first play -- spotting the ball at Adrian's 42-yard line.

Later, Hook made a diving 11-yard catch to move the ball to Adrian's 12-yard line, but the Dragons came up with a goal-line stand when Justin Weidert broke up a pass in the end zone on fourth-and-3 from the five.

Brake's nine-yard dash and another Nowotny-to-Diekmann connection over the middle -- this time for 33 yards -- sparked an Adrian drive that reached T-M-B's 42-yard line.


The Dragons had to punt after an incomplete pass on third-and-5, but Diekmann's boot was downed at the Panthers' 1-yard line.

However, T-M-B answered with a nine-play, 99-yard scoring drive to take a 14-0 lead just before halftime.

Kirk broke off a 15-yard run to start the possession, while Walker Schaar caught a 15-yard pass from Dolan, and Engelkes gained 23 yards on a pair of carries.

Dolan capped the drive, firing a strike over the middle to Hook for a 23-yard touchdown with 2:02 to go in the second quarter. Dolan ran in for the two-point conversion, giving the Panthers a 14-0 lead.

"Isaac played his best game of the season tonight," Flann said. "He made good decisions and most of his passes were right on target. Our receivers did a good job of running their routes, catching the ball and fighting for extra yards."

T-M-B started the second half with the ball, and 10 plays and 53 yards later, Dolan threw his third touchdown pass of the night.

Kirk gained the first 34 yards on a pair of rushes and a 25-yard screen pass before six more running plays by the Panthers set up a fourth-and-goal situation.

Like he did earlier in the game, Dolan rolled to his right and found Swenhaugen for a completion -- this time a 6-yard touchdown with 6:35 remaining. Dolan hit Engelkes for the two-point conversion, giving the Panthers a 22-0 advantage.


Adrian answered on the ensuing series, driving 75 yards to cut the lead to 22-6 with 28 seconds left in the third period.

Brake's 13-yard run, a seven-yard completion on a fake punt (Diekmann to a diving Danny Parsley) and a leaping 23-yard catch by Parsley on a pass from Nowotny were the highlight plays on the drive -- which was capped by a 6-yard touchdown burst from Brake. The two-point attempt was no good.

T-M-B scored the game's final points with 7:22 left in the fourth quarter, as a 40-yard punt return by Swenhaugen set up a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Kirk. Schaar caught the two-point conversion pass from Dolan to make it 30-6.

"T-M-B is a great football team, and we competed with them fairly well for most of the game," Adrian head coach Randy Strand said. "We moved the ball decent at times and we had a good drive to score that touchdown in the third quarter."

Andrew Lonneman and Brock Bullerman each had 10 tackles to lead Adrian's defense.

Both teams play Thursday, as T-M-B hosts Fulda, and Adrian visits Dawson-Boyd.

T-M-B 6 8 8 8 -- 30

AHS 0 0 6 0 -- 6

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