PREP FOOTBALL: Dragons pounce on Raiders

ADRIAN -- Brock Bullerman and Cody Reckamp each rushed for 113 yards Saturday afternoon, as the senior running back tandem helped lead the top-seeded Adrian Dragons to an impressive 48-7 victory over the fourth-seeded Fulda Raiders in the semifin...

Adrian's Kilgore
Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Dragon Kyle Kilgore (10) breaks free from Raider defender Clarke Hein (11) for a 68-yard touchdown reception during the first quarter of Saturday afternoon's game in Adrian.

ADRIAN -- Brock Bullerman and Cody Reckamp each rushed for 113 yards Saturday afternoon, as the senior running back tandem helped lead the top-seeded Adrian Dragons to an impressive 48-7 victory over the fourth-seeded Fulda Raiders in the semifinals of the Section 3A football tournament.

Adrian improves to 8-2 and advances to the section championship game, which will be played Friday afternoon at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall. The Dragons will take on second-seeded Red Rock Central, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

"This was another nice win for our team, and now we are where we wanted to be when the season began," Adrian head coach Randy Strand said after the game. "We did a nice job up front and blocked well, which allowed us to run the ball the way that we like to. We also played pretty solid defensively and limited Fulda's ability to move the ball consistently throughout the game."

Fulda, which ends the season with a record of 4-6, was able to put together a pair of sustained drives late in the game -- scoring once on a 25-yard touchdown run by Max Dibble (16 carries for 89 yards) on the second play of the fourth quarter and threatening again shortly after.

The Raiders did move the ball into Dragons' territory twice on back-to-back possessions midway through the first half, but Adrian stopped Fulda both times and stayed in command -- building leads of 14-0 and 27-0 after the first and second quarters, respectively.


"Adrian is a very good team that presents a lot of challenges," Fulda co-head coach Greg Erdmann said. "We couldn't compete with their power running game, as their size and physical ability kind of wore us down a little bit. We did have some good moments, though, and had several guys contribute with good plays on both sides of the ball."

Adrian racked up 428 total yards of offense, with 340 of those coming on the ground. But it was a passing play -- on third-and-20 from their own 32-yard line -- that got the Dragons on the board on the game's first series.

A pair of short runs and a holding penalty put Adrian in that difficult situation, but quarterback Tyler Hornstein (3-for-6 for 88 yards) rolled to his left and fired a strike to Kyle Kilgore wide open in the middle of the field.

Kilgore made the catch, slipped a tackle and broke down the left sideline to complete a 68-yard touchdown connection. Hornstein kicked the extra point, giving Adrian a quick 7-0 lead with 10:08 remaining in the first quarter.

"That was a key play, as it got us out of an early hole and set the tone for our offense," Strand said. "That got us on the board, and then we were able to settle into the game and do what we do best, which is run the football. Brock and Cody complement each other very well at the running back spot, plus we have good size up front on the offensive line and a solid lead blocker in Justin Wolf."

Kilgore intercepted a pass on Fulda's third play of the ensuing possession, giving Adrian a short field to work with at the Raiders' 44-yard line. A four-yard run by Bullerman was followed by a 40-yard touchdown dash by Reckamp, who took the handoff from Hornstein on a misdirection counter play and surged through a huge hole before streaking along the left sideline untouched on his way to the end zone.

Hornstein added the point-after kick, as the Dragons increased their lead to 14-0 with 8:36 left in the opening period.

Fulda answered with a pair of drives inside Adrian's 40-yard line and its first defensive stop. Dibble had a 14-yard burst to help the Raiders pick up a pair of first downs before they punted from the 35-yard line on the first of those two offensive series.


Later, after Fulda forced Adrian to turn the ball over on downs, the Raiders moved from their own 36-yard line to the Dragons' 24 early in the second quarter. Keith Gehl snuck behind the defense and reeled in a 27-yard aerial from Todd Peterson on a third-and-13 play to highlight that march.

However, the drive ended when Hornstein picked off a pass on a first-and-10 play from the 24. Adrian took over at its 13 and assembled a 10-play, 87-yard scoring drive that featured six plays of eight yards or more.

Bullerman, who started the drive with a 17-yard scamper and also had a 13-yard reception and a 14-yard burst, capped the drive with a 12-yard touchdown run up the middle. Hornstein tacked on the PAT, lifting the Dragons to a 21-0 advantage with 5:51 left in the second quarter.

Adrian added one more touchdown before halftime, with Mitchell Sieve (five carries for 79 yards) engineering a nine-play, 63-yard scoring drive. Lining up at quarterback, Sieve ripped off two long runs on option keepers -- one an 18-yarder to start the possession and the other a 22-yard touchdown to cap the series and give Adrian a 27-0 cushion with 1:34 showing on the clock (Hornstein's PAT was no good).

The Dragons scored a trio of touchdowns in the third quarter to widen the gap to 48-0. Adrian's Andrew Lonneman (10 tackles, one sack) forced a fumble on Fulda's opening series of the second half, and Jake Tiede recovered the loose ball to give the Dragons possession at the Raiders' 25-yard line.

Following an incomplete pass, Bullerman (19 carries, 10 tackles) sprinted up the middle for a 25-yard touchdown burst. Hornstein (6-for-7 on PATs) booted the extra point to make it 34-0 at the 10:57 mark.

Reckamp (16 carries) weaved his way through Fulda's defense for a 20-yard surge to set up Adrian's next touchdown -- a seven-yard strike from Hornstein to Wolf, who made a diving catch along the right sideline in the end zone. Hornstein's kick stretched the lead to 41-0 with 5:11 remaining.

Kilgore then intercepted another pass and returned the pick 30 yards to Fulda's 17. A five-yard run by Nate Lynn was followed by a 12-yard touchdown dash from Sieve and another PAT from Hornstein to give the Dragons a 48-0 bulge with 3:18 to play in the quarter.


Fulda countered with a nine-play, 61-yard touchdown drive to get on the board. Trevor Ruesch, who had several strong kick returns, set the Raiders up at their own 39-yard line with a 25-yard gain.

Dibble and Alex Olsem took turns carrying the ball, as the Raiders moved the chains three times on their way to the Dragons' 25-yard line. Olsem's six-yard run gave Fulda its third fresh set of downs in that sequence, while Brock Baumgarn had earlier completed a six-yard pass to Matthew Appel.

Dibble then broke a couple of tackles on a 25-yard touchdown rumble up the middle. Clarke Hein kicked the extra point, making the score 48-7 with 11:16 remaining in the fourth quarter.

"Max is aggressive and runs the ball well," Erdmann said. "That was a nice drive that we put together for a touchdown. We followed that up by moving the ball well again and nearly scoring another touchdown."

Indeed they did, as Baumgarn unleashed a 37-yard bomb to Aaron Tiesler following a defensive stop by the Raiders. Fulda moved the ball from its own 35-yard line all the way down to Adrian's five on eight plays.

Among the other highlights for Fulda during that drive were a 14-yard run by Dibble and a 13-yard scramble by Baumgarn. The Dragons, though, kept the Raiders out of the end zone by breaking up a pass on fourth-and-goal from the five in the closing minutes.

That sealed a 48-7 victory for the Dragons, who will be playing in the Section 3A championship game for the fourth straight season. Adrian won the section crown in both 2007 and 2009 (advancing all the way to the Class A Prep Bowl each time) and lost to the Springfield Tigers in 2008.

Fulda 0 0 0 7 -- 7


Adrian 14 13 21 0 -- 48

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