Bulldogs Win Home Opener 35-8

Otter Tail Central hosted Pillager for their first home game of the 2017 season. The Bulldogs took the opening kickoff and put together a strong drive that stalled out and were forced to punt. After forcing Pillager to punt after 3 plays the Bulldogs’ offense took over. Nick VanErp scored from 54 yards out after great blocks from Gabe Johnson and Ben Naddy. Luigi Aiello’s PAT kick was good to make the game 7-0. OTC then recovered a fumble and went back to work. VanErp scored on another long run and Aiello’s kick was good to give the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead. With less than 5:00 left in the first half OTC put together a strong drive with Austin Wensauer, Colton Kirschbaum, and Ben Naddy pounding the football down the field. VanErp scored from the 1 yard line on a QB sneak. Aiello’s kick was again successful to give OTC a 21-0 lead. Pillager however, from their first play of the following possession, went 80 yards for a touchdown and a 2 point conversion. The Bulldogs marched the ball inside Pillager territory but couldn’t come away with points as the first half ended OTC 21 Pillager 8. In the second half OTC stopped Pillager on their first drive, and the Bulldogs took the ball down the field and scored. Nick VanErp once again plunged into the endzone on a quarterback sneak and Aiello’s kick was true to make it a 28-8 game. Pillager put together a strong drive that ended when they fumbled the ball on the one yard line. Alex Erlandson picked up the ball and returned it 70 yards before being brought down. Austin Wensauer sealed the scoring for the night with less that 7:00 minutes remaining in the game. Wensauer scored from 8 yards out and Aiello’s kick was good to make it a 35-8 game. OTC was led by their offensive line all night. Dustin Olson, Ramon Lopez, Michael Fielding, Gabe Johnson, RJ Ehlert, Travis Arndt, Isiah Dorn and Sam Fisher opened holes for the running backs all game. Defensively it was a group effort to slow down the Pillager offense that averages over 35 points a game. Thomas Ebeling led the team with tackles from his defensive line position. Erlandson, Johnson and Max Naddy recovered fumbles in the game. Adam Lange played a solid defensive game with 8 tackles and a QB sack. The Bulldogs rushing attack of Austin Wensauer, Ben Naddy, Colton Kirschbaum and Nick VanErp tallied over 350 combined yards behind their offensive line. The Bulldogs improve their record to 3-0 and will travel to Staples on Friday to play Staples-Motley at 7:00. Photos by Karina Walvatne