COKATO – Things were just a bit off for the Dassel-Cokato football team in the first half of their game against New London-Spicer. The second half was entirely different. After a sluggish first half, the Chargers got their offense rolling in the second half. D-C scored on all four of their possessions in the second half, leading them to a 35-18 win over the Wildcats Thursday night.
“New London is very good,” D-C coach Ryan Weindandt said. “They had a close game last week. They came out and I thought they had a really good game plan against us.”
The Chargers turned it over on downs on their first two possessions of the game. Despite going for it on 4th down and failing twice in the first quarter, NL-S took over with great field position with a chance to take an early lead.
“When we didn’t get those first couple of first downs on our first few drives, that really stalled us,” Weindant said. “We’re at our best when we can turn out first downs and finish drives. We got out of that. They took us out of that. They are very good up front. They did some nice things.”
Following the first turnover on downs by D-C, the defense stepped up. After the Wildcats drove into Chargers’ territory, Jacob Gnerer picked off a pass to switch the momentum back to D-C.
After turning it over on downs their first two possessions, the Chargers got a spark from Monte Gillman on offense. Gillman broke off an 18-yard run on 3rd and 1, setting D-C up with a chance to get on the board. It was Eli Gillman who got the Chargers on the board with an 8-yard touchdown run, putting D-C up 7-0.
NL-S would answer quickly right before the half. A 36-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Doty to Brycen Christensen brought the Wildcats within one after Devan Campbell blocked the extra point.
With D-C up 7-6 at the half, the message was clear from Weindant to his team at the break.
“The message was we can do this,” Weindant said. “We just had a little mistake here and a little mistake there. The guys made plays (the second half). Our entire backfield is at new positions. They are all at new spots. Some of the timing got better there and you should get better with every game played.”
D-C had no problem getting the offense going in the second half. After a three and out by the defense, the Chargers struck for another touchdown on a big play. Greg Clark had just one completion for the D-C in the game, but it was a big one. On 3rd and 22, Clark found Joel Selseth in stride for a 72-yard touchdown to put the Chargers up 14-6.
Just over a minute late, NL-S answered back. After a big run by Tim Thein, Jack Novak found the end zone from 9-yards out to bring the Wildcats within two. NL-S went for the 2-point conversion to tie the game, but the Chargers came up with a big stop to keep their two-point lead.
There was no slowing down the D-C offense after the NL-S score. Thanks to big runs by Eli Gillman, the Chargers scored on their next three possessions. Gillman scored twice, while Keyton Johnson added another score. Gillman sealed the win on a 63-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage after NL-S made it a 28-18 game with just over three minutes to go.
“Eventually we were able to get in a nice groove,” Weidnadnt said. “Our running game was a little better and our defense settled in. It just felt like we weren’t firing on all cylinders at one time, but we did enough to win.”
For the complete story and more Dassel-Cokato sports coverage, check out the Friday, Oct. 23 edition of the Dassel-Cokato Enterprise-Dispatch. Click here for subscription information.
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