Mills takes down OTC
By Kevin Cederstrom email@example.com Friday night lights brought big plays and a major Homecoming upset for the Eagles football team. New York Mills, after falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter, rallied to knock off previously unbeaten Otter Tai...
By Kevin Cederstrom
Friday night lights brought big plays and a major Homecoming upset for the Eagles football team.
New York Mills, after falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter, rallied to knock off previously unbeaten Otter Tail Central 28-14.
It was a huge win for the Eagles, who are now 3-0 in the conference and 4-2 overall. OTC (5-1) was No. 5-AA in QRF Power Poll on minnesota-scores.com, and No. 10-AA in AP poll.
"We played a great game," said Matt Radniecki, Eagles head coach. "I was very happy with the way the team and players held their composure and did not panic when we fell behind 14-0. The team stayed with the game plan and it worked out for us in the end."
The game turned in the third quarter when the OTC offense was fourth and one during a 14-play drive and threatening to score their third touchdown to go up 20-6. The Eagles defense not only stopped the Bulldogs on the play, but junior defensive back Shaun Van Dyke scooped up a fumble and ran 95 yards for a touchdown the other way. Grant Cameron hooked up with Tarrel Flanigan for the two-point conversion to tie the game at 14-14.
The Homecoming crowd - the biggest at Smith Field in some time - erupted to its collective feet as Van Dyke streaked along the OTC sideline.
"We got some big turnovers," Radniecki said. "None bigger than the fumble return by Shawn."
With the game tied, OTC punted and pinned Mills back on their own five-yard line. On third and five, Cameron hit Cavin Berube for a 75-yard play, setting the Eagles up at the OTC 20.
Mills would fumble to stop the drive, but got the ball two plays later on an interception. This time, they capitalized on the Bulldog mistake, scoring on a four-yard run by Jason Burg for a 20-14 lead.
Another OTC turnover gave NY Mills a chance to put the game away. With about three minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, Mills converted a Bulldog fumble when Cameron connected with Tarrel Flanigan for a 75-yard touchdown.
Cameron was 4-8 passing with 175 yards and one touchdown. Flanigan had two catches for 85 yards with one touchdown and a 2-point conversion.
"OTC is a big win for us, as we have not beat them in a few years and they haven't been beaten by a Prairie Conference North team in some time," Radniecki added.
The last time Mills beat OTC was 1998.
Both teams had three turnovers on the night. The Eagles defense made the most of the opportunities with Van Dyke's fumble recovery for a score and a 4th quarter interception by Cory Perala.
Brendan Frost had 12 tackles for the Eagles, and Thomas Lambertson and Drew Schultz had 11 tackles each. Tarrel Flanigan had 4 tackles for losses.
"The defense played outstanding," Radniecki said. "OTC was not able to punch it in and we got pressure on the quarterback which is something we needed to do and stressed last week. Our defense won the game for us with big stops and creating some turnovers."
Friday's win puts NY Mills in good position for section seedings. The Eagles hit the road this Friday to face Parkers Prairie (2-4). Mills lost to Parkers Prairie, 19-14, in the regular season last year, but avenged that loss with a 34-0 pasting of the Panthers in the first round of the playoffs.
The Eagles close out the regular season Oct. 18 when they host Royalton.
Coach Radniecki wanted to send apologies to anyone who didn't get into the New York Mills game free on Friday against OTC. There was some confusion as to whether or not it was parents night.
Parents will get in free to the Royalton game on Oct. 18.