Antlers Vs. Badgers Game

Despite a strong offensive performance, the Antler defense was unable to get it done against Bennington.


Patton Engel

Junior Mikey Hart runs the ball ouut of bounds after a big gain on the kickoff.

Patton Engel, Editor

Two top five class B football teams met on October 9th, each with a 5-1 record. The Bennington Badgers held the home field advantage against the Elkhorn Antlers, with each team looking to better their chances at home field advantage come playoff time.

The Antlers took the opening kickoff, and a quick, two minute, seven play drive led to a touchdown run from Grant Gutschow to give the Antlers an early 7-0 lead. Blair responded with a 2 minute drive themselves to tie the game at 7-7. 

The action wasn’t over yet though, because on the following kickoff, standout running back Aiden Young returned it 86 yards. Bennington never wavered however, and they again scored in just two minutes time. The real dagger for the Antlers came from a fumble on their next offensive drive, allowing the Badgers to score again and take a 21-14 lead. 

Going into the second quarter, the Antlers looked to regain their lead, but penalties kept them from doing so. Two back to back offensive series from the Antlers ended in a punt because of the penalties, despite big stops from the defense. Bennington eventually hit a stroke of luck with quarterback Kale Bird scoring one of his two touchdowns of the night, this time an 80 yard run. A 67 yard return from Mikey Hart put the Antlers in great field position, and with just 1:42 left in the half, Aiden Young ran it in for the Antlers third touchdown of the day. A missed extra point saw the Antlers trail 20-28 at the half. 

In the third quarter, both defenses stepped it up. Bennington started the half with the ball and put together a nice drive, but an interception by Junior Mikey Hart put a stop to that. The Elkhorn offense was unable to do much with the momentum from the interception, and after a few first downs they were forced to punt. Senior Gannon Gragert boomed the punt over 70 yards. Starting from their own 20, Bennington would put together another scoring drive, highlighted by the 56 yard touchdown run. 

Up 35-20 with only a few minutes left in the third, the Antlers were running out of time. An interception on their next drive only further cemented their fate, but a fumble recovery by Brody Schmielau rejuvenated the Antlers. A scoring drive was put together after a 51 yard run from Aiden Young and an 8 yard run from Isaac Robinson, but a missed extra point attempt kept the game two scores away. The failed onside kick gave way for another Bennington touchdown to make the deficit 42-26 with just two minutes left. The Antlers never gave up, and would score in just one minute and convert the two point conversion to make it a one possession game, but a failed onside kick ended any hope the Antlers had left. The final score was 34-42. 

That night, the Antler offense performed very well. Aiden Young had 23 carries for 181 yards, Grant Gutschow had 96 yards of total offense, Isaac Robinson had 4 carries for 28 yards, and Mikey Hart had 4 carries for 15 yards, including a 67 yard kickoff return.The issues came on the defensive side. Bennington quarterback had 396 total yards of offense and two touchdowns. The Antlers face the Elkhorn North Wolves next as they look to bounce back from a tough loss.

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