Elliott Byrd ‘22: On Friday, October 16 the 3-1 Dakota Cougars faced off against 1-3 Romeo Bulldogs. Coming into the game the Cougars had one thing on their mind, to beat the Bulldogs and claim their share of the MAC red title. On the other hand, the Bulldogs tried their very best to not let that happen.

Like every game this season, the Bulldogs started great forcing the Cougars to punt giving Romeo the ball on the 50-yard line. The Bulldogs drove down the field to the goal line on their first drive, capping it off with a touchdown run from sophomore Anthony Lomakoski ‘23. The Cougars matched the Bulldogs with a score of their own with a touchdown run.

When Romeo got the ball back after the Cougars scored they went three and out. When Gjon Djurasevic ‘21 punted the ball back to Dakota the returner muffed the punt which led to the Bulldogs gaining great field position. On a second and nine Logan Rolfs ‘22 rolled out to his right and hit Brendan Arendts ‘21 to set the Bulldogs up in the Red Zone. The Bulldogs finished their drive with one of the craziest plays all season. Brady Goralski ‘22 got the ball on a jet sweep and dashed into the endzone for an amazing touchdown.

When Dakota got the ball back they stuck with their very successful wildcat formation. The Cougars broke off a 35 yard run out of the wildcat which got them to the 5-yard line and then ran the same play, tying the game. 

Before the first half expired Dakota earned a chance to gain a touchdown lead over the Bulldogs. The Cougars QB connected with his wideout even though Ty Messner ‘21 blanketed him. Once Dakota got inside the 5-yard line everyone in the stadium knew Dakota’s gameplan, the wildcat formation. The Bulldogs stopped them twice in a row but on the Cougars third attempt on the one-yard line, they got just over the goaline, gaining a 7 point lead going into halftime. 

Midway through the third quarter, the Cougars cushioned their lead even more on a perfectly thrown touchdown pass which meant the Bulldogs faced a two touchdown deficit with  5:11 minutes left in the third quarter. Romeo got the ball back and had one thing on their mind — score as quickly as possible. They completed the task with ease. Logan Rolfs ran 70 yards on an option play which got the Bulldogs into the Red Zone, a couple of plays later Logan Rolfs ran the ball again this time scoring making the score 21-28 Cougars.

When Dakota got the ball back they tried to bleed the clock out as much as possible, so they stuck with their wildcat formation driving down the field. The Cougars eventually scored with 7:45 left in the game and the Bulldogs stared at a two score deficit again. The Bulldogs showed a lot of grit and fought back into the game. Romeo turned it over and downs, but the defense came up big forcing a three and out giving the offense a chance to make it a one-score game. Logan Rolfs led Romeo down the field and connected with Nino Brasza ‘21 on a spectacular touchdown pass.

The Bulldogs attempted an onside kick to get the ball back with 56 seconds left but Dakota’s hands team recovered, which meant the Cougars finished out the rest of the game by wasting the clock. Final score 34-28. 

Seth VonHiltmayer ‘22 gave his thoughts on Romeo’s grit.

“Overall we played well, The second half is when we started to turn up to our full potential. We had great attitude and effort but it just wasn’t enough to get the win,” VonHiltmayer said.

Look for the Bulldogs to finish their regular season off strong against Walled Lake Northern High on Friday, October 23rd. 

“We are playing Walled Lake like it’s a playoff game and leaving everything on the field. No regret, everyone flying to the ball and giving great effort. If we do that Romeo is going to make a statement leading to the playoffs,” VonHiltmayer said.

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