Minco's Eli Kirkes celebrates a touchdown with Jaxon Pate during the team's win in Minco on Friday.

MINCO — The Minco Bulldogs avenged a loss.

Minco and the Mooreland Bearcats took the field in Minco on Friday after the two teams met in Minco during last season's playoffs. The Bulldogs were hoping for a different result this season.

Minco finished second in District A-2 during the regular season, and Mooreland finished third in District A-1.

Minco fell behind in the first quarter, but the defense stabilized and did not allow another score until the fourth quarter. The offense did its job, scoring enough points to help Minco earn vengeance in a 21-14 victory over the Bearcats.

The two teams were even at 14 in the fourth quarter, and Minco quarterback Reed McMurtrey got away from the Mooreland defense for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown. McMurtrey scored from 33 yards out, and the extra point put Minco ahead by seven points.

McMurtrey also threw a touchdown pass in the win.

The Bearcats got the ball to start the game and methodically moved their way down the field, taking up a majority of the first quarter before finding the end zone. Mooreland grabbed an 8-0 lead with most of the first quarter already gone.

But the Minco defense started to hold up. Mooreland went through several offensive drives before putting more points on the board.

Meanwhile, Minco's offense found the end zone for the first time in the second quarter. Minco's rushing attack was crucial on the drive, but it was the passing attack that put Minco's first six points on the scoreboard.

McMurtrey found Hunter Mulanax for a 10-yard touchdown that made the score 8-6. Minco tied the game at eight points apiece, and that 8-8 score remained the same until the third quarter.

It looked like Minco was going to score on the opening drive of the second half. The Bulldogs moved down the field and got near the end zone, but Mooreland's defense stood tall and forced a turnover on downs.

But the Mooreland offense fumbled the ball away in Minco territory on the ensuing drive. The Bearcats were moving the ball, but Jaxon Pate came up with a fumble recovery for the Bulldogs.

Pate played a crucial role on the ensuing series.

The Bulldogs converted a fourth down to keep the scoring drive alive. McMurtrey managed to find Will Holding for a big gain that gave the Bulldogs more momentum.

After setting up the drive with a fumble recovery, Pate ran for a touchdown on the offensive series to give the Bulldogs the lead. Minco held a 14-8 lead after three quarters.

Mooreland finally found the end zone again on the ensuing drive before going for two. But Minco kept the score at 14-14 after Carson Littlejohn caught the Mooreland pass on the attempt to go up by two.

Minco added the final seven points and held strong against Mooreland to secure the victory. Minco has now won at least one postseason game nine seasons in a row.

The Bulldogs moved to 8-3 on the season and will travel to Ringling for the second round. The Associated Press has Ringling as the top-ranked team in Class A.


The Dibble Demons traveled to Cashion on Friday after a fourth-place finish in District A-4. The Demons ended the season with a 48-14 loss to Cashion.

Cashion came in at No. 3 in the final AP poll of the season and finished first in District A-3. Dibble finished its season with a 5-6 record.

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