NEW ULM - The game plan of the Melrose Area Dutchmen Friday night against the New Ulm Eagles was to run the ball.
And the Dutchmen did just that.
A strong Dutchmen ground game led to a 22-0 lead and an eventual 36-12 win for Melrose over New Ulm in a non-conference game at Johnson Field.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm quarterback Chris Mulder (14) tosses a pass to teammate Isaiah Johnson (34) for a touchdown during the Eagles’ loss to Melrose Area Friday at Johnson Field in New Ulm.
Gaven Sand and Trevor Sawyer scored on runs of three and 44 yards respectively in the first quarter. Seth Noll added a three-yard run before quarterback Isaac Sawyer hooked up twice with Tyler Revermann on pass plays of 11 and 12 yards.
Isaiah Johnson scored both of the Eagles' touchdowns on passes of four and 49 yards.
For New Ulm coach Tony Ortmann, the inability of his team to slow the Melrose ground game came down to one thing.
"We did not tackle," he said. "I talked to the players after the game and told them that they have to want to tackle - you have to be physical and assertive. And right now we are not. They came into this game and wanted to run the dive play up our throat and they did."
After failing to score on their first possession of the game, the Dutchmen found the end zone on their next two offensive series.
Sand capped a short four-play, 28-yard drive when he rolled into the end zone at the 7:05 mark. Isaac Sawyer's kick made it 7-0.
On their next possession, the Dutchmen made it 14-0 when Trevor Sawyer broke loose for a 44-yard touchdown run at the 3:05 mark on the opening quarter.
Melrose then pieced together its longest scoring drive of the night when it traveled 55 yards on 13 plays and converted two fourth downs into first downs. An 18-yard completion from Isaac Sawyer to Gentry Middendorf and a seven yard run by Isaac Sawyer with a personal foul on the Eagles put the ball on the New Ulm two yard line.
From there, Noll worked his way into the end zone for a 22-0 lead following a two-point conversion pass from Isaac Sawyer to Tyler Leukam.
"We did not respond to their running game and that was the story of the game," Ortmann said.
New Ulm did counter the 22-0 deficit with a touchdown to close out the first half and another score to open the third quarter.
The Eagles' first touchdown drive started with 1:16 left in the first half. A 75-yard pass play to Johnson moved the ball to the Dutchmen five-yard line. Two plays later, Mulder found Johnson for a four-yard scoring pass with six seconds left in the first half.
The Eagles then got the opening kickoff of the second half and needed just three plays to go 59 yards. A 49-yard touchdown pass from Mulder to Johnson cut the lead to 22-12 less than two minutes into the second half.
"We were able to run some play-action stuff but we need to run the ball better," Ortmann said. "We are not getting that physical play up front. But we were able to make some cuts once we caught the football."
Melrose was able to counter the Eagles' score with a 59-yard, 10-play drive that ended when Isaac Sawyer scrambled and found Revermann for an 11-yard touchdown pass and a 29-12 lead midway through the third quarter.
Melrose closed out the scoring in the final quarter on a 12-yard scoring strike from Isaac Sawyer to Revermann.
New Ulm, now 1-6 on the season, returns to the South Central Conference Wednesday night at Fairmont.
"We wanted a win tonight for some momentum going into the game at Fairmont," Ortmann said. "But now we have to get back to work and that starts right away."