It didn't take long for Dakota to realize the value of their all-state linebacker, Andrew Wenger. Polo took early control with Wenger on the sidelines in their Class 1A playoff game Saturday.
The Marcos struck first on a 99 yard drive, led by Tristen Aguilar as he had runs of 13 and 11 yards and capped the drive with an 18 yard TD run. The extra point was good and Polo was out in front 7-0.
After Dakota went 3 and out, the Marcos were clicking again. They drove deep into Dakota territory before finally being turned away at the Indian 29 yard line. Dakota would respond quickly as they drove down the field and capped off their drive on a Mason Peters 34 yard TD run. The extra point failed and Polo remained on top 7-6.
Polo would return the kickoff for a TD, but a block in the back penalty negated that call. But, the Marcos would strike back. The Marcos would drive 80 yards, and with 36 seconds remaining in the half, Braiden Soltow connected with Randal Gabaldon for a 12 yard TD pass. Polo would take a 14-6 lead into halftime.
The second half would be a different story as Andrew Wenger entered the game coming in after a half game suspension. The Dakota defense tightened and the offense went to work as Wenger put the Indians on his back. As Polo faced a 4th and 15, Soltow dropped back to pass and Wenger would step in front for the interception.
The first play after the interception, the Indians Cade Meier found Brock Duncan on a 46 yard TD pass. The 2 point conversion was good and tied the game up at 14.
While Dakota seemed to have the momentum, Polo would return the kickoff for a TD again, this time it held up and Polo regained the lead 21-14. This would be the last time Polo would have the lead as Dakota would pile up 28 unanswered points on TD runs of 5, 9, 34, and 48 yards as the Indians sealed the game with a 42-21 victory in Round 1 of the Class 1A State Playoff game.
For Dakota Andrew Wenger would finish the day with 19 carries for 131 yards. Matt Holste would add 11 carries for a game high 146 yards, and Mason Peters would chip in 84 yards on 7 carries. Cade Meier was 3-6 passing for 66 yards and 1 TD. Brock Duncan had 45 yards receiving and 1 TD and Carter Drake had 21 yards receiving.
For Polo Braiden Soltow was 11-17 passing for 177 yards and 1 TD. Reid Taylor had 6 carries for 11 yards and 98 yards receiving with 1 TD. Tristen Aguilar finished with 18 carries for 109 yards and 1 TD. Randal Gabaldon had 14 yards receiving on his TD reception.
Dakota will move on to Round 2 and face #1 seed Ottawa Marquette who beat Milledgeville 9-6 Saturday. That game will be played in Ottawa.
Polo finishes the year with a 6-4 record and should still be a challenger in the Upstate Division next season.
Dakota at Ottawa Marquette