DASSEL - The New Ulm football team saw its season end Tuesday night with a 53-8 loss against Dassel-Cokato in the first round of the Section 2AAAA playoffs.
Dassel-Cokato immediately took the lead in the contest and never looked back, with Chargers running back Dalton Asplin pacing his team's offense by rushing for a school-record six touchdowns.
"The Chargers played well," New Ulm head coach Tony Ortmann said. "They ran the ball very well, used their play-action game effectively, and that was the story of the game for those guys. We made some mistakes offensively and defensively that really cost us at times - missed blocks, missed tackles, things like that, things that obviously we want to clean up, and those are things that we'll look at in the future for next year."
Staff photo by Daniel Kerwin
New Ulm quarterback Chris Mulder (14) attempts to throw a pass over Dassel-Cokato’s Gavin Asplin (85) during Tuesday’s Section 2AAAA playoff football game in Dassel.
Asplin capped an opening 60-yard drive by the Chargers with a four-yard touchdown run, after which Gavin Asplin kicked through the extra point to give the home side an early 7-0 lead.
The Eagles earned a first down just two plays into the following drive, but were forced to punt after the new set of downs. However, the snap to punter Chris Mulder sailed over his head, which put Dassel-Cokato at the New Ulm 18 yard line.
Dalton Asplin ran in for a 16-yard score two plays later (Gavin Asplin kick good) to put the Eagles in a 14-0 hole with five minutes remaining in the first quarter.
New Ulm held the Chargers to a punt on their next possession, but Dalton Asplin found the end zone again on a 22-yard rush with 9:46 left in the second quarter (Gavin Asplin kick blocked) to increase the lead to 20-0.
Dalton Asplin scored from four yards out on the Chargers' next possession (Gavin Asplin kick good) to put Dassel-Cokato ahead 27-0, but the Eagles' offense finally started showing some life right before the half.
Mulder came up big with a 22-yard pass to Jackson Yackley on fourth-and-three on New Ulm's next drive, but the series again ended in a punt.
After Dassel-Cokato quarterback Dane Anderson connected with Joel Carlson for a 60-yard touchdown pass two plays later (Gavin Asplin kick good) to make the score 34-0, the Eagles moved 38 yards on a nine-yard rush by Isaiah Johnson, an 18-yard pass from Mulder to Johnson and a personal foul penalty to set up first-and-10 at the Chargers' 35 yard line. However, four incomplete passes by Mulder resulted in a turnover on downs that left New Ulm trailing 34-0 at the half.
The Eagles not only had to deal with facing a large deficit in the second half, but had to play without Brian Dewanz, who left in the first quarter with a knee injury.
"With Brian Dewanz going out it changed our game plan defensively," Ortmann said. "We were hoping to put a few more guys in the box, but by losing linebackers we're pretty thin there this year Offensively we had to try and make some things happen, we passed the ball a little bit more than we wanted. Their linebackers played very fast, they flowed really quickly, and that's pretty much what happened there."
Dassel-Cokato continued the first-half trend in the third quarter, with Dalton Asplin adding touchdown runs of two yards (Gavin Asplin kick good) and one yard (botched snap on extra point) to give the Chargers a 47-0 lead entering the fourth quarter.
The Eagles finally added points of their own with 8:33 remaining in the fourth quarter. Mulder capped a 13-play, 70-yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown run, after which Johnson threw to Tyler Dittrich for the two-point conversion to make the score 47-8.
After a failed onside kick attempt by the Eagles, the Chargers ran down the clock with a 12-play series during which they rushed on every play, with Michael Leffler producing a six-yard touchdown run with 2:47 left on the clock (botched snap on extra point) to bring about the game's final score.
Connor Forbrook produced one final highlight for the Eagles with a 20-yard completion to Tanner Ogren in the dying seconds of the game.
Mulder led the New Ulm offense with 71 rushing yards. The team's defense was led by Matt Rowley (10 tackles), Blake Piotter (10 tackles) and Andrew Stewart (eight tackles, blocked kick).
New Ulm finishes the season with a 1-8 record.
"I can't be more proud of my seniors," Ortmann said. "They've been true leaders, I'm happy to go out with these guys, happy to have them my first year. They've kept this team together in a difficult season, a difficult transition, but I'm happy with what they brought to the table."
No. 4-seeded Dassel-Cokato will travel to face No. 1-seeded Hutchinson on Saturday in the second round.