October 23, 2019

Bulldogs have talented offensive core returning in 2019 - Daily Leader Extra : Sports

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Bulldogs have talented offensive core returning in 2019

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Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2019 2:55 pm

The Madison Bulldogs' 2018 gridiron season came to an abrupt halt last season in the first round of the Class 11A playoffs, which was the earliest exit from the playoffs for several years.

For the Bulldogs to advance in the playoffs this year, they will be relying on six returnees on the offensive side of the ball and three on defense.

Returning for Coach Max Hodgen and the offense are seniors Tyler Tappe (quarterback), Jacob Unterbrunner (wide receiver), Mason Avery (wide receiver), Lance Lee (right guard) and Cody Brown (left tackle); along with junior Carter Bergheim (wide receiver).

Tappe, a one-year starter for the Bulldogs, completed 154 of 273 passes for 1,917 yards and 18 touchdowns.

His go-to receiver, Unterbrunner, a two-year starter, caught 56 passes for 905 yards and 10 touchdowns. Avery, a one-year starter, caught 41 passes for 533 yards and five touchdowns. Bergheim, a one-year starter, caught 23 passes and had one touchdown.

Due to graduation, Madison needs to fill the center, guard and running back positions.

"We need to continue to spread the ball around offensively to be successful," Hodgen said. "We have done a great job in the past of making defenses account for everyone on the field."

According to Hodgen, the Bulldogs are athletic and experienced on the offensive side of the ball.

"We have four starting receivers and our quarterback returning," he said.

Returning for the defense are seniors Daniel Swenson (defensive end) and Brock Minnaert (corner back) along with junior Zach Whitlock (linebacker).

Swenson, a one-year starter, finished the 2018 season with 80 tackles and 5 1/2 sacks. Minnaert had 54 tackles and two interceptions; Whitlock had 66 tackles and one interception. Both are one-year starters.

Madison will need to fill linebacker, corner back, defensive tackle and defensive end spots due to graduation.

Hodgen's main concern is the inexperience on the defensive side, although he has been impressed with the overall team speed.

Madison had 55 players report to fall camp, which is slightly lower than the coaches hoped for.

"Our freshman class football numbers are terribly low," he said.

Assisting Hodgen this season are Joe Bundy, Tom Nielsen, Mike Ricke, Darren Swenson and Zach Johnson.

The Bulldogs finished the 2018 season with an impressive 8-2 overall record. Hodgen has a 73-22 record while coaching the Bulldogs.

Madison will face Dakota Valley on Friday at 7 p.m. at Trojan Field.

"Our biggest concern is trying to anticipate what Dakota Valley is going to do on offense and preparing our defense for adjusting to multiple styles of offense," Hodgen said.

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