Collision Course Set For Cougars & Eagles
Coleman Survives Tough
for Two Score Win
Coming into Friday's game, one would have been hard pressed to find anyone outside the die hard Wolverine backers who would have believed the Wolverines had a shot at taking down the defending M&O Conference champion Cougars. After the first half of play, one might have found a few people who could only shrug as the Wolverine defense, behind a couple key turnovers, were trailing 6-0.
"We don't' want to celebrate a loss," said Crivitz Head Coach Matt Bernier. "But we took some good things from this game. Last Monday after our loss to Northern Elite we decided things needed to change, attitude, leadership, and intensity, especially at practice. We had a good week of practice and even though we came up short against Coleman we played our best game of the year."
A feather in coach Bernier's hat no doubt. But keeping the Cougars down is easier said than done as the guys in green righted their ship and sailed to a 22-7 win over the heart driven Wolverines.
"I thought Crivitz played well and tackled well," said Coleman Head Coach Jeff Bronson. "I can't recall them missing many, if any, tackles. Additionally, we told the team that Crivitz is one of the best schools we see in stripping the ball from a runner, and they did display that on Friday."
If only the Wolverine offense could have matched the intensity that the defense brought to the field, Coach Bronson might have had a stress over load.
The first shift in momentum came on Coleman's first drive when a fumble was recovered by Wolverine George Andrekopoulos.
The next, with three minutes left in the first. Coleman's Bryce Karban cut up the field after juking a would be tackler. It looked as if he was free and clear, but in pursuit was Wolverine Jaden Werner who went for the tackle from behind. While bringing Karban to the ground, Werner punched the ball free from Karban's hands which went rolling toward his teammate Mitch Banaszak, who quickly covered the loose ball for the turnover on the Wolverine five yard line.
The third huge shift in momentum came when Coleman's Karban looked to pass down the middle of the field. After the pass was released, the Wolverines Dawson Andrist helped to break up the reception sending the ball tumbling into the air. Before the ball could hit the ground, Seth Kwiatkowski was on it pulling in the INT for the Wolverines.
"We need to communicate better and become a bit more focused," said Bronson. "We have a senior-dominated line and they have to play like it. If they notice a teammate not doing his job, they need to take some ownership and correctly inform them of the issue."
With all these chances, the Wolverines could have certainly put themselves in the driver seat. But good defense wasn't exclusive to the Wolverines. The Cougars were ready to stop everything the Wolverines could throw at them. Holding the guys in blue and gold to just 14 yards rushing and 81 yards passing while reeling in two second half turnovers as they blasted off a 326 yard day on the ground.
By the end of the game, Coleman's workhorse running back Jacob Zeitler piled up 111 yards on 13 carries including one rush for a teedee. Blake Forner gave 66 yards and one touchdown to the effort on 11 carries while Jake Baldwin chipped in another 60 off 10 carries.
Wolverine quarterback Travis Kudick gave his team a majority of their total gains, completing six of his 13 passes for 61 yards while rushing for 28 yards on nine carries with one teedee.
The game started on a sour note for the Wolverines, who received the opening kick off only to be forced to punt three short plays later.
After receiving the game's first punt, the Cougars looked as if they might be forced to a three and out as well, thanks to a third and six stop by the Wolverines' Andrekopoulos and Tyler Allen. But a tough running Karban was able to work his way to a first down on the fourth and two attempt. On the same drive, the Cougars faced another fourth down attempt, this time from five yards back. On this conversion, Karban connected with Jordan Blanchrad who slammed his way to a 21 yard gain.
With the ball on the Wolverine 20 yard line, the Cougars experienced their first hiccup of the game as a botched snap found its way into the hands of the Wolverines' Andrekopoulos.
On Coleman's next offensive possession, the Cougars were poised to score when Karban made a dash from the end zone. But a forced fumble by Werner and recovery by Banaszak, ensured that would not happen.
Again the Cougar defense made up for the short comings of the offense, pushing the Wolverines back into their end zone thanks to three consecutive tackles for loses.
After the punt with a short field to overcome, the Cougars finally kicked in the door. On the fifth play of the drive, Karban cut outside on a keeper going nine yards for the game's first teedee. The two point conversion attempt was unsuccessful, giving the game a 6-0 score, a tally that would hold until the third quarter.
After forcing the Wolverines to another three and out, the Cougars took possession on their own 28 yard line. After working their way across mid-field, the Wolverines came up with their third turnover of the half as Kwiatkowski pulled down the bobbled pass to give Crivitz the ball on their own 25 yard line. But three plays later, the ball was back in the hands of the Cougars as Gunnar Patz pulled in the pass attempt for the interception on the Wolverine 21 yard line.
With 21 yards to go, it seemed as if the Cougars would bolster their lead. But some stonewall defense from the Wolverines forced a turnover on downs on the one yard line with time expiring in the half.
The Wolverines were able to get the ball moving but were cut short by the clock.
So with one half in, it was anyone's ball game, a fact that did not sit well with the Cougars who rallied to the call of their captains during the break.
The turnover bug struck again early in the third on Coleman's first drive of the half, when Karban fumbled on the Wolverine 42 yard line which was recovered by Samuel Spink.
The Wolverines again were unable to avoid a three and out as they punted back to the Cougars.
The Wolverines stopped the Cougars on the next two drives, forcing the guys in green to a fourth and 16 punt and a fourth and five turnover on downs.
With 40 seconds left in the third quarter, the Cougars put together their second scoring drive of the game. The drive consisted of nine plays, the last of which was a Blake Forner 4 yard jaunt into the end zone. Zeitler punched in the two point conversion to give the Cougars the 14-0 lead.
Approaching the final nine minutes of the game, the Wolverine offense finally found some traction as Kudick completed passes of 16, 8, 16 and 15 yards to bring the Wolverines to the Coleman three yard line. Kudick capped the nine play drive off with the one yard keeper score. The extra point kick was good, bringing the Wolverines to a one score deficit, 14-7.
The Wolverine defense was on the spot all day, but finally showed signs of fatigue as the Cougars began their next drive. The offensive push was highlighted by a 70 yard scoring rush by Zeitler.
The Wolverines were forced to a turnover on downs on the ensuing drive, which the Cougars answered with a clock burning five run drive, helping to bring them to the victory formation on the Wolverine 14 yard line.
"I think the number one thing we improved on was playing as a team and tackling better," said Bernier. "We hope to improve in the basics each week and ultimately that's what winning comes down to."
Scoring early and often may be an understatement as the Peshtigo Bulldogs traveled to Gillett to take on the Tigers Friday night. Eight total touchdowns, including five in the first quarter, were scored by the Bulldogs in the first half as they opened a 54-0 lead at halftime before winning 57-0.
Jerod Jandt started the scoring for Peshtigo with a 1-yard touchdown run to open up a 6-0 lead. Quarterback Justin Thill then began his big day with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Keller. The duo connected again on a 14-yard pitch-and-catch as the Bulldogs opened a 19-0 lead. Thill was just getting warmed up as Jeremy VanVooren hauled in a 40-yard dime from his quarterback. Jandt finished the scoring in the first quarter with a 6-yard teedee run. In the blink of an eye Peshtigo was ahead 33-0 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Thill used his legs to reach this end zone. A 2-yard touchdown run by the quarterback pushed the lead to 40-0. Jandt scored his third touchdown of the evening after breaking away from the defense and showing off his speed for a 44-yard run. Thill would not be outdone as his 30-yard run would be his fifth of the night and the exclamation point to the end zone party for Peshtigo.
With cruise control engaged, the only score of the second half was a 29-yard field goal from Aiden Bohaczek in the fourth quarter making the final score 57-0.
Justin Thill's big day included 7 of 10 passing for 76 yards and three touchdowns while he also ran four times for 39 yards and two more teedees. Jandt finished with nine rushes for 120 yards and three scores. VanVooren's one catch for the 40-yard score led the way in the receiving game for Peshtigo.
The Suring Eagles kept themselves amongst the top of the M&O Conference Friday when they took down the visiting Wausaukee Rangers, 38-6.
As Suring climbed the stairs toward the top of the M&O tower, the Rangers found themselves carving out their place in the middle of the M&O. Next week the Rangers will take on Gillett, who remains winless in conference play.
The 36 point differential that was built by the Eagles, was reliant on all aspects of the game. On the ground Suring had a couple rushes display solid performances, as Cody Johnson led the way with 86 yards on 10 carries followed by John Christensen who scrambled out of the pocket for an additional 64 yards on six carries.
Matthew Delfosse did most of the leg work for the Rangers, scampering for 67 yards off 15 carries to lead his white and red Ranger squad. Delfosse also complied 50 yards on a 5 of 11 day behind the center. One of his passes was pulled down by the Eagles' Cody Smith, who returned the pick for six points. On the other end of three of the five passes was Jack LaCount, who progressed the Ranger front 28 yards.
Christensen definitely had found a rhythm, heading into the meat and potatoes of conference play connecting on seven of his 12 passes for 74 yards and two teedees. His favorite targets Friday night were Ryan Mahoney and Tyler McDougal. Connecting with Mahoney on three receptions for 24 yards and one touchdown while finding McDougal for 28 yards on two receptions and the other passing score.
To start the scoring, Christensen capped off a Suring drive with a pass to McDougal from 12 yards out. The two point conversion pass fell incomplete, giving the Eagles an early 6-0 lead.
That lead was furthered in the second when Smith returned a Delfosse pass 64 yards to the score. Brett Belongia tagged on two with the conversion rush giving the Eagles a 14-0 lead.
Before the half ended Suring was able to get in one more teedee, this time looking to Smith who broke into the end zone from three yards out.
After the intermission, Suring helped to put the lead out of reach as Christensen completed a pass to Mahoney from seven yards out. Following the teedee, Christensen hit Scout Gerndt for the two point conversion and the 30-0 lead.
Before Wausaukee could get on the board Suring punched in one final score, thanks to a four yard run by Logan Stuart which was followed up with a Josh Reed two point conversion rush.
The Rangers saved themselves from a shutout with time expiring thanks to a seven yard jaunt into the end zone by Tony Rollo.
Suring will have their hands full Friday when they travel to Coleman to take on the defending M&O conference champion Cougars.
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