PREP FOOTBALL: Huskies handle Trojans
JACKSON -- The score at the end of the game said 51-21, another big loss for Worthington and a second straight win for Jackson County Central. But the Trojans didn't leave the field completely dissatisfied and the Huskies weren't left resting on ...
JACKSON -- The score at the end of the game said 51-21, another big loss for Worthington and a second straight win for Jackson County Central. But the Trojans didn't leave the field completely dissatisfied and the Huskies weren't left resting on their laurels either.
"That's the big thing, we started to compete," Worthington head coach Brad Grimmius said. "As a coaching staff when you look at the score and you've got 51-21, you're saying 'What could actually have possibly gone right,' but there were some things that went right for us."
"We go through these streaks right now where if something goes wrong we'll go in the tank for eight minutes at a time," JCC head coach Tom Schuller said. "We dropped a touchdown in the end zone, up a score when we were dominating, and then we fumbled the next play, we should have been up 14-0 and all of a sudden it's 7-7. We have to quit doing that. Against the powers in the conference you can't overcome those huge errors."
Despite the huge score differential at the end of the game, the two teams played a pretty even game for most of the first half.
The Huskies made a quick start to the contest, jumping to an early 7-0 lead, but they weren't able to extend their lead by the end of the first quarter.
Jackson ended their first series of the second quarter with a punt, which was returned by Worthington senior Nate Mejia to the JCC 17 yard line.
The Trojans converted a key fourth down play in the ensuing drive when quarterback Lucas Henning ran a sneak up the middle, and two plays later Henning connected with Mitch Weg, who shook off his defender to score a touchdown. The extra point was converted to tie the score at 7-7.
However, Jackson scored 17 unanswered points before the half to take a hold of the game.
In the very next drive Jackson scored a touchdown to get back into the drivers seat. The last four plays of the touchdown drive were all by junior Carsen Nyborg, who finished the night with 137 yards off of 21 carries.
"He's expected to do that, he's a good football player," Schuller said of Nyborg's performance.
Jackson kicker Marcelo Rinaldi, an exchange student from Brazil in his first ever season playing American football, sent the ensuing kickoff thorugh for a touchback, one of seven touchbacks we kicked in the game.
"Every time we score it's almost unexpected that he doesn't kick it in the end zone," Schuller said. "Last year teams were starting on our 35 yard line probably average and now they're starting on our 20 yard line because of the touchback, it's a great weapon and he's having a lot of fun doing it, he's got a tremendous leg."
The Trojans next possession was a quick four and out, and on the very next play the Huskies scored when Zach Copley received a pass and ran straight through the middle of the field for a 52 yard touchdown drive.
The Huskies had chances to add another touchdown before halftime, but settled for a quick field goal as time expired. They almost didn't get the kick off in time because they had run out of timeouts, but ended up with a comfortable 24-7 lead at the half.
"We tied it 7-7, and I felt the team was happy that we tied it, they were satisfied that we tied it, we just had a let down there in the second right after that and I felt that's where they built their cushion going into half, and that's where it stayed," Grimmius said. "You've got to grow through those as a young team. We're going to have growing pains."
JCC had the first two scores of the second half to keep the momentum and push the score to 38-7. After WHS punted on its first possession of the second half, Cooper Moore returned the punt for good field position and on the next play ran to the right side for a touchdown, diving into the endzone right by the corner marker.
The Huskies next touchdown was again set up by four rushes by Nyborg, though it was Jordan Phibbs who ended up running the ball into the end zone.
Worthington made a small comeback against Jackson's backup line, but were unable to get the score closer than 38-21.
At the end of the third quarter Brandon Berger received a pass that he took down the field for a 46 yard touchdown drive for the Trojans, narrowing the score to 38-13, and a botched snap by Jackson at the beginning of the fourth quarter gave the Trojans a safety.
After the Jackson kickoff, a booming 60 yard kick by Rinaldi, the Trojans made a 60 yard touchdown drive two plays later on a pass to Weg. Schuller brought in his starters for the extra point, which was put wide, leaving the score at 38-21.
"I thought our starters played pretty well, unfortunately we got our backups paired up against Worthington's number ones for a little bit too long and I unfortunately had to take them back out, which I don't like doing," Schuller said.
It looked like that would be the final score, but the Huskies scored two quick touchdowns in the final 20 seconds of the game to give the game its final score.
Both coaches had specific observations from the game that they will carry into their practices next week.
"We've got a completely rebuilt offensive line and new quarterbacks, and it's going to take some time, and it has," Schuller said. "We are making progress however, which is a good thing. And I'm really happy as hard as we are playing right now. When I see us making mental mistakes at least physically we're playing well. We just have to catch up our mental part of our game with our physical one right now."
For Worthington, the big task now will be getting ready for next week's homecoming game against Pipestone.
"The big thing is that we need to get our offensive line together to play, we need to gel as a group, and that's the big thing right now" Grimmius said. "If we get those guys to gel and we can establish our running game, that's going to open up our passing game that much more."
"Our mission last week was we've got to compete for four quarters, and we had glimpses of it, but we're getting closer. We took a stride in the right direction tonight I feel and we have a big game coming up with homecoming next week, so we'll see if we can rally the troops and get them focused to win that homecoming."
WHS 0 7 6 8 -- 21
JCC 7 17 14 13 -- 51