By Dwayne Corry
September 7, 2013
Wisconsin Rapids–The Oshkosh North Spartans are as good as advertised. They hit hard. They can run. They can pass. They had their hands full, however, with the Lincoln Red Raiders, who just would not give up. Playing in the 90 degree heat was not only tough on both teams, but coaches, officials, and fans had it just as bad.
Rapids’ QB Jason Wiernik would not use the heat as an excuse.
“You have to overcome the elements in any game. We made some mistakes out there. We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot. Our defense did a great job today. We just have to learn from this game and move on,” said Wiernik.
The Spartans of Oshkosh North wasted little time taking a lead they would never relinquish. Alex Hintze scored from 8 yards out capping a 6 play drive less than three minutes into the game. A bobbled snap led to a two point conversion when Sam Herkert caught a pass in the back of the end zone, and the Spartans led 8-0. The Spartan defense would force a three and out on Rapids’ first possession. Two plays later Spartan QB Nate Neveau would throw a 61 yard TD pass to Turner Geisthardt and just 6 minutes into the game the Spartans led 15-0.
The Red Raiders second possession was not much better than the first, again going three plays and punting. It looked like the Spartans would blow out their third straight opponent. But on first and ten on Rapids’ side of the field the Red Raider defense made a big play. Rapids Jeremy Koch got his hand on the ball just as Neveau was throwing, and Jake Fiegel picked the ball off in heavy traffic.
The Red Raiders then marched 13 plays with Logan Boettcher capping it off with a gritty 12 yard TD run. On the ensuing kickoff Rapids used their pooch kick to perfection, and Red Raider Colton Nieman(Rapids player of the game) recovered the kick forcing the second consecutive turnover by the Spartans.
“We practice that play. I got to the ball first.” said Nieman.
Rapids would get the ball at their own 33 yard line after the turnover. Eight plays later, Jayson Wiernik ran it in from the six yard line, and Rapids closed the gap to 15-12(2 pt conversion failed).
The Spartans’ offense, however, then demonstrated they are almost unstoppable. On their next possession QB Nate Neveau finished off a nine play drive with a 14 yard TD run. Every time the Spartans needed a big play, Neveau delivered.
“That’s our number 7. He is our go to guy. No one works harder than Nate. He always rises to the level of his competition,” said Spartan coach Chris Kujawa.
The Oshkosh TD came with 55 seconds left in the second quarter. The Spartans had regained momentum and took a 21-12 lead into the locker room.
The Red Raiders would get the first possession of the third quarter, and were moving the ball effectively. After running eight plays Rapids turned the ball over. Oshkosh North’s two-way player Cooper Radtke picked off an errant pass to end the Rapids drive.
Five plays later the Spartans scored again, this time from the ten yard line, as Neveau connected with Tanner Geisthardt. Neveau converted the two point attempt and with 4:51 left in the third the Spartans led 29-12.
The Spartans then attempted an onside kickoff with no success and it took only two minutes for Rapids to take advantage.
Red Raider QB Jayson Wiernik scored from the two yard line, finishing off a 6 play, 53 yard drive. Rapids again seemed back in the game and trailed 29-19 heading into the fourth quarter.
Oshkosh North responded again, however. Neveau led a 13 play drive, that included getting Rapids to jump offsides on a key 4th and one, and finished the drive with a 5 yard TD pass to Radtke. The Spartans led 36-19 and neither team would score again in the game.
With the win Oshkosh North improves to 3-0 on the season. After winning their first game, the Red Raiders have dropped two in a row, and sit at 1-2. Rapids’ next game is at home against Oshkosh West Friday night, game time 7:00 pm.
Red Raider notes:
Cornerback Colton Nieman had an outstanding game blanketing the much heralded Spartan receivers.
Linebacker Alex Marg rushed off the edge late in the fourth quarter to pick up a nice sack for the Raiders.
Dick Engelbright was the CWSports fan of the game. Congrats Dick.
The LHS marching band made their initial appearance of the season. It’s just not football with out the band.
Class move: Spartan coach Chris Kujawa pulling the injured Ryan Duxbury aside after the game to offer words of encouragement to Dux.
The LHS dance team led by coach Allison Giese performed at halftime. Maria Makitie, Taylor Hauke, Makenzie Mattheis, Gabi McNaughton, Jamie Stratton, Maddie Kumm, Tori Lewis, Toni Kiedrowski, Adileen Sii, Kiara Ashenberg, Maddy Ladwig, and Lexi Tosch did a great job in the heat.