Talk about feast or famine!
The Bluejays first five touches in Saturday’s 31-15 Homecoming triumph over Mosinee ended with three touchdowns and two fumbles.
After the fourth touch, Merrill was averaging nearly 59 yards per carry due to Nick Hoffmann’s 83-yard run, Mason Reinhart’s 82-yard dash and Nick Peterson’s 68-yard scamper, started by him kicking out of a tackle attempt near the line of scrimmage.
“We got a bunch of plays right away, which was good to see,” MHS coach Nick Sturm said. “Everybody did their job and we made some big plays.
“Especially with the weather, it figured to be a low-scoring affair, where a couple of plays make the difference of the game. Rough weather conditions are usually not conducive to offensive football. In the second half it was like slip-and-slide. The kids couldn’t get any traction between the hashes.”
Instead, the Jays held a 19-7 lead after the first quarter, tacked on a 24-yard Peterson field goal in the middle of the second, and pushed it to 28-7 with 1:30 left in the half on a 48-yard strike from Peterson to Jake Anderson. That final MHS TD came two plays after a Nick Breaman diving interception.
The Indians held a slight 5-1 to 4-2 edge in overall record prior to the game, although Merrill led 3-1 to 2-1 in GNC Football Conference mark. The game was expected to be a close one between the two teams that had only lost to conference leader Medford.
Hardly. Mosinee trailed 31-7 until a meaningless drive against the Bluejay back-ups in the final minutes, scored with just :33 left. That came after Peterson’s 21-yard field goal with 4:07 left in the third quarter.
“We knew they are a very good football team,” Sturm said. “Every year they’re one of the best teams in conference. They’re very well-coached. We knew it would be a big challenge. I don’t know if any of us expected a blow out. I thought we could come out on top if we played our game.”
This was complete domination. Not only did Merrill amass 388 rushing yards to go with 60 passing yards, the defense limited Mosinee to just 115 yards, including 44 in the garbage-time drive and another 40 on one pass play. The Indians rushed for a mere 29 yards.
“That was pretty impressive,” Sturm said. “Our defense is very, very good. We had nine returning starters and we played good defense last year. Our whole defensive line and linebackers are very solid, and our secondary played excellent.
“Our concern was one slip, one missed opportunity, could make a difference. But our secondary broke on the ball, and knocked down a lot of passes. It sure helps that our line and linebackers got a lot of pressure.
“Any time you hold a good offensive team like that, you know you’ve played well.”
Mosinee had entered the game averag-
Talk about feast or famine!