By Nick Beversdorf
Hatchet football was greeted by a great crowd on Friday night as they faced off against Prentice/Rib Lake for their homecoming game. Although the game was an improvement over past games, the Hatchet grid men fell to P/RL with a final score of 20-14.
Easton Phalin had both of Tomahawk’s touchdowns, a five-yard run with failed PAT in the first quarter and a one-yard run in the third quarter with a successful two-point conversion courtesy of Wyatt Wenninger. P/RL had a touchdown in both the first and second quarters with successful PATs and another touchdown in the fourth with a failed PAT.
“Tough loss for us on Friday night,” comments head coach John Larson. “The loss officially eliminates us from reaching the WIAA playoffs. We did not play to the level we are capable of but we did take a step forward from what we put on the field the last four weeks. It was nice to be at home and the Homecoming crowd was amazing. I think keeping our playoff hopes alive combined with Homecoming and playing on Hatchet Field really made a difference in how we played, but I told our guys after the game that every week can’t be homecoming, every week we can’t play at home and every game should be treated as if it were a playoff game.
“Offensively, it was a game of inconsistency! We have to do a better job up front, controlling the LOS is critical. One of our offensive goals every week is to win the battle for time of possession. We absolutely got dominated on Friday with RL/P having the ball for 3/4 of the time and running 30 more offensive plays than we did. Easton Phalin led the way offensively scoring both of the our TD’s with runs of five yards and one yard. He also threw for 132 yards. Brady Anderson was our leading rusher and receiver on the night. Defensively we played well enough to keep us in the game.”
Tomahawk had a total of 204 offensive yards out of 42 offensive plays, compared to P/RL’s 464 yards and 72 offensive plays. Tomahawk had seven first downs – four by passing and three by rushing. P/RL had 20 first downs – three by passing, 15 by rushing and two by penalty.
Tomahawk rushed for 85 yards and lost 13 yards, good for 72 total yards and had six pass completions out of 18 attempts, good for 132 yards. P/RL rushed for 372 yards and lost 26 for 346 total yards and had eight pass completions out of 15 attempts, good for 118 yards.
“We have players right now trying to do too much,” adds Larson. “We have to be more disciplined and play our responsibilities. When we don’t do that, it breaks down our defense and we give up big plays. Several times we had RL/P in third and long situations and we let them off the hook. If we are going to hold people down we have to be making plays and right now we are not doing that on a consistent basis. Even with the breakdowns that we made throughout the game, we still had a chance to win this football game. We needed to make just one more big play than our opponent and we just didn’t get it done.
“The next two weeks are critical for our program. Two wins gives us some momentum heading into the off season. With a majority of our players returning next year this will give us a good feeling as we begin preparation for the 2017 campaign.”
Hatchet football will play at home against Chequamegon on Friday at 7 p.m.
PRL: 7 7 0 6-20
TMK: 6 0 8 0-14
Rushing: Phalin (10 TCB, 7 yds, 2 TD); Wenninger (3 TCB, 21 yds); Brady Anderson (7 TCB, 35 yds); Kole Woodall (4 TCB, 9 yds).
Receiving: Anderson (3 rec, 64 yds); Eli Wurl (2 rec, 46 yds); Wenninger (1 rec, 21 yds); Jake Ruid (1 rec, 1 yd).
Interceptions: Wenninger (1, 7 yds).
Punting: Wenninger (5, 153 yds, 30.6 avg).