In Friday night’s season opener against Superior at Jay Stadium, Merrill lost 20-10 in a game that was tight throughout.
Merrill played very well on defense in the first half, allowing only six points while the Bluejay offense scoring three of their own. The defense remained solid in the second half but a couple big plays got Superior in the end zone two more times and the Merrill offense was not able to respond.
Superior got off to a good start in the first quarter, scoring a touchdown on a 12-yard run five minutes into the game. Merrill was able to stop the two point conversion to keep the score 6-0.
Both teams played very good defense for the rest of the half, not allowing a score until 0:06 left in the half when Merrill’s Kole Meyer kicked a 25-yard field goal to make it a 6-3 game going into halftime.
Coming out of halftime, Merrill marched the ball down the field and with 7:48 left in the quarter a Kole Meyer one-yard rushing touchdown along with an extra point gave Merrill the 10-6 lead. The lead was short lived for Merrill, however, as Superior’s Corey Sanders caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Luke Drougas to retake their lead at 13-10. Superior added on to their lead with 1:15 left in the quarter as the quarterback kept the ball and ran in for a two-yard rushing touchdown.
The fourth quarter was all defense as neither team scored and Superior took the 20-10 win.
Merrill relied on the running game as they went for 205 rushing yards and 22 passing yards in the game, good enough for 14 first downs. The Merrill defense allowed 265 rushing yards and 65 passing yards along with 16 first downs in the losing effort.
Merrill will be in Kewaskum Friday to take on the Indians at 7 p.m.
SUP: 6 0 14 0-20
MRL: 0 3 7 0-10
Rushing: Dominic Leistikow (17 ATT, 103 yds); Hunter Hintze (8 ATT, 48 yds) and Nevada Laabs (7 ATT, 33yds).
Punting: Josiah Nohr (1 ATT, 73 yds) and Zack Mootz (3 ATT, 130 yds).