By Jared Schmeltzer
The Merrill football team had a rough night Friday as they were defeated by Kewaskum in a high scoring game 42-21. Kewaskum was able to show their dominance on the ground throughout the whole game as they rushed for over 400 yards in the victory.
Kewaskum got on the board early with a touchdown on a four-yard run with only a few minutes off the clock. Merrill was quick with their response as a 27-yard pass from Zack Mootz to Chase Bonnell for a touchdown tied up the game.
The tie wouldn’t last as it only took Kewaskum 16 seconds to regain the lead on a 65-yard touchdown run. Kewaskum went on to have a 64-yard touchdown run at the start of the second quarter and had another five-yard rush for a touchdown with only three minutes left in the half to take a commanding lead. Merrill did not give up however. as Mootz was able to get a two-yard rushing touchdown right before halftime.
Coming out of halftime the Bluejays were able to score another touchdown on a three-yard run by Nevada Laabs to make it a one possession game. Merrill had chances to tie the game, holding Kewaskum to no points in the third quarter but couldn’t get the job done. Kewaskum would go on to score two more rushing touchdowns, the first being a 56-yard run in the beginning of the fourth quarter and the last coming with only three minutes to play in the game.
“We started off very slow at the beginning of the game,” comments head coach Nick Sturm. “We challenged the kids at halftime and they really responded and we played tough football in the second half. When you play such a good football team it really exposes what we need to work on and it was obvious that our tackling and getting off our blocks wasn’t very good and that will be an emphasis at practice. Offensively we need to be better in the red zone. When we get in the red zone we need to score. What has been hurting us most is silly penalties because they are just drive killers.”
Merrill threw the ball 20 times in Friday’s game completing 11 and getting a passing touchown. “With Zack Mootz getting a lot better at throwing the ball, and our group of receivers, we feel like we have a good group of guys that we can throw with. If teams are going to pack the box against us we are going to beat them vertically. It’s all about what the defense is giving us and that’s how we were going to score points,” coach Sturm said.
Merrill football will be back on the field on Friday night as they kick off conference play at home against Mosinee.