BLAIRSBURG - Another ranked opponent fell victim to the Northeast Hamilton juggernaut here Friday night, giving the No. 4 (8-man) Trojans four victories over top-10 teams through six weeks.
This time it was No. 7 Tripoli's turn to feel the burn, as junior do-everything quarterback Marcus Mechaelsen had a hand in all but 38 of Northeast Hamilton's 413 yards of offense in a 55-36 romp over the Panthers.
Mechaelsen rushed for 204 yards and three touchdowns on 29 totes, and he passed for 171 yards and three more scoring strikes in the Trojans (6-0, 3-0 District 3) 10th straight regular season victory.
DFJ photo by Tracy Runneberg
Clay Harreld (18) dodges Tripoli’s Cody Nilges during a kickoff return Friday. No. 4 NEH rolled to a 55-36 win.
"Marcus always seems to make the play that we need, and he does it over and over and over," NEH head coach John Seiser said after Tripoli joined an elite list of ranked teams left by the side of the road that also includes Coon Rapids-Bayard, North Sentral Kossuth and Clarksville. "He was on the money with his throws and he made some Barry Sanders' type moves running the ball that I haven't seen from a high school kid in a long time. It was an amazing performance by him, that's for sure."
But Mechaelsen didn't do it all by himself. Seiser credited the offensive line with opening gaping holes, and junior tight end Clay Harreld snared every pass thrown his way, resulting in five catches for 154 yards and three TDs.
"Our offensive line really got off the ball quickly with their blocks, even though they were giving up 35 to 40 pounds at every position," Seiser said. "That's been a concern of mine for the last couple of weeks, but they really stepped up.
|Northeast Hamilton 55, Tripoli 36|
|Tripoli||8 8 6 14—36|
|Northeast Hamilton||14 6 14 21—55|
|NEH—Dillon Timm 30 run (Marcus Mechaelsen kick), 11:06.|
|NEH—Clay Harreld 20 pass from Mechaelsen (Mechaelsen kick), 0:39.|
|TRIP—Jake Axon 18 run (Tyler Lenox run), 0:17.|
|NEH—Timm 6 run (run failed), 8:06.|
|TRIP—Lenox 1 run (Cody Nilges pass from James Barz), 5:51.|
|NEH—Mechaelsen 39 run (Harreld pass from Mechaelsen), 9:04.|
|NEH—Mechaelsen 27 run (pass failed), 6:14.|
|TRIP—Nilges 22 pass from Barz (run failed), 4:05.|
|NEH—Harreld 58 pass from Mechaelsen (run failed), 10:59.|
|TRIP—Lenox 3 run (pass failed), 9:36.|
|NEH—Harreld 30 pass from Mechaelsen (Mechaelsen run), 8:58.|
|NEH—Mechaelsen 3 run (Mechaelsen kick), 4:43.|
|TRIP—Austin Drewes pass from Barz (Axon run), 1:49.|
|RUSHING—NEH: Marcus Mechaelsen 29-204, Dillon Timm 16-38.|
|PASSING—NEH: Mechaelsen 8-14-0 171.|
|RECEIVING—NEH: Clay Harreld 5-154, Caleb Rapp 2-17.|
|TACKLES—NEH: Rapp 13, Mechaelsen 5, Clay Harreld 6 ½, Ryan Woiwood 2, Stephen Chamness 2, Austin Pigsley 3, Kent Thelke 2 ½, Timm 9 ½, Ethan Seiser 4 ½, Bryce Kauffman 8 ½.|
"Clay had a great game, too. He went from not even knowing if he was going to play (with a back injury) to having a great game."
Dillon Timm added 38 yards rushing - 36 coming on touchdown scampers of 30 and 6 yards. Bryce Kauffman returned to the field after a layoff because of a separated shoulder to intercept a pass, and Ethan Seiser recovered a fumble. NEH holds a 19-5 advantage in turnovers this season.
Timm's long scoring run and Mechaelsen's first touchdown toss to Harreld covering 20 yards gave the Trojans a 14-0 first-quarter lead and they never trailed. They had to keep putting points on the scoreboard though because of a power running game by Tripoli (4-1, 2-1) that kept the pressure on.
"We were very nervous this week and we were concerned about stopping their running game, and that turned out to be right because they run the ball very well," Seiser said. "They're a very good team and they do a lot of things well on offense, but I still don't think we're tackling very well. We've got to improve in that area."
NEH led 20-16 at the half, and then Mechaelsen took over. He scooted for touchdown runs of 39 and 27 yards in the third quarter to expand the lead to 34-22, and he then hooked up with Harreld on a 58-yard bomb a minute into the fourth quarter to push the cushion to 40-22.
A 3-yard touchdown run by Tripoli's Tyler Lenox trimmed the margin to 12 points a little over a minute later, but the Panthers simply had no answer for Mechaelsen. He found Harreld again for a 30-yard TD just 38 seconds after Lenox's score and a little over four minutes later - with 4:43 remaining - Mechaelsen provided the dagger on a 3-yard plunge into the end zone for a 55-28 advantage.
Mechaelsen completed 8-of-14 passes in the game. Caleb Rapp reeled in a pair of catches for 17 yards.
Rapp had 13 tackles and Timm was in on 9 stops to anchor the Trojans' defense.
NEH remained in the driver's seat in the district standings heading into this Friday's game at Riceville (1-4, 1-2).