COLO - Physically overpowered, the Northeast Hamilton football team couldn't afford to make any mistakes here Friday evening.
But that's easier said than done.
Defensive lapses at the tail end of the second quarter and beginning of the third quarter, coupled with a missed opportunity to narrow its deficit early in the second half told the story, as Northeast Hamilton got caught playing an unsuccessful game of catch-up in a 46-22 loss to Colo-NESCO in non-district play.
The Royals (1-2) picked up their first-ever 8-man win, while the Trojans (1-1) fell back to .500 leading up to their district opener against West Bend-Mallard this Friday.
"The mistakes just killed us," NEH head coach John Seiser said. "The overall effort wasn't too bad, but we just can't have the mental mistakes we had, and then we also didn't tackle well at all."
Colo-NESCO quarterback Taylor Hill burned the Trojan secondary for a 46-yard touchdown pass to Brandyn Neimeyer with just 5 seconds left in the first half to increase the Royals' lead to 24-14.
Northeast Hamilton0 14 0 8-22
Colo-NESCO8 16 16 6-46
CN - Adam Lytle 7 run (Brandyn Neimeyer run), 8:52.
NEH - Gabe Rapp 1 run (Tyler Smith run), 10:28.
CN - Neimeyer 34 run (Neimeyer pass from Taylor Hill), 6:46.
NEH - Logan Seiser 15 pass from Smith (run failed), 0:52.
CN - Neimeyer 46 pass from Hill (Neimeyer run), 0:05.
CN - Neimeyer 66 run (Lytle run), 7:07.
CN - Neimeyer 7 run (Lytle run), 4:07.
CN - Tyler Erickson 3 run (run failed), 3:06.
NEH - Hunter Dilley 13 run (Dilley run), 0:21.
Rushing - NEH: Tyler Smith 30-162, Gabe Rapp 13-83, Hunter Dilley 3-24, Andy Pate 3-17.
Passing - NEH: T. Smith 1-4-1 15.
Receiving - NEH: Logan Seiser 1-15.
Tackles (Leaders only) - NEH: Rapp 9, Seiser 6, Austin Smith 8.
NEH responded on its first drive of the third quarter by moving the ball deep into Colo-NESCO territory, but a costly turnover sealed the visitors' fate. On the next play, Neimeyer broke contain and sprinted 66 yards down the field for the second of his three rushing touchdowns to increase the Royals' margin to 30-14.
"If we come down and score at the beginning of the second half, we're still in it," Seiser said. "But once they got rolling it was over."
Neimeyer plowed his way into the end zone from 7 yards out later in the third quarter - a 12-minute stretch in which the Royals outscored NEH 16-0 to take a 40-14 advantage. He also busted loose on a 34-yard scoring jaunt in the first half; he finished with 153 yards on the night.
Adam Lytle, who scored the game's first touchdown from 7 yards out with 8:52 remaining in the first half, led all rushers with 198 yards on 21 totes.
"They're big and they play all seniors," Seiser said of the Royals. "Physically, they were just better than us."
Junior quarterback Tyler Smith again led the Trojans offensively with 162 yards rushing on 30 carries. He also completed 1-of-4 passes for 15 yards - a touchdown connection with tight end Logan Seiser with 52 ticks left in the second quarter that pulled NEH to within 16-14.
Gabe Rapp lugged the ball 13 times for 83 yards, and Hunter Dilley rushed three times for 24 yards.
Rapp dove across the goal line from 1 yard out early in the second quarter, and Dilley sauntered into the end zone from 13 yards away in the final minute of regulation after the game was well out of reach.
Rapp made nine tackles to lead the NEH defense. Austin Smith recorded eight stops, including a team-best five solo tackles, and Logan Seiser finished with 6 tackles.