BLAIRSBURG - So strong for so many years, the Northeast Hamilton football team learned what it was like to be on the receiving end of a lopsided game during Class 8-man District 2 play here Friday night.
And West Bend-Mallard was handing out the lessons.
With quarterback Jesse Zinnel rushing and passing for 221 yards, the Wolverines (2-2, 1-0) scored early and often and never relented in a 52-12 rout of the Trojans.
DFJ photo by Tracy Runneberg
NEH receiver Austin Smith (42) has the ball knocked away from behind by West Bend-Mallard’s Kurt Banwart during Friday’s district clash in Blairsburg.
The visitors jumped out to a 16-6 lead after one quarter and increased the advantage to 36-12 at the half.
Northeast Hamilton (1-2, 0-1) dropped its second straight contest, and has been outscored 98-34 in the last two weeks.
"In certain areas of the game we played better (than in a Week 2 46-22 loss to Colo-NESCO), but the score doesn't show it because we were playing a better team," NEH head coach John Seiser said. "They've got some really good athletes in the backfield, and you have to respect every aspect of the game with them because they can run and pass."
Zinnel rushed for 128 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries and completed 4 of 11 passes for 93 yards and another touchdown. He found Jason Zinnel on a 23-yard scoring toss early in the fourth quarter and then did the work himself on a 5-yard run to the house later in the period.
"They run a real nice belly option series where (Jesse Zinnel) keeps it and takes off, and it's been a bread and butter of theirs for years," Seiser said. "When you're over-committing to stop everything else, it's easy to get sucked in on stuff like that."
Kurt Banwart raced past the Trojan defense for a 28-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to put the Wolverines in front to stay. NEH quarterback Tyler Smith answered with a 2-yard scoring run with 2:09 left in the first, but West Bend-Mallard's Jordon Buhs returned the ensuing kick 65 yards to steal the momentum.
Smith also threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Logan Seiser in the second quarter, and the junior finished with 157 yards of total offense - 86 rushing and 71 passing. But he was forced out of the game in the fourth quarter after taking a hit, and John Seiser says Smith will likely miss this Friday's game at No. 2-ranked Newell-Fonda because of a diagnosed concussion.
Fullback Gabe Rapp plowed his way to a team-high 96 yards rushing in the loss. Austin Smith led the defense with 8 tackles.
John Seiser understands the challenge his team will face on the road in Week 4, but says his team isn't about to back down.
"Newell-Fonda is scary good," he said. "But we've just got to keep trying to improve, and with Tyler out we're going to have to try some other things we've been working on."