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By Doc Wierwill
NGM Assistant Coach 

Riot On the River NGM Wins Big at Prairie du Chien

 

October 25, 2018

Photo courtesy of Tina Murray

Friday, October 19. NGM, playing as a #7 seed, made the long trek to Prairie du Chien to take on the second-seeded Blackhawks in the first round of the WIAA playoffs. By all accounts this appeared as a David vs. Goliath type of matchup...at least on paper. The Blackhawks brought their 8-1 record to the contest, supported by an outstanding run/pass game that featured 18 seniors. Some bar stool pundits expected this to be a cake walk for the home team. Two points of interest: The game isn't played on paper and NGM does not bake! NGM left town with a 28-24 hard-fought victory.

NGM won the coin toss, and with a bold show of confidence, elected to start on offense. The first series was mildly ineffective as PDC received a punt. The Blackhawks wasted no time as they immediately commenced a 10-play drive culminating in a 12-yard touchdown run by their outstanding running back, Tyler Smock. (Smock would claim 194 yards rushing before the evening was concluded). But the extra point attempt failed and such would become ominous as three more such attempts would also come up empty, proving fateful in the final score.

The NGM offense came alive in the second quarter, employing its most clever artifice, the flea-flicker, as quarterback Connor Siegenthaler hit wide receiver Zach Feller on a 26-yard touchdown. These two would connect again in the quarter for another touchdown on a 27-yard strike. And just like that, NGM was up 14-6 and infused with an indefatigable energy that would serve them well the balance of the game. And they would need it as Smock took the next kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. Moments later, the Blackhawks would score again to give them an 18-14 lead at the half.

The second half started as a defensive struggle for both teams until senior Trevor Gassman made what must become one of the most memorable touchdown catches in NGM football lore. Fighting both the defender and the sideline, he used raw athleticism to pull in the ball delivered by Siegenthaler giving NGM a 21-18 lead. As the fourth quarter neared, NGM was now in full chase of its first level 1 playoff win since 2010.

Midway in the fourth, PDC would mount another sustained drive behind Smock's running, leading to a touchdown and 24-21 lead for the home team. NGM answered promptly with a drive of their own as Siegenthaler found Darris Schuett for a 36-yard score as Schuett once again showcased his crafty running after the catch. The score would hold at 28-24 NGM, but not without two nail biting drives by the Blackhawks being shut down by two courageous stops by the NGM defense. Senior Zach Feller's interception in the last minute of play sealed the deal and the celebration was on.

Connor Siegenthaler had a career performance, completing 13 of 18 passes, four for touchdowns, and 225 yards...sans interceptions. Did I mention he kicked the final two extra points as well? Schuett led all rushers, with 44 yards. Gassman again led in receiving with 124 yards, followed by Zach Feller with 69. Gang tackling was the theme of the defense. Siegenthaler participated in 17 (!) solo/team tackles, followed by Adam Marty with 15, and Pat Craker and Darris Schuett with 13 and 10, respectively. Even the PDC announcer was flummoxed when he simply announced "the runner is downed by a roundtable of Knights."

Make no mistake, this was a TOTAL team effort. The offensive line having had its own challenges throughout the season showed up as strong as any unit this evening. There are no stats that offensive linemen can claim, but when you look at offensive stats...thank a lineman.

This Friday, NGM travels to Horicon to take on the Horicon-Hustisford Marshmen, who, this same evening, beat our Belleville neighbors 21-0. Posting a 9-1 record, they are another team representing a monster challenge...especially on paper.

Game time 7:00 p.m. Bring your family and friends.

 
 

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