NGM Romps In Season Finale 40-0
October 21, 2021
Finally, an evening that was perfect for football. When the fading light of the day left town and the 49 degree air crept into the press box, it was evident this was an evening made for football. NGM felt it too!
The Dodgeville Dodgers brought their "perfect" 0-6 SWC record to town and would leave 0-7 in conference play, finishing 1-7 on the year.
In this game it was NGM that would start strong, stay strong, and finish strong the entire evening. They churned out 532 yards of total offense whilst the defense pitched a shutout, limiting the lads from Dodgeville to just 104 yards of offense. That, my NGM friends, is the very definition of a complete game.
NGM started on defense. On the first play they forced a fumble which the Dodgers recovered for a 15-yard loss. When the ball came back to NGM they blitzed the Dodgers with a 57-yard hook-and-ladder play: Marty-to-Strok-to-Brandes for 6 points on their first play of their first possession. Eli Zimmerman's kick was good and before you could say, "where's my hot chocolate," it was 7-0 NGM.
On the ensuing kickoff, NGM's Jackson Eyler stuffed the Dodgeville player on his own 19-yard line with a vicious hit, cementing the theme very early that NGM was in it to win it. After the defense produced a three and out, the NGM offense came right back out of the gate with another hook-and-ladder, this time to the opposite, south side of the field for a gain of 9 yards. Next it was quarterback Max Marty finding Ethan Friedrich on a 40-yard strike for a touchdown. With the PAT kick blocked, it was NGM up 13-0 at 5:41 in the first quarter.
The NGM defense was solid all night, never more evident than when senior "Touchdown" Tyler Durst entered the game in the defensive line. (Durst would close out his career with 4 solid tackles on the evening.) The defense consistently shut down Dodgeville, giving NGM good field position the entirety of the game.
The offense never blinked with two drives in the second quarter of 76 and 50 yards, each ending with touchdowns...Max Marty running one in himself and then again finding Ethan Friedrich for a 31-yard score in the southeast corner of the end zone. (Friedrich employed some nifty running after the catch, leaving at least two Dodger defenders bewildered.) One of two 2-point PATs was good when Marty found senior Jackson Parman all alone. The half ended with NGM up 27-0. All momentum was with NGM as they took to the locker room.
The locker room was exuberant, confident, and hungry for more as a frustrating season was all but forgotten. Just before taking the field, senior Jackson Parman exhorted his team with, "There is no tomorrow. Tonight the seniors check in their helmets forever. Make it count!"
Parman's words took hold as NGM would score two more touchdowns in the third quarter. Senior Nate Brandes, playing like a man possessed, powered home from 3 yards out for his second TD of the evening and fellow senior (and spark plug) Reid Righter later dashed in from 5 yards for his score. Eli Zimmerman would record the final point of the year when his PAT kick, perhaps the most powerful of his career, was last seen headed toward Dayton. With 0:41 left in the third, the scoring was complete with NGM up 40-0.
Per the WIAA 35-point rule, the clock would continue to run uninterrupted the balance of the game. At the 1:49 mark it was time for the 12 seniors to take their final bow, and here they are with their names in print one last time: Jackson Parman, Eli Zimmerman, Reid Righter, Kaleb Bay, Nate Brandes, Carter Wirth, Tyler Durst, Logan Roach, Mitchell Murray, Holden Righter, Dain Walter, and Filippo Mottini (an exchange student from Italy). (With .02 left on the clock Coach Eichelkraut called time out, allowing 11 seniors to assemble together one last time, now in Victory formation. Nice touch Eich!)
It was a complete win on both sides of the ball. Max Marty was money going 13 of 15 for 186 yards with three TDs through the air and one running. Dain Walter, playing in his last game, collected 3 solo tackles, assisted on 3 others, and had 2 sacks and 1 forced fumble. It was a running game by committee with Nate Brandes, Emery Johnson, Jackson Eyler, Max Marty and Reid Righter racking up 346 rushing yards!
Of course, none of the aforementioned could have happened without the brutal, stellar play of the offensive line which delivered a relentless pounding to the Dodgers all night long. Well done, boys in the trenches!
Rumor has it we are headed back to the Capitol Conference in 2022. I hope to see you all again next year right here on the pages of the Post Messenger Recorder. And thanks for reading.
Editorial Reflection: For seniors playing their last game an evening like this affords the opportunity to experience the meaning of "bittersweet". With the thrill of victory comes the awareness of closure. The long walk back to the locker room, once perfunctory, is now cherished with every step. Every attempt to slow down the process ultimately fails. And when the pads come off the finality of it all can reduce the toughest player to a puddle of emotion. It's a real-life drama that plays out in every locker room across the country. What lasts, of course, are the memories. I've been there. Seniors, allow me to welcome you to Alumni Status of NGM Football.