The Pulaski football team isn’t ready to give up on its postseason hopes just yet. The road might look tough and the odds might not be in its favor, but for one week everything is good again for the Red Raiders.
Pulaski rolled to a 41-20 win over Green Bay Notre Dame on Friday night at Ted Fritsch Field, staying in contention for a playoff spot in coach Jed Kennedy’s first season with the program.
“I just kept telling the kids it’s a process,” Kennedy said. “It’s going to click. We are a long ways from where we want to be as a football program, but it was nice to get some of those breaks that we don’t think we have gotten the last four weeks.
“Our goal from the beginning was the playoffs. Our backs are against the wall. We have got to win out. We got one step done tonight.”
Pulaski (2-4) has not had an easy road up to this point, which partly explains why it finds itself in its current position.
After beating Sheboygan North in Week 1, the Red Raiders had to play three straight games against Bay Port, Green Bay Southwest and Green Bay Preble. Those three have become the best in the 12-team Fox River Classic Conference this season, going a combined 18-0.
But with a win over the Tritons, the Red Raiders’ playoff hopes likely comes down to a home game against Manitowoc next week. If they win that game, they will play a rebuilding Green Bay West in Week 8 with a potential playoff berth on the line.
Pulaski certainly looked like a playoff team against an injury-riddled Notre Dame, which was without starting quarterback Charlie Rotherham and down to five healthy linemen.
Linebacker Dalton Eldredge recovered a Notre Dame fumble on the first play from scrimmage, and four plays later Pulaski went up 7-0 on an 11-yard touchdown run from quarterback Logan Szymanski.
The junior finished with 141 yards for a Pulaski offense that totaled 402 yards on the ground.
The Tritons (3-3) tied the score at 7 with 6 minutes, 35 seconds remaining in the first quarter on a 22-yard TD pass from backup quarterback Mitch VandenMeerendonk to Cameron Snyder, but it was all Pulaski from there.
The Red Raiders scored 21 straight points, including TD runs of 9 and 59 yards from senior running back Neil Anderson, to go up 28-7 less than three minutes into the second quarter.
They delivered the knockout punch at the beginning of the second half, going on a 13-play, 66-yard drive that took more than six minutes off the clock and was capped by a 12-yard TD run from Jacob Bader.
Notre Dame couldn’t run the ball for a second straight week. It was held to just nine yards rushing, one week after being limited to three yards in a loss to Southwest.
VandenMeerendonk attempted to do his part, throwing for 224 yards and two touchdowns. He also had three interceptions.
“Tonight, we didn’t play very well,” Notre Dame coach John Nowak said. “But you have got to give them credit. I thought watching them that all along they were one of the three best teams in the conference. They put it together.
“They came out with an offense that we hadn’t seen. We didn’t adjust very well.”
Kennedy has not been able to install the entire offense he brought with him from Kenosha Bradford. He scrapped the single wing early on so that his players could get used to playing the option.
They have gotten used to it, which is why the team busted out the single wing. It had only used that offense for a few plays in the third quarter during its loss to Southwest.
“Things just clicked this week,” Kennedy said. “We were able to run single wing, and I think it kind of put them on their heels a little bit. Each week we have to find out where we are at.
“I’m a realist. We lose tonight, we are done. We can dodge around it or say it the way it is. Our kids responded.”
|GB Notre Dame||7||7||0||6||—||20|
P – Logan Szymanski 11-yard run (Jesse Pusick kick)
ND – Cameron Snyder 22-yard pass from Mitch VandenMeerendonk (Vincent Pallini)
P – Neil Anderson 9-yard run (J. Pusick kick)
P – N. Anderson 59-yard run (J. Pusick kick)
P – Jacob Bader 22-yard run (J. Pusick kick)
ND – Stuart Kwaterski 17-yard pass from M. VandenMeerendonk (V. Pallini)
P – J. Bader 12-yard run (kick failed)
P – Spencer Niemi 51-yard pass from L. Szymanski (J. Pusick kick)
ND – Ben Bobinski 12-yard pass from M. VandenMeerendonk (kick failed)
Rushing — Pulaski, Logan Szymanski 28-141. GB Notre Dame, Drew Elm 5-12.
Passing — Pulaski, Logan Szymanski 2-4-0-70. GB Notre Dame, Mitch VandenMeerendonk 13-33-2-224.
Receiving — Pulaski, Spencer Niemi 1-51. GB Notre Dame, Ben Bobinski 3-72.