There was no way to sugarcoat last week’s outcome for Lourdes Academy.
The Knights went to Shiocton to face a state-ranked squad and came away suffering the program’s most lop-sided loss in more than 11 seasons.
It’s the kind of defeat that either unify a team or ruin a season.
“Absolutely, I was concerned,” Lourdes coach Shane Obrigewich said. “Whenever you get beat up, you worry about how the psyche of the guys is going to be on Monday.”
Lourdes appears to be just fine.
The Knights got a key field goal just before halftime from Kyle Hellman and forced three turnovers in a 44-35 win over defending Trailways Large champion Deerfield on Friday night.
One week after being blanked by Shiocton — a team that has allowed just one touchdown in three games — the Knights scored in every quarter and got touchdowns against four different players en route to the win.
“Our guys came out on Monday like they were brand new. Just came out they were ready to roll,” Obrigewich said. “We had a very good week of practice. They kids came out focused.
“Nobody likes to get beat that bad, but they took it to heart, they took it personal and we put it behind us and moved on.”
Tony O’Krueg-Wright ran for a team-high 94 yards and a score, while Charlie Noone added two rushing touchdowns and threw for a victory-clinching score to Hellman with just more than two minutes left.
It was a strong showing for the Knights, whose turnaround from last week may have been helped by the opponent on the schedule.
Obrigewich said the team knew it had to be clicking if it was going to beat a talent-rich Deerfield squad.
“It’s the first game of conference, they beat us pretty bad last year at Titan Stadium so I think we had all sorts of fuel for this one,” Obrigewich said. “I just hope we keep moving forward. You want to keep getting better and you want to keep improving week to week.”
First win at Ripon
After just two wins in the previous two seasons, head coach Mike Yoder likely knew he was taking on a big task when he took over the Ripon program this season.
He took his first steps down that rebuilding path on Friday.
The Tigers fell behind Clintonville 7-0 early in the first quarter and then cranked out 42 unanswered points en route to the win over the Truckers.
Quarterback James Vander Galien led the charge, throwing for two TDs and running for another in the win.
Getting his kicks
Lourdes Academy’s Kyle Hellman is in his first season playing on the Knights football team and it turns out he brought a pretty useful skill from his previous endeavor.
Hellman had played with the school’s soccer team and has provided a boost the Knights special teams as a kicker.
“I had no idea he could kick like that,” Obrigewich said. “Anytime a kid wants to try out at kicker I cringe and he went out there and hit a couple of 50-yarders in practice. Then they put a rush up and he hit from 45 yards.”
Hellman had a 45-yard boot in the opening night win over North Fond du Lac and then went 2-for-2 against Deerfield with kicks of 30 and 35 yards.
The latter of the two came with about three seconds left in the half and tied the game at 14, giving the Knights a huge momentum boost.
“We come down the field and kick a field goal on fourth down and 15 to tie it half. That’s a whole different mindset at halftime,” Obrigewich said. “That was a crucial point of the game.”
Oshkosh North came up two points and one place short of being included in the top 10 in last week’s AP Large school rankings.
That could change.
The Spartans knocked off Wisconsin Rapids 36-19 on Saturday to improve to 3-0 on the season, while three of the teams in the top 10 were beaten on Friday.
One of the teams to lose was VFA South member Stevens Point, which was ranked seventh. The Panthers lost to Menasha, 31-21. North hosts the Bluejays next Friday.
The other ranked teams to lose were eighth-ranked Green Bay Southwest and ninth-ranked Greendale.
Top-ranked Homestead pounded Port Washington, 44-21.