Putting together methodical drives early on, Sheboygan South’s offense couldn’t find the endzone. By the time it did, the deficit was too much to overcome.
Down 28-0 entering the fourth quarter, South forced two quick turnovers early in the frame and scored off each one but the Redwings couldn’t complete the comeback bid in falling 35-13 to visiting Ashwaubenon on Friday night.
By dropping to 2-6 and 2-5 in the Fox River Classic Conference, South was officially eliminated from postseason contention with the loss on its Homecoming Night.
“Ashwaubenon has very good athletes and their athletes made plays,” South head coach Chris Hein said. “I guarantee there were some people here tonight that wrote this team off at halftime. As tough as this loss is I’m just proud of the character that our kids showed. “
After holding Ashwaubenon (8-0, 7-0 FRCC) to a punt on the Jaguars’ first possession, South drove the ball to their opponent’s seven-yard line. But on second and goal, Redwings quarterback Robert Hoffmann was picked off for an Ashwaubenon touchback. The ensuing play was a 67-yard pass and was immediately followed by a 13-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 with 5:48 left in the first quarter.
From there South and Ashwaubenon exchanged possessions, but with 4:25 left in the first half the Jaguars drove and found the back of the endzone on a three-yard pass to make it 14-0.
Attempting to cut its deficit heading into the break, South fell victim to an interception return for a touchdown and a fumble return for a score in the final four minutes of the half.
“In the end I think we just couldn’t quite make enough plays when we had opportunities to make them, whether it was on offense or on defense,” Hein said. “In the first half we had opportunities for plays and we just missed on those opportunities.”
For the game South held the ball for nearly 33 minutes making 20 first downs while Ashwaubenon maintained possession for just 15 minutes, making 11 first downs and being limited to 99 rushing yards on 15 attempts.
But Ashwaubenon’s defense came up big when it needed to, forcing four interceptions and forcing three fumbles, recovering one.
Robert Hoffmann was 14-of-32 for 163 yards for South while teammate Boris Ristiovojevic had his best rushing performance of the season with 29 carries for 135 yards.
Following a 13-yard touchdown run by Andrew Wildman with 11:40 left in the game, Ristiovojevic carried the ball in from one-yard out with 10:15 to go to give South new life. In all, the Redwings rushed 51 times for 159 yards.
“In the second half we started to make some plays and started forcing some turnovers,” Hein said, crediting Alex Feudner with coming up with critical plays that boosted the rest of the defense. “I’m just so proud of these kids and the resiliency they had in the second half. They just kept fighting and these kids are fighters and that’s why I’m proud of this team.”
While South is no longer will be playing for a playoff spot, the Redwings will still have plenty to play for going into next week’s regular-season home finale against crosstown rival Sheboygan North (1-7, 0-6 FRCC).
“I’m proud of these kids. I would have loved to have gone to the playoffs with these kids. Obviously they are down, but you know they will get up for the North game next week,” Hein said. “It’s an important game every year for South, North and for the city and so, as bad as they feel now, I know this team, like they have every week, will come come to work next Friday and give it their best.”
…0 0 0 13 — 13
…7 21 0 7 — 35
— Jake Zills 13 run (PAT Emmit Carpenter)
A — James Morgan 3 pass to Sam Wisneski (PAT Carpenter)
A — Ben Weyers 25 INT (PAT Carpenter)
A — Kyle Mrozinski (PAT Carpenter)
SS — Andrew Wildman 13 run (PAT Jaret Curtis)
SS — Boris Ristivojevic (PAT fail)
A — Zills 2 run
First downs 20 11
Rushing 19-99 51-159
Yards passing 213 163
Comp.-Att-Int 10-20-2 14-32-4
Fumbles 2-2 3-1
Rushing: SS — Boris Ristivojevic 29-135. A — Jake Zills 17-99.
SS — Robert Hoffmann 14-32-163-4. A — James Morgan 10-18-213-1.
SS — Mitchell Martinez 6-79. A — Jake Monroe 4-78.