For parts of Saturday’s game, Sheboygan North’s football team stood toe-to-toe with Green Bay Preble.
The Golden Raiders held a two-point lead after the first quarter, and trailed by just eight at halftime against a team that’s hovering near the top of the Fox River Classic Conference standings.
But a 20-point burst in the fourth quarter landed the Hornets a 57-29 victory against North, for whom a conference win has proved elusive through six weeks this season.
“It sure felt like we were in it more than that first quarter,” North coach Karl Nienhuis said, noting he felt his team kept within striking distance through most of Saturday’s game. The Raiders (1-5, 0-5 FRCC) trailed by just 14 points coming into the fourth quarter after holding Preble (4-2, 4-1 FRCC) to just one touchdown in the third.
North relied frequently on senior quarterback Jacob Schmidt, who produced two heroic early touchdown passes and finished the game with four TDs and 309 yards — and on a blustery afternoon when throwing the ball was all the more difficult.
With its offense seemingly stalled nine yards outside the red zone on North’s opening drive, Schmidt hooked up with receiver Weston Nelson on a gutsy 4th-and-16 pass for the Raiders’ first touchdown, tying the game at 7-7.
Later in the first quarter, with the offense backed up deep in its own territory and facing a 3rd-and-38, Schmidt and Nelson again connected for an unlikely score, this time on an 80-yard play to put North ahead 16-14.
“He came through with some huge plays,” Nienhuis said of Schmidt. “We executed and put scores on the board, it was awesome.”
Later in the half, Schmidt completed a 1-yard TD pass to Daniel Wild to give North a two-point lead — this time 23-21. But Preble finished out the half with a field goal and a punt block into the end zone to put 10 quick points on the board and secure an eight-point advantage into halftime.
The Hornets packed a harsher sting in the second half, racking up 22 straight points to take as much as a 51-23 lead in the fourth quarter.
Schmidt found Noah Stengel in the end zone for a 5-yard TD pass play late in the game to narrow the deficit.
Wild led North’s rushing offense with 37 yards on six carries. And Sam Pelzel helped produce the Raiders’ only defensive points on a safety in the second quarter.
But the team struggled to contain Preble quarterback Will Daniels, who racked up 144 yards and three TDs on the ground, and passed for 227 yards and two more touchdowns.
“It always seems like you go back and you think of things right away — a lot of it was on us, us executing and handling some of those things,” Nienhuis said. “We feel like it was more us than them.”
…14 17 6 20 — 57
…16 7 0 6 — 29
— Will Daniels 1-yard run (Cory Cegelski kick)
S — Jacob Schmidt 29-yard pass to Weston Nelson (Bailey Meyer kick)
P — W. Daniels 38-yard run (C. Cegelski kick)
S — Sam Pelzel safety
S — J. Schmidt 80-yard pass to W. Nelson (B. Meyer kick)
P — W. Daniels 12-yard pass to Nathan Prevost (C. Cegelski kick)
S — J. Schmidt 1-yard pass to Daniel Wild (B. Meyer kick)
P — 25-yard field goal
P — Punt block return
P — W. Daniels 20-yard run (kick fail)
P — W. Daniels 22-yard pass to C. Cegelski (C. Cegelski kick)
P — C. Cegelski 13-yard run (C. Cegelski kick)
S — J. Schmidt 5-yard pass to Noah Stengel (kick fail)
P — Xzavier Newsom 55-yard run (no kick)
First downs 17 25
Rushing 1 263
Yards passing 309 227
Comp.-Att-Int 16-33-3 16-26-1
Fumbles 3-2 1-1
Rushing: SN — Daniel Wild 6-37. GBP — Will Daniels 18-144, 3 TD.
SN — Jacob Schmidt 16-32-3, 309, 4 TD. GBP — Will Daniels 16-26-1, 227, 2 TD.
SN — Weston Nelson 5-211, 2 TD. GBP — Brandon Collins 6-70.