Two Rivers’ high-octane offense was once again on display as the Raiders topped Kiel 40-13 in an Eastern Wisconsin Conference tilt Friday night.
TR racked up a total of 538 yards in the victory, pushing its winning streak to three.
Scott Skornicka found the end zone on a 32-yard pass from Dexter Smith to give Two Rivers the early 6-0 edge.
Kiel answered on the ensuing possession when Jack Meunier scrambled in for a score from 18 yards out. A successful extra point made it 7-6 in favor of the visitors.
That lead would be short-lived, as TR later marched 97 yards, capped by a 2-yard run from Skornicka to gain a 12-7 advantage it would not relinquish.
The momentum may have shifted in the home team’s favor for good when Smith hooked up with Ethan Willman on a 38-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter.
“It stayed knotted up at 12-7 for quite awhile, then we had that drive right before the half,” Two Rivers head coach Kevin Shillcox said. “I think that was huge for us.”
TR went right back to work on the opening possession of the second half. Smith capped the drive, which lasted just over two minutes, with a four-yard touchdown run.
Minutes later, Smith connected with Willman again, this time, on a 52-yard touchdown pass, making it 34-7 Two Rivers heading into the fourth quarter.
But Kiel wasn’t ready to throw in the towel.
Meunier reached the end zone from 27 yards out to cut the deficit to 34-13.
An onside kick recovery had Kiel threatening in Two Rivers’ territory, but an interception on the following play stunted the would-be drive.
Chris Yauch put the icing on the cake for TR with a 12-yard touchdown run in the game’s waning moments.
Smith finished the game 21-for-34 passing for 348 yards and three touchdowns to go along with 10 rushes for 37 yards and a score.
Meunier was 6-for-18 passing for 101 yards for Kiel (2-4, 1-3 EWC). He picked up 77 yards on the ground on 15 attempts with two rushing touchdowns.
“We played well the first half, we just did not defend the rocket screen well,” Kiel head coach Mike Dressler said. “We just were out of position in the second half. We had some mental mistakes on both sides of the ball. That’s the result.”
Dressler implored his players to ponder how and why the game, which was a single-possession contest until late in the second quarter, got away from them.
“We told them over there, ‘look at the first quarter, look at the fourth quarter, and ask yourself: what happened?'”
Shillcox, on the other hand, has been waiting to see his team put a game on ice.
“We talked all week about finishing a game. We’ve been kind of sloppy in the second half when we get up on a lead,” Shillcox said. “This was the closest finish we had all year as far as taking over in the second half and actually just sealing it instead of letting people hang on a little bit. I was pleased. It was a step in the right direction.”
With the win, Two Rivers (5-1, 3-1 EWC) is one win away from becoming playoff eligible for the second consecutive season, with a trip to Sheboygan Falls (2-4, 1-3) awaiting next week.
Though his squad is on the cusp of attaining an important goal, Shillcox insists that the mentality of his team and his coaching staff will not change.
“The mindset all year has just been we’re 0-0, come Monday…and we worry about one team,” Shillcox said. “That’s what we do every week and we don’t change what we do, we just get better at what we do and that’s it. We don’t try to change things.”