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Friday

September 2014

19

Football

Oconomowoc starts out 2-0

It has been awhile since Oconomowoc has been undefeated after two weeks of the football season.

In fact, the current Raccoons’ seniors were in third grade the last time it happened.
 
Using a strong second half, OHS held off Waukesha North, 35-21, starting the season 2-0 for the first time since 2002.
 
After defeating Kettle Moraine in last week’s season opener, OHS head coach Ryan McMillen acknowledged that his players knew how long it’s been since a Raccoons’ team has started 2-0.
 
“The kids talked about that, we are well aware of the history and tradition around here and what’s been done,” McMillen said. “We just want to keep raising that bar. It is going to take time. The kids believed that tonight, we had some adversity and they didn’t flinch.”
 
OHS took its first drive 73 yards in nine plays, with junior running back Mitch Pauers finding the end zone from three yards out.
 
North answered back to even the score at 7-7 in just over a minute.

Senior quarterback James Blackburn found his brother, senior wide receiver CJ Blackburn for a 57-yard score.

Less than three minutes later, James Blackburn struck again.

Scrambling on third down, Blackburn launched a perfect pass while falling down to senior Danny Shores for a 65-yard touchdown. The extra point was missed, but North still led, 13-7.
The Northstars had plenty of opportunity to seize the game in the first half, but 10 penalties and miscues held them back.
 
One key miscue allowed OHS to take the lead right before halftime. After recovering a North fumble on the 24-yard-line, sophomore quarterback Canton Larson connected with junior receiver Tyler Enright in the corner of the end zone to put OHS up 14-13 with 2:08 to play in the half.
 
Even though the Northstars outgained the Raccoons 241 yards to 127 in the first half, they found themselves behind.
 
OHS had three offensive possessions in the second half and it scored touchdowns on all three of them.
 
The Raccoons took the first drive of the third quarter down the field quickly and scored on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Larson to senior receiver Alex Eckes.
 
A fluke play led to a North touchdown that evened the score late in the third quarter.

On fourth down, the snap sailed over North punter Nick Isler’s head. It looked like OHS was going to get the ball deep in North territory, but Isler juked his way for 18 yards and a first down.

Later on the drive, CJ Blackburn scored on a seven-yard run. James Blackburn hit senior Dillard Love on the two-point conversion to tie the score at 21-21 with 4:08 to play in the third quarter.
 
After that drive, the OHS defense shut down the Northstars the rest of the way. A Pauers 4-yard touchdown run capped another long Raccoons drive and put them up 28-21 early in the fourth quarter.
 
The dangerous combination of the Blackburn brothers still loomed for the OHS defense, but it was up to the challenge. Senior Michael Del Vecchio intercepted a James Blackburn pass with just over eight minutes to play, setting up the score that put the game away.
Taking over on its own 28-yard-line, OHS continued its offensive success, driving down the field with ease and scoring on a one-yard run by junior running back Nico Even.

Aside from the one North touchdown drive, OHS dominated the second half on both sides of the ball.
 
“The second half we did some good things to keep ourselves going,” McMillen said. “We were able to control it. We made enough plays and scored down the stretch.”

McMillen wasn’t sure what to expect exactly from North, which was playing just its second game under head coach Carey Venne.

“It is tough to prepare for that,” McMillen said. “It is only week two and we didn’t know exactly what we were going to get. We did enough to find a way to get comfortable on certain series to keep the chains moving.”

CJ Blackburn finished with 237 all-purpose yards for North, 97 on the ground and 138 receiving yards.

Larson completed 10-of his-13 passes for OHS for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

“It was a very good team effort,” senior offensive lineman Matt Gross said. “You didn’t see any one guy make a ton of plays, it was a very good team effort.”

Despite being 2-0, the Raccoons made sure to emphasize that they are still hungry and won’t be overconfident.

“It gives us a little bit of confidence but it doesn’t mean we can just roll over for any team,” senior Austin Tomaz said. “We still have to work hard all week.”

That is especially true because OHS starts Wisconsin Little Ten conference play next week against a Hartford team that has taken two on the chin against two traditional powers to open the season.

“We are going to have a heck of a Hartford team coming down here,” McMillen said. “They are going to be hungry because they faced two top notch programs in Homestead and Germantown. They are going to be hungry for us.”

 

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