Raccoons have an off night against Wisco
Ryan McMillen would do this again, many times over in fact.
“If we got to play these guys nine weeks out of nine weeks, I’d take it,” the Oconomowoc coach said after his team was on the wrong side of a 48-6 outcome Friday against Wisconsin Lutheran at Wisconsin Lutheran College. “I know that sounds crazy, but I really would, because they do what they do and to beat them you have to out-execute and play football and come right back at them. We didn’t do that tonight, and that’s why we lost.”
The Vikings scored on each of their first four possessions and were only stopped on offense when the clock ran out at halftime and at the end of the game, turning a battle of two undefeated teams into a contest featuring a running clock in the second half.
Perennially a contender for the Wisconsin Little Ten title and much more, Wisco took a 27-0 lead before the Raccoons hit the scoreboard.
“They throw haymaker after haymaker after haymaker, and will you stand there and take the shots and come back?” McMillen said. “We took the shots and started come back, we just didn’t have enough to come all the way back.
“We’ve just got to come in and play. We had the talent to do it this year. In other years, I don’t know that we did. But we didn’t show up to play for whatever reason. … We were just a step slow on everything.”
In fairness, the Vikings possess a versatile and explosive running game, on display with backfield mates Adihia Bell and London Townsend. Bell’s 47-yard dash to paydirt four plays into the game set the tone, and Townsend surged in from 20 yards away at the 3:05 mark in the first quarter.
With the score 21-0, the Vikings delivered one of those haymakers on a 4th and 4 from the 50, executing a fake punt for 35 yards and setting up Bell’s second touchdown. Townsend later added another score, and Bell wasn’t done, either.
After Raccoons quarterback Canton Larson engineered a smooth nine-play drive and scored on a 12-yard rush in the final 40 seconds of the first half, Cooney took the second-half kickoff and marched deep into Wisco territory, starting with a 1st and goal on the 8. On 2nd down from the 5-yard line, Larson threw a short pass picked off by Bell, who ran 98 yards the other way for a back-breaking touchdown.
“We felt good about our offensive scheme, we really did,”McMillen said. “As you see, we marched it, we knew we could do it. There’s no doubt in my mind we can play with teams like this, we just have to do it. We’re going to always rely on the defense as long as I’m here, and when the defense doesn’t set the table, it’s probably going to be a long night for us. Not that we can’t come back, but it’s going to be difficult. Canton showed some flashes tonight of being a dual-threat kid and (Zach) Poker played his tail off.”
Poker finished with 129 yards receiving, including 50 on a shovel pass early in the third quarter. He nearly had a touchdown later in the second half but fumbled the ball at the goal line, and Townsend recovered.
In the grand scheme, the loss may make a conference title difficult, but Oconomowoc (4-1) remains very much on solid ground, needing one win in the final three games to reach the playoffs. A victory over Hartford next week on Homecoming would do the trick.
“If you ever come into a season and come into a goal to beat one team, you’re mistaken,” McMillen said. “We talked about getting back to work and doing our thing and staying true to the process. Are we out of the conference title race? By no means. This is high school football. Anybody can lose any night.”
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