The Tosa West Trojans lost their first game of the season Friday night to New Berlin West. The Trojans record is now 2 – 1 and NBW is 1 – 2.
Would it have been a different outcome if it weren’t for leg cramps? Of course we’ll never know for sure, but we do know that Tosa West lost their half-time lead in the third quarter when penalties, turnovers and yes – leg cramps – struck several starters.
Here’s how the game unfolded. The Tosa West Trojans played host to the Vikings in their first conference match-up of the year. Tosa West started on offense with running plays and a nice pass for a first down. At midfield their drive stalled with a failed 4th-and-one. In what would foreshadow things to come, NBW runners churned away minutes and yards, and scored on a seven-yard run to go up 7 – 0. The next two Trojan offensive series ended due to holding penalties, and the quarter ended quietly.
The 2nd quarter stared on a good note for the Trojans. Their defense had the Vikings pinned back near their goal line. On 4th and long the Viking’s attempted punt was blocked by senior Roberthenry Davis – and he jumped on the ball in the end zone for a Trojan touchdown. Zach Veit added the p.a.t. to tie the score at 7 – 7.
Trojan fans didn't have to wait long for more excitement. Their kickoff was fielded cleanly by the Vikings but the ball was stripped on the return. Junior defensive back Josh Soles covered the fumble and the Tosa offense was ready. On their first set of downs senior Jared Morzinski found junior Zach Veit all alone in the Vikings end zone. Zach’s catch and ensuing extra point made the score 14 – 7 Trojans.
With four minutes left in the half the Trojan’s offense struck again on a beautiful, 35 yard completion by Morzinski to Jameson Brock – who got behind coverage and sprinted to the house, for a 20 – 7 lead.
In the 2nd quarter, Tosa’s defense was something special. Seniors Develyn Ferguson, Brock and Roberthenry Davis each knocked Viking passes out of the sky. Linebacking juniors Joe Harrington, Matt Lundell, and seniors Tim Mueller and Greg Lewis filled gaps and dropped running backs. An excellent goal-line stand appeared to be enough to preserve their two touchdown lead. But penalties seemed to consistently aid the Vikings. A questionable “unsportsmanlike conduct” and a mystery interference call helped move the Vikings, and they scored just before the half to close the Trojans lead to 20 – 14.
The third and fourth quarters can be summed up pretty simply: the Trojans cramped up and the Vikings cashed in. In the third quarter the Trojan offense was stopped by two turnovers – one controversial – as it appeared the ball was stripped after the play was over. Turnovers and major penalties against the Trojans led to two New Berlin scores – and the Vikings led, 28 – 20.
Even with a depleted defense – Tosa made a solid 4th quarter stand, including a sack by senior linebacker Niko Lewis – and the Trojans got the ball back with six minutes left. Power runs by Purifoy and Greg Lewis, and a 20-yard pass to Brock had the Trojan’s in a solid position. But the drive sputtered and ended with a holding penalty and turnover on downs.
Credit is due to the Viking runners. NBW dominated the possession clock, running the ball 65 times for 346 yards compared to the Trojans 25 rushes for 99 yards. The Vikings finished with 93 passing yards compared to the Trojans 210.
This loss didn't result from only bad calls and cramps. Maybe Trojan fans saw a consequence of their two lopsided non-conference wins: in each, the starters were on the field for less than two quarters. To win this game, the Trojan needed to play good football for four quarters.
Next week the Trojans will line up at home against Pius. It’s “Parents Night” and looks to be a great game!
[And by the way… if you have a remedy for leg cramps – please comment!]