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Jaguars outdo Tigers on gridiron

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The Howells-Dodge Jaguars earned a 38-6 victory over the Osmond Tigers in Osmond on Friday, September 1.

While the scoreboard may not have indicated it, the Tigers made significant improvements from their season opener against Humphrey-St. Francis.

The Tigers played closer to their potential in all three phases of the game (defense, offense, and special teams).

Ultimately, the Tigers made a few to many mistakes and had trouble taking advantage of Jaguar mistakes throughout the course of the game.

“Our players came out and played extremely hard and demonstrated improvement in several areas,” Tigers’ coach Scott Morrison said. “We’re not where we want to be yet, but it’s cool to see the progression the guys are making.”

Howells-Dodge opened the game with the ball and drove it fifty-two yards in nine plays for a touchdown by running back Dylan Horjesi, who also ran in the two-point conversion (8-0 HD).

The drive got off to a solid start for the Jaguars who moved the ball fifteen yards on the opening play. Horjesi ran the ball around right end for eight yards; they got five more yards thanks to a facemask penalty.

The drive’s big play was a pass from quarterback Dax vanLengen to Jordon Brichacek for an 18-yard gain.

After the Tigers could turned the ball over on downs on their opening drive, they put themselves in great position thanks to an interception by Colton Beacom (Sr., B/LB).

His 26-yard return gave the Tigers the ball on the Howells-Dodge nineteen yard-line.

The Tigers moved the ball down to the five thanks to some tough running by Justus Maertins (So., B/DB), Anthony Heiman (Jr., B/LB), and Beacom. They also got some assistance from the Jaguars on an encroachment penalty.

However, the Tigers were unable to score as they fumbled the ball and it was recovered in the end zone.  

This led to the Jaguars’ next score, a resilient drive that ate up sixty-five yards in twelve plays and overcame a holding penalty and a fumble that set them back.

They produced three plays of thirteen yards or more. The drive ended on a 4-yard touchdown run by vanLengen who carried out a run fake to his right and then booted out to his left.

The Jaguars found themselves up 14-0 in the second quarter after the Tigers stopped them short of the goal line on the two-point conversion attempt.

On their next drive, the Tigers had trouble holding on to the football again. They fumbled the ball back to the Jaguars, who took over on the Tigers’ twenty yard-line.

While it looked eminent that the Jaguars would drive in for their next score, the Tiger defense held strong and forced their opponents to turn the ball over on downs.

“Our defense came up strong after we turned the ball over. They could have hung their heads and easily given up another score, but they worked together to get the ball back!” Morrison said.

After getting the ball back, the Tigers couldn’t advance it and were forced to punt.

Their defense nearly came up strong, again. They forced the Jaguars to a fourth-and-long from the Tigers’ twenty-four yard-line.

Howells-Dodge converted an 18-yard pass play, though, which set up their last score until 4:43 remaining in the game.

Horjesi scored on a six-yard run. Then he followed it up with the 2-point conversion on a 3-yard run.

The Jaguars held a 22-0 advantage at half-time.

 While Howells-Dodge ran roughly two-thirds of their plays in the first half, the Tigers continued to play hard and hit their stride in the third/fourth quarters.

“For the second week in a row, our players came out and played a great second half.”

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“Nothing really changed other than, at halftime, our players came together and refocused one another. This is a beautiful thing. Our team is full of great individuals who care about each other and about the team.”

The Tigers received the second half kickoff and earned a first down. Beacom ran the ball eight yards up the middle, side-stepping a defender and moving uphill.

His run was sprung thanks to solid blocks all five men on the line: Alexis Solorzano (So., OL/DL), Alex Alderson (Sr., OL/DL), Nick Reikofski (Jr., OL/LB), Zach Huwaldt (Fr., E/DL), and Drew Krienert (E/DL).

They also opened a seven-yard run by Heiman a few plays later.

After eventually being forced to turn the ball over on downs, the Tigers’ defense came out fierce and ferocious.

Alderson stifled the Jaguars’ first play, catching vanLengen and securing him for a host Tigers to bring him down.

Then Krienert picked up a Horjesi fumble, which gave the Tigers the ball on the Howells-Dodge thirty-three yard-line.

Beacom and Alex Palu (Sr., B/LB) moved the Tigers close to a first down, but ultimately could not earn a first down.

Justus Maertins (So., B/DB) looked to find Palu or Krienert on a pass, but was forced to try and run for the first down and was stopped short.

The Tigers again put up a strong defensive front and forced an interception. Heiman hit his man just after the ball arrived; the ball bounced in the air and Krienert was there for the pick.

This led to the Tigers most explosive play of the game: a 25-yard burst by Heiman down to the Jaguars’ thirteen yard-line.

The left side of the offensive line made the run possible. Reikofski and Huwaldt took care of the inside linebackers, while Solorzano held the nose guard in check.

Maertins threw a nice block on the defensive just before he could reach Heiman.

Three plays later, the Tigers found the endzone. Heiman scored on a 6-yard run. The conversion attempt failed, but the Tigers cut the lead to 22-6.

It didn’t take long for the Tigers to build on their momentum. They forced a three-and-out after a short first down gain, a sack by Krienert and Alderson, and incomplete pass defended by Maertins and Beacom.

The Tigers took possession on their own thirty yard-line looking to match the result of their previous drive.

Beacom carried the ball eleven yards on the first two plays of the drive, and the Tigers earned a first down. Again, the interior five was working their magic, and Beacom’s momentum kept carrying him forward.

Palu had a nice 6-yard run, setting up a fourth-and-short (roughly four yards). They tried to sneak Maertins outside the line, but he was tackled quickly by a couple Jaguar defenders.

The Tigers kept fighting. They forced Howells-Dodge to punt one more time after stopping them short of a first down.

“Our team’s resiliency down the stretch was a great sign. They kept fighting! Time-after-time our players kept picking themselves and each other up to continue giving themselves a chance,” Morrison said.

Finally, though the Tigers were forced to punt. Then, the Jaguars went on what was essentially a game-ending drive.

They scored with 4:43 remaining in the game as Horjeski ran in a 5-yard touchdown. Maertins came up and delivered a solid hit, but Horjeski had just crossed the goal line.

vanLengen found Jordan Brichacek for the two-point conversion to make it a 30-6 HD lead.

Then, after fumbling the ball back to the Jaguars, several younger tigers came into the game.

Josh Gansebom (So., B/LB) and Landon Stelling (So., OL/DL), who had already been in the game on occasion, came in for the rest of the contest.

Louis Muschter (Sr., E/DL), Logan Stelling (So., OL/DL), Blake Bahr (Fr., OL/DL), and Zach Boyle (Fr., OL/DL) all rotated in as offensive and defensive lineman.

Connor Gutz (Fr., B/LB), Parker Johnson (Fr., OL/LB), and Graysen Schultze (Fr., B/DB) came in for a series on offense and defense.

Gutz and Schultze carried the ball twice each on offense.

Asher Parks-Wattier (Sr., OL/LB) is set to make his return for the Tigers against Randolph on Friday, September 15.