Hutchinson runs over Trojans

Hutchinson brought its powerful ground game to Trojan Field in New Prague Friday evening, Sept. 21, and while the Trojans took advantage of some early Tiger mistakes to claim a 12-7 halftime lead, in the end it was the Tiger offense that prevailed in a 29-20 win.

New Prague is preparing for a Missota Conference showdown at Northfield Friday. The two teams, along with Austin, are the leading contenders for the No. 1 seed in Section 1AAAA, all with 2-2 records. The top seed will get a first-round bye.

The first score of the game came on New Prague's third possession. Quarterback Tim Stepka hit Eric Meger for a 22-yard touchdown pass. The play was set up when the Trojans recovered a Hutchinson fumble on the Tigers' 32. The point-after was no good.

New Prague had an earlier scoring threat stopped when the Tigers intercepted a Stepka pass in the end zone for a touchback.

New Prague punted on its next possession, and senior Brad Weiers pinned the Tigers back on their own 2-yard line. However, that's when the Tiger ground game took over.

The Tigers ran 14 straight plays, all on the ground, ending with a two-yard touchdown run. The extra point gave the Tigers a 7-6 lead with 7:52 left in the second quarter.

Hutchinson began another drive on its own 15 after another good punt by Weiers. The Tigers went on the move again, but on a second-and-seven play near midfield, the Tigers coughed up the ball, and New Prague's Drew Feuk scooped up the loose ball and scampered 48 yards to give his team the lead. An apparent two-point was ruled no good when the Trojans were called for offensive pass interference. The penalty resulted in a loss of down, meaning the Trojans did not get another chance to convert.

Hutchinson opened the second half with a 14-play, 75-yard drive that took 6 minutes and 21 seconds, ending with a 4-yard run. The two-point conversion gave the Tigers a 15-12 lead with 5:39 left in the third quarter.

New Prague's only possession of the second half saw the Trojans move the ball 58 yards in just five plays, but the effort went for naught when New Prague fumbled, and the Tigers recovered on their own 13.

Hutchinson's ground game continued to dominate, as the team ran a 15-play, 87-yard drive, all on the ground, with a 4-yard run. The kick made it 2-12.

Hutchinson would score once more to take a 29-12 led with 1:05 left. New Prague moved the ball on its final possession, with Stepka completing an 11-yard pass to Martin DeValk for a touchdown. Zach Sirek caught the two-point conversion pass, making the final 29-20.

The Trojans gained 170 total yards, 78 rushing and 92 passing. Hutchinson, meanwhile, gained 427 yards, 402 on the ground and 25 in the air.

The Trojans' leading rusher was Nick Zweber, with 33 yards on four carries. Andy Zweber had 28 yards on five carries, Meger had 22 yards on three carries, Feuk carried once for a yard and Stepka had four carries for minus-six yards.

Stepka was eight-of-13 passing for 92 yards and two scores, while throwing one interception. Weiers caught five passes for 52 yards, Meger one for 21, DeValk one for 11 and Connor O'Brien one for eight yards.

Nick Zweber was the Trojans' leading tackler, with 16. Josh Lindquist had 12 tackles, Colin O'Brien 10 and Andy Zweber nine. Weiers caused both Tiger fumbles, with Feuk and Andy Zweber recovering. Both fumbles led to Trojan touchdowns.

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