Second half surge powers Trojans

For most of the first half, New Prague had difficulty moving the ball during their season-opening football game at Waseca.

But a touchdown with 2.5 seconds remaining in the half gave the Trojans the confidence they needed to get things rolling, and they defeated the Bluejays 26-0 in a non-conference football game.

The Trojans will take their 1-0 record onto the home field against defending Missota Conference co-champion Holy Angels Friday. The Stars, who lost heavily to graduation, appear to be strong after an impressive opening win against Benilde-St. Margaret's. Game time is 7 p.m.

Slow start

New Prague couldn't get any offensive momentum going early. They had just two yards of total offense in the first quarter, compared to 69 for the Bluejays. Waseca's defense stifled the Trojans' running game, allowing just two gains.

Waseca, meanwhile came out on their opening drive and went 35 yards downfield. The drive stalled and they were forced to punt, but the kicker shanked the ball, resulting in a 1-yard loss, giving New Prague good field position.

For the remainder of the half, both teams took turns punting and committing turnovers.

First score

New Prague got one last chance with the ball in the closing minutes of the half, and finally was able to move the ball, thanks to their passing game. Sophomore quarterback Ross Skluzacek completed a pass to Jeff Pumper for 12 yards. Two plays later, a personal foul call on Waseca gave the Trojans another 15 yards, and then Skluzacek hit Eric Bisek for 12, to the 4-yard line with 9 seconds remaining. After a timeout, Daren Geyen carried to the 1, and the Trojans called for another timeout. Skluzacek scored with 2.5 seconds remaining and Mark Laban got the point-after to make it 7-0 Trojans at the half, despite having been outgained 101 yards to 51.

The second half was a different story, as the Trojans dominated play on both ends of the ball. New Prague scored on its first drive, which opened with a 20-yard pass from Skluzacek to Pumper. New Prague moved it on the ground the rest of the way, with Dan Sacco getting the score from one yard out at 7:33. Laban's kick made it 14-0.

Big play

On Waseca's first play from scrimmage, junior lineman Jake Schoenecker stripped the ball from a Waseca runner and carried it to the 12-yard line. Four plays later, Skluzacek passed to Josh Simon for a 9-yard score. A penalty brought the extra point attempt back 10 yards, and it was no good, making it 20-0 New Prague.

Waseca went four-and-out on their next series, and the Trojans moved the ball again, going 38 yards, but stalling inside the 15. Laban tried a field goal on the second play of the fourth quarter, but it was at a tough angle and went wide left.

Waseca once again went three plays and punted. New Prague took to the air, with Pumper catching a 2-yard pass and Bisek a 26-yarder, putting the Trojans in striking distance again. Sacco carried to the one, and the Trojans appeared to have scored on the next play, but it was called back on a penalty. That was academic though, as Laban carried it in from six yards out on the next play. The two-point conversion was no good, but the Trojans led 26-0.

Waseca finally put a drive together, with the help of a Trojan pass interference call, but the drive was stopped when senior Curt Hoemke made a diving, one-handed interception

Stats

For the game, the Trojans had 261 yards of offense, compared to Waseca's 127. New Prague had 144 yards rushing, with Sacco gaining 35 yards on 9 carries, Laban and Simon each had 29 yards on 6 carries, Hafermann had 24 yards on 8 carries, Daren Geyen had 17 yards on 6 carries, Andy Shetka had 5 yards on 1 carry, Troy Pint had 4 yards on 2 carries, Skluzacek had 0 yards on 2 carries and Andy Wescott lost two yards on 1 carry.

Pint was expected to be one of the focal points of the Trojans' offense, but he injured his knee late in the first quarter and didn't play the rest of the game. He was hoping to find out Wednesday how severe the injury was.

Skluzacek was 7 of 17 passing for 117 yards and a touchdown. Joe Chromy, who started the game for New Prague, was 0 for 2 passing with an interception.

Pumper was the leading receiver, with 3 catches for 56 yards. Bisek had 2 catches for 38 yards, Pint had 1 catch for 14 and Simon 1 catch for 9.

Defensively, Schoenecker had six solo tackles and five assists, along with a forced fumble and fumble recovery. Kevin Pexa had eight solo tackles and one assist, Joe Barten had four solos and seven assists and Mike Hoemke had five solos and two assists. Sacco had a sack and Simon and Curt Hoemke had interceptions.

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