Wild third quarter leads to Trojan loss

After a listless first half, the New Prague Trojans and Prior Lake Lakers put on a fireworks show in the third quarter, with Prior Lake coming out on top, 23-16.

36 of the 39 points came in the first eight minutes of the third quarter, with New Prague scoring two touchdowns and Prior Lake three touchdowns and a safety.

Neither team could get their offense clicking on a consistent basis in the fist half. New Prague had a couple of penalties at key moments and turned the ball over once, while Prior Lake turned it over twice.

One of those Prior Lake fumbles came on a punt midway through the second quarter. The ball was recovered inside the 10-yard-line, giving New Prague good field position. However, the Trojans couldn’t move the ball and had to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Eric Olson, giving New Prague a 3-0 lead at halftime.

The third quarter was an entirely different story. New Prague fumbled two plays into the half, and Prior Lake scored on the next play, on a 21-yard run by Cody-Jack Sheehan. The extra point made it 7-3.

The Trojans responded quickly. The Trojans lost a yard on the first play, but on second and 11, Ross Skluzacek threw to Tony Kubes, who caught the pass 20 yards downfield and didn’t stop running until he found the end zone, for an 81-yard scoring pass. The extra point was good, giving the Trojans a 10-7 lead.

Prior Lake went three-and-out on the next series and punted. Kubes took the ball at his own 19 and went right up the middle, running past everyone for his second 81-yard touchdown in less than two minutes. This time, the extra point was no good and New Prague led 16-10.

Prior Lake answered back quickly, with Anthony White keeping on the option on the second play and gaining 51 yards, with Brian O’Neill stopping him at the1-yard-line. That only delayed the score, as Joseph Erickson scored on a 1-yard run. The kick was good, and New Prague’s lead was cut to 16-14 with 6:14 remaining.

New Prague couldn’t move the ball, and after a sack on third down, had to punt from their end zone. The Lakers sent 10 men after the kicker and blocked the kick. It was recovered by the Trojans in the end zone for a safety.

On the ensuing free kick, Lucas Choudek returned the ball 61 yards for a touchdown. The two point conversion pass made it 23-16. That is the way the game ended.

New Prague gained 76 yards rushing and added 113 passing for the game, for a total of 189 yards of offense. Mike Romig had 17 carries for 67 yards to lead the Trojans on the ground. Skluzacek was 4-of-16 passing for 113 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Kubes had three catches for 96 yards and Kyle Smisek had one catch for 17 yards.

Prior Lake had 251 yards rushing and just 21 passing, for a total of 272 yards.

New Prague returns to action Friday evening when they play at Shakopee. The Sabers, like the Trojans, are 1-1 on the season. They defeated St. Cloud Cathedral in their opener, then lost to Farmington 34-6.

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