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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo Rolls To 3-0

Clobbers Coleman 28-Zip Behind Dominating Defense

With senior quarterback Dakota Keller having a hand in all 4 touchdowns, the Peshtigo Bulldogs rolled to 3-0 in the M-O Conference with a 28-0 whipping of visiting Coleman. The gridiron rout keeps the pre-season favorite Bulldogs on track to win the league title by besting the previously unbeaten Cougars.

“This was a very physical game and our kids flew to the ball. I was really proud of their effort and the intensity showed,” Bulldog boss Sam Komp said. “The kids played well and we were fortunate to beat a very good football team. Everything we got we had to earn and thankfully our defense gave us some opportunities that we were able to take advantage of.”

You name it and Peshtigo dominated.

The Bulldogs offense let loose with a 317 yard attack, 224 rushing and 93 through the air. Leading the way was Keller, who ran for two scores and passed for a pair. Keller carried 9 times for 35 yards, hitting paydirt on runs of 25 and 3 yards, while adding 7 of 12 passes for 93 yards, including scoring tosses to Levi Sanborn (7 yards) and Jake Romenesko 22 yards.

Trevor Igl topped the running corps with 16 rushes for 98 yards while DJ Messenger added 11-68.

Defensively, Peshtigo held the run-oriented Cougars to 96 total yards...91 rushing and 5 passing. Dexter Karban (12 carries) and Trevor Seewald (9) gained 28 yards each while Marc Lansin added 6 runs for 26 yards. Sophomore signal caller Blake Margis gained 12 yards in 7 rushes and hit on 2 of 8 passes for 5 yards and 2 interceptions.

“Basically, Peshtigo's defensive front shut down everything we tried to do. We know that they are well coached and physical and on Friday they showed that we were right.  The goal was to limit their possessions by gaining 3-4 yards a carry, but whether it was our mistakes or Peshtigo's defense we could never follow through with that goal,” Coleman coach Jeff Bronson said. “We need to learn from what went right and wrong and try to get better.  I am hoping a game like this again demonstrates the need for an increase in our summer weight room participation since it was obvious that Peshtigo's players were stronger.”

The Bulldogs got an early break when Seewald fumbled on the third play from scrimmage with Zach Neumann recovering at the Coleman 37. Four plays later the Bulldogs were on the scoreboard. Igl peeled off a 25 yard scamper to the 9 before Keller hooked up with Sanborn from 7 yards out. Neumann booted the point after for a 7-0 lead at the 9:18 mark.

Things continued to go astray for Coleman on its second drive as a holding penalty resulted in a 4 play march that gained 8 yards but stalled at midfield. Down by a touchdown, the Cougars gambled on fourth down and saw fullback Karban get stopped by the right side of the defensive line at the Peshtigo 49.

Setting up shop from midfield, the Bulldogs needed three plays and two Coleman penalties to get back on the board. A flag for a “hit to the head” gave Peshtigo a first down at the Coleman 34, Igl gained 4 yards to the 30 on the second play before an offside call resulted in a fresh set of downs at the 25. From there, Keller took over and scored on a quarterback sweep (6:09) and Neumann split the uprights for a quick 14-0 lead.

“We could not have scripted a worse start. Fumbled exchange on the first play and then a turnover on the third. Our second drive was ended by a holding call as we are not yet to a point where we can overcome those obstacles,” Bronson explained. “After the first quarter, the team played better.  Defensively we started slowing them down more and put up more resistance. The problem was that the game was a little out of reach.”

Coleman’s offensive problems continued on the third drive, which ended up being a “three and out”. Peshtigo freshman defender Cameron Lepkowski and linebacker Gunner Kinney joined forces to sack Margis for an 8 yard loss on second down leading to a 36 yard punt.

Taking over at the 24, Peshtigo set sail for the end zone, again. This time the Bulldogs strung together an 11 play march and padded the lead to 20-0. Messenger ripped off a 9 yard gain on first down and hauled in a 17 yard pass from Keller to the Coleman 46. A shovel pass to Igl resulted in a pick up of 19 yards to the 27 before the Bulldog back busted loose on an 18 yard run to the 4. Getting the ball again, Igl powered for one yard to end the opening quarter, before Keller found the comforts of the end zone on the opening play of period two from three yards out.

Both teams threatened to score in the final 5 minutes of the half, but came up empty. Peshtigo moved from midfield to the Coleman 26 before a penalty and interception return of 34 yards by Seewald thwarted the march.

With the ball back and 2 1/2 minutes remaining, Coleman put together its best drive of the game....from the Peshtigo 46 to the 8. Lansin got things rolling with pair of 13 yard runs to the Bulldog 20. After Karban pounded his way to the 17, the yards became tougher to gain. Karban wiggled to the 15, Seewald picked up 2 before Karban rammed his way on fourth down to the 10 with 0:27 left in the half to move the chains. Following a spike on first down, Margis missed a pass to Seewald before getting pressured by Bulldog lineman Jordan Berth and throwing an ill-advised pass, which was picked off by a diving Romenesko.

“That was a big stop by our defense. A score there and Coleman has plenty of momentum heading into halftime. Fortunately our guys rose to the challenge,” Komp added.

Getting the ball to open the second half, Peshtigo put the game out of reach with a time consuming 11 play, 67 yard scoring drive. The opening 10 plays was strictly a ground affair as Messenger carried 4 times, Igl twice, Keller three times and Sanborn once. The biggest run in the drive was a 9 yard scamper by Igl to the 24 before Keller hurled a third down 22 yard scoring toss to Romenesko at the 7:34 mark. Steve Strojny tacked on the conversion run for a commanding 28-0 cushion.

“We had a nice drive to open the second half and were able to get the momentum back on our side,” Komp said. “Our offensive line did a fantastic job opening up holes for our backs and gave Keller time to throw the ball.

Facing that big deficit, the Cougars had five more possessions in the game with the deepest penetration reaching the Peshtigo 27. The Cougars punted once, tried a fake punt before running out of downs on the remaining possessions.

The Bulldogs will face another stiff challenge this Friday hosting Crivitz (4-1, 3-0) in a battle of first place teams. The victor will automatically qualify for the WIAA playoffs while the loser will have to wait another week.

“We had an important conference game against Coleman tonight and another one coming up this week with Crivitz. They will present us with a difficult challenge of trying to stop the premiere back in the league in Fischer. I hope our defense will be up to the task,” Komp concluded.

Meanwhile Coleman will look to get back on the winning track with a trip to Wausaukee Friday.

“Wausaukee will present the same basic obstacles as Gillett....a quarterback that we need to keep in the pocket, and a receiver that goes and catches nearly every ball thrown his way.  For us, we will need to get in a groove offensively--control the ball and have multiple backs with carries.  It will be interesting to see how we rebound,” Bronson commented.


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