It took more than a year, but the Mott-Regent/New England football team matched the 2018 version of the Wildfire in the second game of the season.
The Wildfire handed the visiting Hettinger-Scranton Night Hawks a 28-6 loss Aug. 30 in Mott.
The win was the first of the season for the Wildfire, improving the team’s record to 1-1 after a road loss to Lemmon-McIntosh in the season opener.The Wildfire literally grounded the Night Hawks, gaining more than 370 yards rushing, and buried the visitors with a power running game the coaches had hoped to see this season.
The biggest weapon was quarterback Sam Heuther. “In the first half, we just controlled the ball,” coach Nate Zachmann said after the game.
“We wanted to keep the ball away from Jeran Anderson –he’s really explosive. In fact, we wanted to keep the ball away from them (the Night Hawks).
“We controlled the time of possession really well and took care of the turnovers,” the MRNE coach said.The Wildfire got off to a good start.
“The first two drives, we just ran the ball… did a lot of ‘isos’ and ‘counter treys’ and established the running game. That took us into halftime (ahead 16-0). The Wildfire didn’t have a perfect game, the coach added.
“On the third drive, we had the ball on the five and had a holding penalty. We didn’t score on that drive. We just got too complacent.
”The Wildfire scored again in the second half while holding the Night Hawks scoreless until midway through the fourth quarter.
“We were doing the inside running game, but we got to the edges. We ran some ‘isos’ inside and we ran some traps inside. We had some passing opportunities. We had some guys that were open. We have just got to work on our timing,” the coach added.
The win helped with the players who played a year ago against the Night Hawks.
“The game last year in Hettinger, we had opportunities. We just didn’t capitalize on them.“The difference this year is all those freshmen last year are back and they are that much better this year,” Zachmann said. “When you have a football program, it takes time to develop that experience and depth. I think that is a big difference over what happened this year compared to last year.”There was also a big reason for the success Friday.
“We just gave Sam the ball in the running game. He is not the fastest guy in the world, but he’s big and strong and we want to utilize him a bit.“That was our spread running game so we spread it out,” Zachmann added.
The junior varsity was able to get some playing time in the fourth quarter. “We wanted the JV to get in there and get some experience.
Wildfire goes to Flasher
The Wildfire will take their 1-1 season to Grant County/Flasher Friday when the visit the 1-1 Storm.
Grant County opened the season with a narrow 30-24 home victory over Napoleon/G-S, then on Aug. 30, they dropped a 28-12 decision in Beach and fell to 1-1 for the season.