The 2019 football season ended in daylight Oct. 19, but it also ended with a positive sign in a 38-22 loss to Beach.
The team finished the season with a 2-7 record and a 2-6 mark inside the newly re-aligned Nine-man Region 4. Beach finished the regular season in a 6-2 tie for third with Grant County/Flasher. Newcomers Linton/HMB and Kidder County finished with identical 7-1 records atop the standings.
By Brad Mosher
Two wins were double the total the Wildfire had in 2018 and the 2019 almost had two more wins, losing two games by a total of four points.
The Wildfire was close again, at least at the start of the game against the Beacbh Buccaneeers.
“We were right there in the first half,” Mott-Regent/New England coach Nate Zachmann said on the Beach football field after the season ended. “We had opportunities, like we always do. We just
didn’t capitalize on them. We give up a couple of plays here and there… We have got to compete for four quarters.”
The hosts turned a scoreless game into a 16-0 halftime lead with two scores in the second quarter.
Still, the Wildfire came back with a score early of the second half to cut the lead to just 10 points (16-6).
“I knew what we could accomplish in the second half when we got the ball,” the Wildfire coach said. “We got a big pass play and then we motioned a running back out to the corner on a defensive end and got a big pass play there. Once we scored, they scored right back.”
According to the coach, the Wildfire were hoping to get a stop and get the opportunity to score again. “We were hoping to get a score-stop-score,” he explained. “If you are down by two (scores), that is what you want to do. We just couldn’t get that done.”
Zachmann said the late rally in the game was a combination of factors, including getting some big plays. “We just moved the ball a little two late. I think coach
(Mike) Zier was starting to rotate some guys in at that time.
“We were just a couple of plays away… that kind of sums up our season,” he said, noting his squad was just a few points away from picking up two more wins.”It is what it is. The bad thing is we can’t go to practice Monday to get the bad taste out of our mouth. We’ll have to wait until August.
“I always say I’ve never lost a game, I have just ran out of time,” the coach added.
Zachmann also said the strong wind had an affect on the passing game of both teams. At times during the game, winds from the west were gusting across the field at more than 24 miles per hour.”Sam (Huether) did a good job putting the ball where he needed to,” Zachmann said.
“It just comes down to the little things.”
Bucs score first
The Bucs got on the scoreboard with a touchdown and conversion with 6:27 left before the half.
With 1:39 left before halftime, the hosts got a big break when Huether was stripped of the ball by Beach defensive lineman Blake VanHorn near midfield and picked up by Beach running back/linebacker Kaden Volk.
With 32 seconds left,
Gage Swanson scored for the Buccaneers and gave the hosts a 16-0 lead.
In the second half, the Wildfire went to the air, with Michael Frank catching a long pass from Huether
that moved the ball from Wildfire territory to inside the Beach 30-yard line.
The drive stalled, but the Wildfire got another chance when Huether hit Jaxon Hewson with a big long-range touchdown, giving the visitors their first score with 6:30 left in the third quarter.
Just a minute later, the Buccaneers got on the scoreboard again with a long run by Tyson Mattern into the end zone to take a 22-6 lead with 5:12 left in the period. He added the two-point conversion moments later, giving the hosts a 24-6 lead.
With just 49 seconds in the third quarter, the Buccaneers added another score when Volk went in from the one-yard line.
In the fourth quarter, the hosts made the lead 38-6 with a pass over the middle to Trin Schumacher.
But the Wildfire came back with Huether diving in for a score with 3:55 left in the game, then passing for the two-point conversion.
Huether scored once more with 1:09 left, closing the score to 38-22.
MRNE 0 0 6 16 22
BEACH 0 16 16 6 38