Oconto Falls football team falls to Coleman on homecoming night

Panthers unable to capitalize on strong start
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

The Oconto Falls High School football team got off to a promising start during a Northwoods Conference clash against Coleman on Sept. 23 in Oconto Falls, but mistakes plagued the team the rest of the way and the Panthers ended up losing 38-12.

The run-oriented Panthers received the opening kickoff and put together a 20-play drive that exhausted the entire first quarter clock.

Skylar Dalton, Alex Haines and Carter Hill shared running duties on the first drive. The trio helped the team convert a third-down run in its own territory and then three fourth-down chances in Coleman territory.

Hill, the team’s quarterback, powered in from a yard out on the first play of the second quarter to give the Panthers a 6-0 lead.

“That’s our identity, right? We run the ball,” said Oconto Falls coach Nick Bohl. “Just like Coleman, they run the ball, and take the air out of the ball sometimes and just grind you up. I can’t say we planned that first drive, but we wanted to control the ball.”

“That’s just the style of offense we run,” said Hill. “Just five yards a crack and that’s just how we get it down. And it worked for the first drive.”

Coleman’s offense started its first drive at its own 44-yard line and needed just four plays to score. The first play of the drive went for 44 yards.

Trailing 8-6, Oconto Falls hoped to put together another long drive on offense, but fumbled on the second play. Five running plays later, Coleman scored again and converted the two-point try to go up 10, 16-6.

Oconto Falls ended up throwing two interceptions later in the game.

“It’s just little mistakes, like one mistake will happen and they just snowball and they just keep continuing to happen,” said Hill. “Hats off to Coleman, they’re a good team. We just can’t have those little mistakes and we’ll be good.”

“It’s the game of football. You turn the ball over, your chances of winning drastically go down,” said Bohl. “You give a great team like Coleman extra possessions, they make you pay for it.”

After Coleman went up 16-6, Oconto Falls’ offense worked into Coleman territory again, but a sack on third down made it fourth-and-19 and forced a Panthers’ punt.

Coleman took even more energy out of the home crowd and sideline on homecoming night after ripping off an 85-yard touchdown run.

Oconto Falls had one last chance to score in the first half, but another sack on third down forced a punt.

“It really sucks to lose against a Coleman team because they are a playoff team, they are a good team,” said Dalton. “Just the little mistakes on defense, and our offense was moving the ball, just the fumbles and little mistakes cost us the game.”

Coleman opened the second half with the ball and put together a long drive that ended in a touchdown to put the team up 30-6.

The next Panthers’ drive got to the Coleman 39 before the first interception was thrown.

Oconto Falls’ defense got the ball back after forcing and recovering a fumble. The team’s offense then got into Coleman territory again after big runs from Dalton and Haines, but another interception ended the drive.

Coleman then scored its final touchdown to take a 38-6 lead.

Oconto Falls continued to battle until the final whistle, and was able to build some positivity after a late touchdown.

Haines recorded a couple nice runs on the drive and was rewarded with a 1-yard score to cap the drive.

The loss was the first in conference play for Oconto Falls. The Panthers, now 3-1 in Northwoods play, will look to rebound against Clintonville (2-2 Northwoods) on Sept. 30 in Clintonville.

Coleman 0 24 6 8 — 38

Oconto Falls 0 6 0 6 — 12

Second quarter

OF: Carter Hill 1-yard run (run failed), 11:57

C: Brady Gross 4-yard run (Peter Kuchta run), 10:09

C: Gross 4-yard run (Kuchta pass from Trent Mongin), 7:13

C: Kuchta 85-yard run (Mongin run), 1:59

Third quarter

C: Kuchta 18-yard run (pass failed), 7:26

Fourth quarter

C: Will Bieber 6-yard run (Mongin run), 6:59

OF: Alex Haines 1-yard run (pass failed), 2:30