Gridders fall to 0-3 with loss to Northfield

New Prague receiver Ben Buthe goes up high for a pass during the Trojans’ loss to Northfield Friday, Sept. 13. To see more photos click on the Blue Button, lower right. (Chuck Kajer Photo)

The New Prague Trojans reach the midway point of their 2013 football season Friday looking for their first win against an undefeated Farmington team at 7 p.m. Friday in Farmington.

            The Trojans dropped to 0-3 on the season (0-2 Missota) with a 27-15 loss at Northfield Friday, Sept. 13.

            New Prague’s spread offense finally started to click in the second half of Friday’s loss. Quarterback Ty Johnson  threw for 262 yards and a touchdown. Most of that yardage came in the second half, when the Trojan offense started connecting. New Prague scored both of its touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

            The game was filled with errors and penalties for both teams. New Prague and Northfield combined for 15 penalties and 12 turnovers. New Prague defensive back Kyle Rookaird was responsible for three of the turnovers as he picked off three Northfield passes.

            Northfield opened the scoring on the game’s first drive, with Josiah Bardwell throwing to Joey Eckhoff for an 8-yard touchdown.

            The Raiders scored twice in the second quarter, on a 1-yard run by Caron Canedy and a 10-yard pass from Bardwell to Eckhoff.

            The final Northfield score came on a 30-yard interception return by Josiah Cieluch in the third quarter.

            New Prague moved the ball downfield on the next series and finally scored, but not before giving their fans a scare. A Trojan receiver caught the ball on the 10-yard line and appeared to be headed for the end zone, only to lose the ball inside the 5-yard line. After a pile-up, the Trojans came away with possession and two plays later Johnson scored on a 1-yard run. The two-point conversion was good, making it 27-8.

            The Trojans forced a turnover on the next series and New Prague scored with 5:35 left on a 35-yard pass from Johnson to JT Butler. Jake Klein’s kick made it a 27-15 score.

            New Prague had two more possessions, but were not able to score.

            Josh Polson led the Trojans in rushing by Josh Polson, who had 33 yards on 17 carries.

            Johnson was 25-of-44 passing for 262 yards and a touchdown. He also threw two interceptions. New Prague also lost four fumbles.

            Butler was the Trojans' top receiver, with eight catches for 109 yards. Klein had six catches for 57 yards, Buthe five catches for 46 yards, James Fuerniss three catches for 44 yards, Rookaird one catch for four yards and Nathan Zweber and Polson each had one catch for one yard.

            Northfield had 307 yards of total offense, while the Trojans had 236, due to a total of minus-26 yards rushing. Much of that was due to several bad snaps that Johnson and backup quarterback Will Halloran were not able to handle.

            Defensively the Trojans were led by Nathan Zweber who had 7.5 tackles, one for loss. Daniel Beckius had seven tackles, two for loss. Fuerniss had an impressive showing with six tackles, 1.5 for loss, Alex McHugh and Peter Molitor both had 5.5 tackles while Mitch Gullickson and Rookaird both had five tackles.


            With the breakup of the Missota Conference, this will be the final regular season meeting between these teams. However, the teams could meet again this season in the playoffs as both are in Section 2AAAAA.

            This week’s opponent, Farmington, is a Class 6A school. According to the Trojan football website, the Tigers have a 20-19 advantage all-time.