No. 1 Raiders topple Trojans

The New Prague Trojans kept things close for half the game, but Northfield, and especially Kyle Thomforde, came up with the big plays in the second half that gave them a 35-12 win over the Trojans in New Prague's Homecoming game Friday.

Thomforde finished the game with 294 all-purpose yards via rushing, receiving, kick returns and interception returns, and he added eight tackles on the defensive side of the ball.

New Prague will try to snap out of its two-game losing streak, but it won't be an easy task as they travel to Farmington for a 7 p.m. game this Friday. The Tigers, who started the season ranked No. 1 in Class 4A before losing to Northfield and Hutchinson, bounced back with a 38-35 win over Prior Lake Friday.

Northfield entered Friday's game rated No. 1 in class AAAA, but the Trojans showed they weren't going to roll over and play dead, when Tony Kubes returned the opening kickoff 37 yards to near midfield. On the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Ross Skluzacek threw to tight end Eric Bisek for a 20-yard gain.

The Trojan drive stalled, though, thanks to two penalties, and New Prague turned the ball over on downs.

Northfield marched downfield on an eight play, 67-yard drive, getting the score on a 33-yard run by Dylan Miller with 4:18 remaining in the first quarter. The point after gave Northfield a 7-0 lead.

New Prague punted on the next series, and the Raiders started driving again, but on a third down play, Northfield fumbled and Kubes recovered, giving the Trojans the ball in good field position, but they were unable to make progress and had to punt.

Defenses dominated the second quarter. Northfield managed just one first down on the stingy New Prague defense in the second quarter, and the Trojans' Curt Hoemke came up with an interception on a third-and-long play late in the half.

New Prague had one drive, going late in the half, but with the clock ticking down, the Trojans' Eric Olson tried a 35-yard field goal, which was no good.

Thomforde set the stage for the remainder of the game on the very first play of the second half, returning the kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown.

New Prague got one first down, on a pass from Skluzacek to Jeff Pumper, but then had to punt. The Raiders dropped the kick, though, and the Trojans recovered on the Northfield 12. Three plays later, Bisek caught an 8-yard scoring strike from Skluzacek. The point after was blocked, making it 14-6 Northfield.

The Raiders scored on the next drive on a 52-yard pass from Todd Mathison to Thomforde, making it 21-6.

The Trojans went on the move on their next possession, with two completions to Bisek accounting for 26 yards and another to Pumper for 11. Josh Simon and Skluzacek carried for another first down, but then, after a Trojan penalty, Thomforde intercepted a Skluzacek pass and returned it 76 yards, inside the Trojan 5. The Raiders went backward on a penalty and a sack, but on third down and goal, Mathison hit Ryan Skluzacek with a 14-yard pass to make it 28-6.

The Trojans punted on their next possession, and Northfield committed three straight penalties, forcing them backward. Mike Hafermann intercepted a Mathison pass to give the Trojans the ball

Three plays later, Hafermann caught a 17-yard pass to put the Trojans in Raider territory, but that drive ended when Billy Owens intercepted a Ross Skluzacek pass and returned it 57 yards for the score, making it 35-6.

The Trojans didn't give up, and marched downfield. Bisek caught a pass for 19 yards, with a Raider facemask penalty adding five more to the play. Hafermann made an outstanding catch to give the Trojans the ball on the six. Three plays later, Daren Geyen carried it in from two yards out. The two point conversion was no good, making it 25-12.

Simon was the leading carrier for New Prague, with 47 yards on nine carries. Geyen had 23 yards on 12 carries, while Hafermann had six yards on two carries, Mike Romig three yards on two carries and Skluzacek minus-3 on three carries.

Skluzacek was 13 of 29 passing for 182 yards and a score, but threw three interceptions. Bisek caught seven balls for 82 yards and a score to lead the receiving corps. Jeff Pumper caught three for 48 yards, Hafermann had two catches for 47 yards and Geyen one catch for 5 yards.

New Prague actually outgained the Raiders, with 258 yards of total offense, 76 rushing and 182 passing. Northfield had 118 yards rushing and 100 passing for 218 yards of offense.

Defensively for the Trojans, Joe Barten had four solo tackles and one assist, while Simon and Brian O'Neill each had four solos.

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