Evergreens lose more than just game Friday vs. TrojansThe loss puts the Evergreens at 1-3 in the Lakeland Eight-Man Conference, but more damaging is the loss of Barth.
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
MINONG — With time running out in the fourth quarter Friday, the Northwood-Solon Springs football team trailed the New Auburn Trojans by a pair of touchdowns.
Victory was in sight for the Trojans, but it wasn’t assured.
The Evergreens had scored twice in the final 58 seconds of the first half, and one big play could touch off a similar rally to end the game.
With 5:36 left to play, the Evergreens seemed to get their break when Matt Benson intercepted a pass. The Evergreens started at their own 15 and advanced to the New Auburn 9-yard line in less than two minutes.
Mason Barth led the way. The junior picked up two first downs — on a 35-yard catch and on a 7-yard run — and then put the Evergreens at the 9-yard line with a 5-yard carry.
Northwood-Solon Springs went to Barth again on the seventh play of the drive, but he went down awkwardly on what looked like a late hit, and the Evergreens came screeching to a halt.
Barth needed to be carried off the field and was later taken away in an ambulance.
“They’re going to take him and get it checked out,” said Brian Amys, head coach of the Evergreens. “It’s a knee injury. We don’t know to what extent (he’s injured) yet, but they’re going to get it checked out and find out what’s going on.”
The crowd was silent when play resumed, and the Evergreens turned the ball over on a fumble on their first play.
Northwood-Solon Springs got the ball back once more before time expired, but the team stalled at midfield. New Auburn then ran out the clock to win 58-44.
The loss puts the Evergreens at 1-3 in the Lakeland Eight-Man Conference, but more damaging is the loss of Barth.
“He’s been carrying this team on his back all year, making huge plays when it comes down the stretch,” Amys said.
Barth was key for the Evergreens again Friday night.
Walker Grenier scored the first touchdown for Northwood-Solon Springs, but Barth then took over to score four of the next five touchdowns for the Evergreens. Brady Vig added a 74-yard kickoff return between Barth’s three TDs in the second quarter, and Vig ran back another kickoff 76 yards in the fourth quarter to close out the Evergreens’ scoring.
For the night Barth had 165 yards on 18 carries. On defense, he and Kacey Block led the team with nine tackles apiece.
Amys said the loss of Barth will be “devastating” for the team.
“Did I think it was a late hit? Yes,” Amys said. “I talked to the official about it. One official said he didn’t hear the whistle, but he thought it was a late hit.
“It’s the game of football and officials don’t see everything. Every time, there is a chance that kids can get hurt. I’m not going to blame the officials for it.”
Blake Miller had four touchdowns to lead New Auburn. Alex Olson added three, and James Elwood had one TD on a 21-yard pass from Judd Plummer.
The Evergreens finished with 293 yards rushing and 266 yards passing.
Benson was 9-of 20 passing for 266 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Barth led Northwood-Solon Springs on the ground, followed by Walker Grenier, who had 112 yards on 11 carries.
All but 12 points were scored in the first half of Friday’s game.
The Trojans led 52-38 at halftime, and both teams added one more touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The bulk of New Auburn’s first-half advantage came from its success on two-point conversions.
The Trojans were 5-for-7 on two-point conversion attempts in the first half. The Evergreens were just 1-for-6.
“The last two weeks, every touchdown we haven’t been very good with the two-point conversions,” Amys said. “We’re trying to throw some different things in there — different looks, trying to get guys in open space — but when they run a full-out blitz at you up the middle, it’s hard to get out to that outside edge before they get through.
“It’s something that we’ve got to look at.”
New Auburn finished the night with eight touchdowns, and Northwood-Solon Springs finished with seven.
Benson had seven tackles for the Evergreens; and Ethan Ludtke, Daniel Gengenbach and Dennis St. Claire all had five tackles
“From day one to now, we have grown 90 percent. If we can get that last 10 percent, we could be a very good football team and tough to beat,” Amys said.
New Auburn 16 36 0 6 — 58
N’wood-Solon Springs 12 26 0 6 — 44
NSS — Walker Grenier 4-yard run (run failed), 9:33.
NA — James Elwood 21-yard pass from Judd Plummer (Blake Miller run), 7:02.
NA — Alex Olson 4-yard pass from Plummer (Miller run), 4:08.
NSS — Mason Barth 3-yard run (run failed) 0:05.
NA — Miller 39-yard run (Chris Koteras run), 6:06.
NSS — Barth 65-yard run (run failed), 5:51.
NA — Miller 3-yard run (Koteras run), 3:39.
NA — Olson 4-yard run (Miller pass from Plummer), 3:25.
NSS — Barth 65-yard pass from Matt Benson (Grenier pass from Benson), 3:05.
NA — Olson 3-yard run (run failed), 1:14.
NSS — Brady Vig 74-yard kickoff return (run failed), 0:58.
NA — Miller 37-yard run (pass failed), 0:43.
NSS — Barth 35-yard pass from Benson (run failed), 0:15.
NA — Miller 2-yard run (run failed), 9:44.
NSS — Vig 76-yard kickoff return (pass failed), 9:21.