Tigers come up shy in Big East battle

by Matt Kraus Review Co respondent

KOHLER – Entering Friday nights Big East Conference matchup against Kohler/ Sheboygan Lutheran/Christian, the Howards Grove football team looked to knock off the home team and keep it out of the state playoffs for at least one more week.

K/L/C scored the winning touchdown with only 55 seconds left when quarterback Brayden Van Ess hit wide receiver Michael Chorowicz with a 9-yard pass in the back corner of the end zone on third down and 9 from the Tigers’ 10-yard line. The score gave the home team a 19-14 lead. K/L/C’s two-point conversion try failed.

The TD capped off a 58-yard drive following a TD and a twopoint conversion by the Tigers which gave them a 14-13 lead. The key play in K/L/C’s scoring drive was a 22-yard pass from Van Ess to running back Jeremiah Scheidt.

The loss by Howards Grove dropped the team to 1-6 in conference play (2-6 overall). KLC improved to a 5-2 conference mark (5-3 overall) and assured the team of a playoff berth.

The Tigers trailed 13-6 with 11:31 remaining in regulation when they started their possession at the HGHS 35 and it culminated in a TD which tied the game, 13-13. Sophomore running back Jack Peterson gained 7 yards on a second-and 10 run. Senior quarterback Travis Stanczyk followed with a keeper that gained 8 yards and a first down at midfield.

Peterson, who was called on to replace junior running back Jake Fritz who was injured on the Tigers’ opening possession, ripped off 12 yards for a first down and then was stopped for a 1-yard gain on the following play.

Peterson ended up leading the team with 91 yards rushing on 19 carries.

“(Jack) Peterson stepped in for Jake [Fritz] and did an admirable job,” said Tiger head coach David Schmid.

Following Peterson’s 1-yard loss, KLC jumped offsides, giving the Tigers a third-and-3 from the KLC 31-yard line. Stanczyk responded with a 5-yard run for a first down. Peterson gained 5 and 2 on first and second downs, respectively. Third-and-1 saw Stanczyk sneak for the first down.

With 5:51 remaining, the Tigers received consecutive penalties for a false start and an illegal formation, putting them in a first-and-20 hole. Peterson ran to the 15 on the following play, setting up Isaac Dirker to take a handoff from Stancyk and sweep to the left.

After bouncing off a potential tackler, Dirker powered through two KLC defenders at the 2 and into the end zone for a 15-yard score. Dirker’s touchdown still left the Tigers trailing 13-12 but Stanczyk found senior tight end Zac Stauss on a short pop pass in the end zone for a two-point conversion and a 14-13 HGHS lead with 4:18 remaining in the game.

“Isaac [Dirker] was determined on his run to score the goahead TD,” said Schmid.

After K/L/C took the 19-14 lead, the Tigers moved the ball from their 36 to K/L/C’s 23 before time expired. The key play in the series was Stanczyk’s 17-yard pass to wide receiver Josh Scheuren.

“The Tigers lost a heart breaker tonight. Even with the loss, the Tigers played their best game of the season, led by our seniors,” said Schmid.

“A number of sophomores had to step up and came through with some big runs, catches and tackles.

Howards Grove night started well as the Tigers marched down the field on the strength of a nine carries for 36 yards by running back Jake Fritz but in a scary incident Fritz sustained a head injury as he was tackled on a carry at the KLC 9. Schmid reported that Fritz is doing well.

Following a 25-minute break in the action to attend to Fritz’s injury, the Tigers quickly regrouped and on the first play from scrimmage, Stanczyk found Stauss in the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown. A two-point conversion attempt failed but HGHS led 6-0 with 3:58 remaining in the first quarter.

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