Van Ess has huge game, leads KLC past Tigers

by Matt Kraus
Review Co respondent

HOWARDS GROVE – A chilly, 40-degree night greeted the Howards Grove Tigers on Senior Night Friday as they hosted the Kohler/Sheboygan Lutheran/Sheboygan Christian Bombers in Big East Conference football action.

The Bombers exploded for 610 yards of total offense, with senior quarterback Brayden Van Ess throwing for 304 and rushing for a game-high 202.

The cool weather didn’t slow down the Bombers as they took a 13-0 lead after their first two offensive drives en route to a 40- 14 victory. The loss dropped the Tigers to 0-7 in conference (1-7 overall). KLC improved to 3-4 in Big East play (3-5 overall).

Trailing 27-0, with 1:43 remaining in the first half, the Tigers took over at their own 16- yard line. Senior wide receiver Josh Scheuren caught a pass from quarterback Isaac Dirker, broke a tackle and ran out to the 50-yard line for a 34-yard gain.

Dirker followed with three completed passes – 11 yards to Mason Valenstein, 18 yards to Scheueren, and an acrobatic 11- yard gain by Valenstein as he kept his toes inbounds while reaching over the out of bounds line to make the catch.

The Tigers lost 4 yards on first down trying to run outside, followed by an incomplete pass with 41 seconds left.

The Bombers called timeout before the Tigers’ third-down play but the Tigers were able to score on a 14-yard pass from Dirker to Eric Reinemann with 30 seconds remaining. The extra-point kick by Derek Stauss cut the KLC lead to 27-7.

“We used some no-huddle which tends to throw the defense off a bit and our wide receivers made some big catches and runs after the catch,” said Tiger head coach David Schmid.

“This team’s refusal to give up is one of the things I am most proud of. They have made it a point to play hard until the end of the game, no matter what the score.”

The Tigers took the secondhalf kickoff and drove 67 yards, capped off by Dirker’s 28-yard TD pass to Nic Koenig which cut the Bombers’ lead to 27-14. Derek Stauss added the PAT.

The Bombers were able to score twice in the second half on a 9-yard pass from Van Ess to Luke Heinen and a 15-yard run by Jeremiah Scheidt, extending the lead to 40-14.

“KLC caught us in the first half where we double-covered one wide receiver and left another one open. Our kids cleaned it up and did a really nice job in the second half,” said Schmid.

“Our kids believe they can be successful as long as they play hard. We practice hard during the week and that spills over to the games.”

Dirker threw for 207 yards – completing 17 of 35 passes, including two touchdowns, while the KLC defense held the Tigers to a negative-15 yards rushing.

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