Tigers earn dominant Homecoming win

by Matt Kraus
Review Correspondent


JACK PETERSON (27), Howards Grove running back, finds a hole in the Random Lake defense in Friday’s football game. – Photo by Mark Schorer JACK PETERSON (27), Howards Grove running back, finds a hole in the Random Lake defense in Friday’s football game. – Photo by Mark Schorer HOWARDS GROVE – Howards Grove Homecoming saw the Tigers’ football team score a decisive 19-0 victory over the Random Lake Rams Friday night.

The Tigers improved to 5-1 in Big East Conference play, trailing only the 5-0 Cedar Grove-Belguim Rockets. HG won’t play the Rockets in 2017 because of the conference’s rotating schedule. The loss dropped the Rams to 2-3 in the conference (2-4 overall).

The Tigers’ defense gave up only 59 total yards – 41 rushing and 18 passing. The defense intercepted three passes and scored a touchdown on Dalton Free’s 13-yard interception return with 3:16 remaining in the second quarter. The extra point failed but the Tigers led 9-0.

“The defense stepped up tonight. They have a big, powerful offensive line and running game. We were able to go toe-to-toe with them tonight,” said Tiger head coach David Schmid.


MASON VALENSTEIN (21), Howards Grove wide receiver, can’t quite make a catch as an unidentified Random Lake player defends in Friday’s football game. HG’s Eric Reinemann looks on. – Photo by Mark Schorer MASON VALENSTEIN (21), Howards Grove wide receiver, can’t quite make a catch as an unidentified Random Lake player defends in Friday’s football game. HG’s Eric Reinemann looks on. – Photo by Mark Schorer “The [defensive] touchdown helped change the momentum of the game.”

The Tigers’ running game looked ready to dominate the Rams on the first drive of game. Starting at their own 34-yard line, Jack Peterson opened the game with a 12-yard run. Two Peterson runs for 4 yards and an off-side penalty on Random Lake gave the Tigers a third-and-one at the Rams’ 45.

Tiger quarterback Isaac Dirker kept the ball around the right end for a 15-yard gain and a HG first down. After an incomplete pass, the Tigers were called for offensive holding, resulting in a first-and-26.

Dirker connected with Eric Reinemann for 19 yards, and Peterson ran for 4 yards, giving the Tigers a fourth-and-3 from the 24. Hayden Smith powered for 5 yards and a Tigers’ first down.

A block-in-the-back penalty pushed the Tigers back to the 30. Dirker was able to connect with Gavin Winter for 12 yards, followed by a 12-yard Peterson run, giving the Tigers a first-and-goal from the 6.

Dirker ran for 6 yards to the two but a second-down penalty pushed HG back 5 yards. A Smith run picked up zero yards. Dirker followed with a 3-yard gain. Facing fourth-and-four, Derek Stauss hit a 21-yard field goal to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.

“Their defense comes really hard inside and that caused some of our problems but we also made some mistakes tonight that were self-inflicted,” said Schmid.

With 6:22 remaining in the third quarter the Tigers took over on offense from the Random Lake 47. Peterson opened the drive with a 15-yard run and followed with runs of 5 yards and 2 yards.

Facing a third-and-3, the Tigers were called for a false start but Dirker found Nic Koenig on a route across the middle. After making the catch, Koenig was able to get to the outside, reaching the 9-yard line on a 27-yard play.

A Peterson run took the ball to the 4. An incomplete pass on second down, was followed by a 4-yard TD run by Dirker in the third period. Stauss’s extra point gave the Tigers a 16-0 lead.

Stauss was able to connect on a 25-yard field goal with 1:08 remaining in the game to give the Tigers the 19-0 lead.

In a fitting end to the Tigers’ defensive showing, Kaeden Roethel sealed the game with an interception on the game’s final play. Winter also had an interception.

Peterson led the Tigers with 174 rushing yards on 25 carries. Dirker passed for 103 yards on just five completions, and Koenig caught a team-high three passes for a team-best 80 yards.

“We have quite a few kids that only play on one side of the ball, so our offense plays against a really good defense every day and that helps our run game,” said Schmid.


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