Monday Rewind: Winning Amidst Adversity

Elkhorn North was able to edge Mount Michael in a 27-24 nail-biter

It wasn’t pretty at times, but Elkhorn North’s match-up at Mount Michael on Friday appeared in the win column for the Wolves. Ultimately, that’s all that will matter. Sure, Elkhorn North will look to continue to improve as they finish off the season against tough opponents in Bennington and Blair, but the Wolves’ victory against the Knights was a huge bounce back victory following a rivalry loss the week before. 

On top of that, the Wolves have, essentially, solidified themselves into the postseason. They currently sit tenth in Class B with 38.7143 power points and a record of 5-2 which should be enough to get Elkhorn North to play in that fourth week of October.

Elkhorn North’s victory against Mount Michael was the first win for the Wolves all year that wouldn’t be considered a blowout. Prior to this victory, Elkhorn North had won four games with scores of 28-0, 70-0, 40-7, and 49-6. Obstacles were seemingly non-existent. Against Grand Island Northwest and Elkhorn, the Wolves couldn’t overcome adversity to win those games. 

However, against the Knights, Elkhorn North finally found a way to finish a close game in which they were tested multiple times. A win like this one where the Wolves were able to push aside difficulties and prevail is promising and that kind of experience in a close game will carry forward.

It was another beautiful early October night for high school football. The one-side bleachers at the Mount Michael football field were primarily split down the middle with Elkhorn North fans on one side and Mount Michael fans on the other. The wind was slight, just enough for a cool breeze added to the crisp weather. The temperature was just short of fifty degrees.

The Knights got off to a hot start as Sebastian Duran punched it into the end zone with 6:49 to go in the first quarter. The Wolves looked a little rattled, but bounced back just fine as they were able to score seventeen unanswered points.

Christian Young scored on a wheel route reception deep in Mount Michael territory to even the slate at 7-7 with 3:30 left in the first quarter. The Wolves did a great job from the get-go mixing up passing and running plays to exploit the Knight defense.

After this drive, however, the game remained even for a while. Neither offense could get much done as the Wolves and Knights’ defenses switched to lock-down mode. 

Elkhorn North finally broke the stalemate with a Billy Hendryx field goal with 3:26 to go in the first half. The Wolves were able to muster enough offensively to put them in field goal territory.

After a relatively dead second quarter, the final few minutes of the first half were extremely eventful. On the ensuing drive for Mount Michael, the Wolves were able to force a fumble deep in Knight territory. A few moments later, Ryan Kennedy scored on a rushing touchdown to give the Wolves a 17-7 lead.

The Knights got the ball back with 1:37 to go in the half and got some production going offensively to give them a field goal with 13.5 seconds left. The halftime scoreboard read 17-10, Wolves with the advantage. 

The second half saw even colder weather as the temperature took a dip into the low forties. The third quarter, like the second, was lacking much action with the only score between the two teams being another Hendryx field goal with 4:30 on the clock. Defenses continued to play stellar for the most part.

The fourth quarter, however, saw a lot of action. Mount Michael finally scored another touchdown on a long pass thrown by William Brewster with 9:55 to play in the game. The Wolves had a relatively difficult time defending against the pass in the fourth quarter, partly due to the injury of star safety Jett Tingelhoff. 

Elkhorn North rebounded quickly as an efficient drive was capped off by a Josh Basilevac touchdown run. This seemed to be the nail-in-the-coffin moment as the Wolves amassed a two possession lead with less than six minutes to go.

The Knights certainly put up a fight, scoring once more on a touchdown throw from Brewster, but the onside kick failed and the Wolves were able to take the three-point win, improving to 5-2 on the season.

The win amidst adversity will surely give Elkhorn North good experience as it heads into the final two games of the regular season and, almost certainly, the postseason.

Overall, the Elkhorn North offense played proficiently against one of the better defenses it has seen thus far. Chase Loftin has become a threat to defenses across Class B and we can look to see even more from him in the coming weeks. It was one of the better rushing games from the Wolves all season as well. 

Defensively, the secondary faltered at times, allowing big gains through the air. However, that was probably the best passing attack the Wolves have seen up to this point. Obviously, next week’s match-up against Bennington will provide, easily, the most explosive passing offense in Class B. The fact that the Wolves faced a solid passing game against Mount Michael and fared well will give them much needed experience heading into Bennington week.

The Badgers bring explosiveness across the field and they are, of course, the defending state champions. It will be the toughest test yet for Elkhorn North, but the Wolves match up well with the Badgers. It will be two spread offenses going up against defenses geared to defend the pass. 

Kickoff is at 4:00 p.m. on Friday night. Should be a fun one.