By Dustin Henggeler
The comeback attempt by North-West Nodaway was not enough to recoup first-half struggles in the 26-34 week-two loss to the East Atchison Wolves on August 26 at Burlington Jct.
The loss forces North-West Nodaway to an 0-2 start after a loss to Stewartsville.
The Muskets were off to a sluggish start against the Wolves, taking two steps back in penalties and fumbles for every forward movement they made. The Wolves, however, made the most of clock-driving possessions on the way to three unanswered touchdowns over the Muskets in the first half.
The first score by the Wolves came four minutes into the first half to lead North-West Nodaway 6-0. Their second came in the first minute of the second quarter and the third happened less than two minutes later forcing the Muskets to trail 0-18.
Despite the consecutive touchdowns, it was North-West Nodaway’s defense that kept the game from getting too out of hand and their strength only grew as the game went on, allowing the Muskets to remain in the fight.
A pass play from North-West Nodaway quarterback Korbin Koch to Dakota Smyser led to a 15-yard touchdown at 6:45 in the second quarter. The touchdown closed the gap to 8-18 behind the Wolves where the half would end.
It was a game of two halves as the Muskets revamped their offense in the third quarter and ended their first drive of the second half with a three-yard touchdown run by Koch to make it 14-18 behind the Wolves. A few minutes later the Muskets forced East Atchison to punt, which started North-West Nodaway at their own three-yard line.
The first play of the drive was a fumbled snap, which Koch turned into a 77-yard scamper down the right sideline for North-West Nodaway’s first lead of the night at 20-18.
“That’s just the type of things he is capable of,” North-West Nodaway Coach Terry Clark said of his quarterback.
The Wolves, however, wasted no time in getting back to their running game and were able to regain the lead of 26-20 with just 22 seconds left in the third quarter. The Wolves scored again midway through the fourth quarter on a similar clock-eating drive to extend their lead by 14 points over the Muskets.
Despite a few penalties that set them back, the Muskets carried a successful drive into the end zone on a one-yard quarterback sneak by Koch at 2:22 in the fourth quarter. Trailing by just eight points, the Muskets were in range to tie the game, if they could get the ball back.
But the Wolves made sure that didn’t happen.
With less than a minute left, the Wolves overcame a fourth and one situation enabling them to kneel out the clock for the 34-26 win over the Muskets.
Despite the loss, Clark said he is confident in the improvements he saw from his team.
“Overall, I thought we played a more complete game tonight than in week one,” he said.
Clark also said the two weeks of playing in the rain didn’t help his team’s no-huddle pace of offense. Clark hopes week three will be dryer and allow them to run at a better pace against area defenses.
Looking ahead to week three, the Muskets face 0-2 Platte Valley in Barnard as both teams look for their first victory of the season.
Against the Wolves, Koch led the team offensively with 20 carries for 90 yards along with four passes for 52 yards. On defense, it was Levi Hoyt who made his presence known the most with 18 tackles along with three tackles for a loss and a sack. Following Hoyt was Brody Beason with 10 tackles and a fumble recovery, Dylan Carden with eight tackles and Triston Fox with six tackles and one tackle for a loss.