12 strong, Trojans pound Royals for 48 minutes

BLAIRSBURG – Twelve strong … and that was more than enough.

With just 12 players eligible to play – no lie, that was four fewer than what the Colo-NESCO cheerleading squad brought to the field – Northeast Hamilton shucked all of the disadvantages aside and ripped the Royals in an 8-man non-district football game here Friday night.

The Trojans (2-0) ran with authority, passed when they needed to and swarmed defensively to bury the Royals, 44-0, in a contest that head coach John Seiser felt was a toss-up before the ball was put into play.

“I thought it was a toss-up game still at the end of the first quarter, I really did,” Seiser said. “So this is the most enjoyment I’ve gotten out of a win in a long time and I don’t think I’ve been as proud of a team in a couple of years. The kids are focused, they’re dialed in and they’re taking pride in this.”

The lack of depth – and that’s an understatement – didn’t seem to bother NEH, which jumped in front 14-0 after one quarter and 36-0 at the half. The entire second half was played under a continuous clock.

“Our kids are playing extremely hard and their technique is as good as it’s been in a long time,” Seiser said. “This is two weeks in a row where they haven’t missed a beat.”

Fresh off a 274-yard performance in a 52-13 Week 1 throttling of Ankeny Christian Academy, senior tailback Tyler Smith again said a 100-yard outing simply wasn’t good enough. He toted the ball 22 times for 240 yards and three more touchdowns, as NEH piled up 366 yards of offense against the winless Royals (0-3), who have now offered up 147 points in three games.

Gabe Rapp chewed up 31 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns on seven touches, and Hunter Dilley gained 26 yards on six rushes.

Quarterback Logan Seiser kept the Royals honest by completed 4-of-7 passes for 62 yards and a score. Austin Smith was his favorite target; he hauled in two catches for 42 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown strike midway through the first quarter that put the Trojans on the scoreboard and in control for good.

“Logan is throwing the ball extremely well and that’s going to make teams respect us,” John Seiser said. “That’s just another dimension (of the offense) that you have to respect.”

Rapp’s 1-yard plunge across the goal line extended the Trojans’ cushion late in the first quarter. Tyler Smith took over in the second period with trips to the end zone that covered nine and 65 yards, and Rapp finished off the explosive half with a 3-yard touchdown rumble.

Tyler Smith accounted for the only second-half points on a 10-yard touchdown run with 8:19 remaining in the third quarter.

As good as the NEH offense was, the defense gave John Seiser just as many reasons to smile.

Rapp was a force in the middle, as the linebacker threw his helmet in on 22 tackles. Andy Pate (eight) and Austin Smith (seven) combined for 15, and Logan Seiser contributed five, including three sacks. Logan Seiser also came up with an interception, forced a fumble and recovered another.

“The pressure we’re putting on is coming from everywhere, and we’re tackling really well,” John Seiser said. “Gabe Rapp, that’s the best game I’ve seen him play in two years.”

Colo-NESCO conjured up just 80 yards of offense, 54 of those coming on the ground. The Royals averaged just 1.7 yards per carry.

The competition is about to ramp up significantly for the Trojans though. They’ll travel to West Bend on Friday to open up District 2 play against seventh-ranked and unbeaten West Bend-Mallard (3-0) at 7 p.m. The Wolverines derailed No. 5 and defending state champion Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn, 28-18, on Friday and they’ve outscored their first three opponents 124-42.

“You’ve got to play them at some point,” John Seiser said. “If we can keep healthy and playing this way, we can be in the game with just about anybody.”