No. 3 Mustangs use depth, talent to fly by Trojans

BLAIRSBURG – With all-state caliber players at a bevy of positions, it’s not a question of if, but when the third-ranked (Class 8-man) Newell-Fonda football team is going to impose its will.

That moment came early in the second quarter here Friday night.

After Northeast Hamilton seized an 8-7 lead in the opening minute of the second period, Newell-Fonda reeled off 36 consecutive points over a 24-plus minute stretch to take command for good in a 50-24 victory over the Trojans in a District 2 clash.

The Mustangs (4-0, 2-0) ran their regular season win streak to 12 games. Their last loss prior to the playoffs was a 20-16 setback against Kingsley-Pierson during Week 9 of the 2011 season in mid-October of that year.

“They’re obviously a very good team at every position and they’ve got a lot of depth,” NEH head coach John Seiser said. “Our game plan was good and the effort was good from our kids … I won’t fault our kids in any way. But they just took over at a certain point because they were really rotating in a lot of bodies. At one point they put an entirely new defense on the field.”

All-state running back Brady Bohe rushed for three touchdowns – matching 33-yard jaunts in the first and second quarters, followed by a 7-yard romp into the end zone in the fourth – and he also hauled in a 28-yard scoring pass from quarterback Gabe Podraza.

“He’s as good an 8-man player as I’ve seen in a long time,” Seiser said of Bohe. “He’s an even better linebacker than he is a running back and he’s a really good running back.”

Podraza finished with a pair of touchdown tosses; he also connected with Dalton Anderson on a 15-yard strike early in the second period to start the 36-point explosion. But Podraza was far from done; he used his legs to score on a 65-yard scamper to cap the spurt with 8:08 to go in the third period that put the Mustangs in charge 43-8.

“Their QB does a good job,” Seiser said. “You have to commit so many people up to stop the run that he can hurt you. We saw that a lot with some of our good teams in the past.”

NEH (2-2, 0-2) – losers of back-to-back games to top-5 teams in the Associated Press rankings – conjured up 202 yards of total offense. Senior tailback Tyler Smith kept his season-long string of 100-yard rushing games intact by picking up 108, 59 coming on a long touchdown run in the final minute of regulation.

Smith rushed for two scores – the first came from two yards out to give the Trojans an 8-7 lead with 11:19 to go in the second quarter – and he also caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Logan Seiser early in the fourth.

Logan Seiser completed 8 of 14 passes for 64 yards. Smith was his favorite target with three catches for 26 yards.

Senior linebacker Gabe Rapp put his hat in on 10 tackles, including five solo stops.

With juggernauts West Bend-Mallard and Newell-Fonda now out of the way, the schedule opens up for the Trojans the remainder of the way. They’ll begin their hopeful comeback into the playoff picture on Friday with a road trip to face Corwith-Wesley-LuVerne (2-3, 1-1) at 7 p.m.

“The competitor in me never wants to think we can’t win, but the realist in me knew it was going to take some type of a miracle to pull off one of these two games (against West Bend-Mallard and Newell-Fonda),” John Seiser said. “But I really think we should be able to play with everybody from now on and we’re kind of where we want to be. We wanted to get through these two as healthy as we could be.”