Mid-Prairie staged an incredible defensive first half against Williamsburg, but couldn’t keep fatigue at bay in a 28-6 loss to the Raiders.
The Golden Hawks held Williamsburg to 2.3 yards per play in the first half and made the big plays when they mattered. The Raiders turned the ball over on downs three straight possessions inside Mid-Prairie territory.
Despite those important stops, the Mid-Prairie offense struggled to take advantage before the Williamsburg offense found their footing in the second half.
Mid-Prairie forced a three-and-out by Williamsburg to start off the game and took over at their own 37-yard line. A fumble by Kayden Reinier on the first play gave Williamsburg the ball back.
Again, the Mid-Prairie defense held strong. Williamsburg back Kaden Wetjen couldn’t find an open hole as linebacker Justice Jones, who finished the night with 8.5 tackles including 1.5 tackles for loss, and the interior defensive line plugged their gaps. Wetjen had only 20 yards on 11 carries during the night. Interior defensive lineman Cael Garvey and Isaac Boucher combined for 8.5 tackles and one tackle for loss.
“That really starts with us coming ready to play in the first half. We were kicking butt,” Mid-Prairie defensive end Jack Baker said.
The Mid-Prairie offense scored their only touchdown of the night on their next possession. Over the nine-play scoring drive Mid-Prairie faced two fourth downs. The first was a fourth-and-3 from the Williamsburg 41. The Golden Hawks put a receiver in motion and used a hard count to draw Williamsburg offsides and get a free first down.
On the next set of downs, Mid-Prairie had four yards to go on fourth down and Brad Tornow found tight end Jack Baker at around the 20-yard line before he took it in for a touchdown. It was the second receiving touchdown of the year for Baker.
With half of the first quarter done, Mid-Prairie led 6-0.
The Mid-Prairie defense kept up their strong performance in the first half, bending but not breaking against Williamsburg. The next two drives for the Raiders were 11 and 14 plays, but eventually ended on downs.
Mid-Prairie had a chance to make it a two-possession game. They had a fresh set of downs at the Williamsburg 17 with one minute left in the first half. A 5-yard scramble by Brad Tornow on a rollout pass set up a manageable second down.
A pass on the next play deflected off the hands of wide receiver Zeb Danner and was caught by Williamsburg’s Jalen Schropp. The interception ended Mid-Prairie’s long drive. It was the last time on Friday night the Mid-Prairie offense would get into the redzone.
Tornow finished the night 10-25 for 141 yards passing with one touchdown and two interceptions.
In the second half, Mid-Prairie punted on their first four possessions and finished the game with an interception and turnover on downs. The Golden Hawk running game struggled, picking up only 54 yards rushing on 30 combined carries. Reinier was the leading rusher at 37 yards on 17 carries.
Williamsburg took the lead 5:02 into the third quarter as Wetjen rushed in from 5 yards out and an extra-point pushed the score to 7-6 in favor of Williamsburg.
“They definitely ran a few different plays. In the first half I really didn’t see anything outside and then they started right away in the second half running the ball outside,” Baker said.
The Raiders added three more rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Two by fullback Riley Holt and one by Austin Burns. Kadince Kuesel went 4-4 on extra points to give Williamsburg the 28-6 win.
The Raiders forced three turnovers to none for Mid-Prairie.
Both teams move to 3-3 on the season, but Williamsburg takes a one-game lead on Mid-Prairie in district play at 2-0 versus 1-1.