Panthers shut out in opener

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Oconto Falls tallies 42 yards in 48-0 loss

Greg Bates Times Herald Correspondent

Photo by Josh Thompson

Oconto Falls High School junior quarterback Dakota Carriveau attempts a pass against the New London defense during Oconto Falls’ 48-0 nonconference loss at home Thursday.

As the Oconto Falls football players cheered as Cliff Yuma went streaking down the sideline 84 yards into the end zone, Panthers coach Barry Derickson stood motionless.

Not far from him was a flag. He knew the play was coming back. Oconto Falls’ first touchdown of the season was negated due to an illegal procedure penalty.

On the very next play, New London corralled an interception. Three plays after that, the Bulldogs were in the end zone.

That 14-point swing cost Oconto Falls plenty of momentum. New London, on the other hand, used the short field to get its offense started. The Bulldogs then scored on seven straight drives in the rain to run away with a 48-0 nonconference victory in the season opener Thursday in Oconto Falls.

It certainly wasn’t the ideal start to the game for Oconto Falls.

“There were a lot of things that needed to go differently,” Derickson said. “Our offense can’t have those kind of penalties — the 14-point swing did not help us out at all. Really, it’s just missed opportunities. … It just comes to we needed to be better prepared, and it’s tough because they didn’t have a scrimmage. That kind of put us behind a little bit.”

New London (1-0) outgained Oconto Falls (0-1) in yards, 392-42. The Panthers, which finished with -1 rushing yards on 18 attempts, didn’t advance past their own 33-yard line the entire game.

Oconto Falls was trying to work out a lot of kinks in its offense early on. Dakota Carriveau got his first career start at quarterback. The junior was 4 for 16 for 43 yards and the one interception.

“For running it for the first night and having a year away (from football), he did a great job,” Derickson said. “We’ve just got to get him a little bit more calm in the beginning of the game. It was just that one mistake, and after that he was pretty much where he was supposed to be.”

Oconto Falls’ defense forced a three-and-out on New London’s first possession, but after that, things went sour.

After Brayden Kurth intercepted Carriveau’s pass, three straight runs by running back Makaio Harn, who finished with 140 yards rushing, resulted in a 3-yard touchdown. A three-and-out by Oconto Falls and a nice punt return set the Bulldogs up again. Quarterback Jack Noffke connected with Kurth for a 20-yard touchdown.

“Once we got rolling there, our confidence started to grow and it kept growing, and we were able to move the ball pretty well,” New London head coach Marc Marsh said.

A pair of Harn touchdown runs flanked a 50-yard score from Noffke to Reegan Franzmeier, and it was quickly 35-0 with 4:41 left in the first half.

Noffke tossed his third touchdown pass of the first half, this time to Logan Locy, from 15 yards out as New London took a 42-0 advantage.

New London tacked on its final score mid-third quarter on a Micah Backus 7-yard run.

Oconto Falls had just seven first-half yards and struggled to move the ball. Derickson was hoping to throw more, but the driving rain the majority of the first half soaked the coach’s play-calling plans.

Derickson, who is also the team’s defensive coordinator, knows both sides of the ball need extensive work.

“We shouldn’t allow 48 (points), and we can’t get shut out,” Derickson said.

Derickson found plenty of positives, however.

“We had about four kids sit out,” Derickson said. “We’ll have two starters coming back, so that will be great. The thing of it is we also held back on half the stuff we wanted to run, because we wanted to save it for conference. We got great film on our defense and what we need to improve on and how we can mix it up a little bit against Little Chute.”

Oconto Falls will be at Little Chute at 7 p.m. Friday for the North Eastern Conference opener. The Mustangs are coming off a 10-3 season in which they lost in the WIAA Division 4 state semifinals. The game should be a real test for the Panthers.

“I expect that our defense has a strong showing and that we’re going to be better prepared now that we have an extra day to prepare for Little Chute, which is the reason why I scheduled this Thursday night game,” Derickson said.

New London 48, Oconto Falls 0

Team 1 2 3 4 F

New London 21 21 6 0 48

Oconto Falls 0 0 0 0 0

Scoring Summary

First Quarter

NL: Harn 3-yard run (PAT good by Noffke) 7-0 (8:54).

NL: Noffke to Kurth 20-yard pass (PAT good by Noffke) 14-0 (5:15).

NL: Harn 37-yard run (PAT good by Noffke) 21-0 (0:00).

Second Quarter

NL: Noffke to Franzmeier 50-yard pass (PAT good by Noffke) 28-0 (9:33).

NL: Harn 5-yard run (PAT good by Noffke) 35-0 (4:41).

NL: Noffke to Locy 15-yard pass (PAT good by Noffke) 42-0 (0:06).

Third Quarter

NL: Backus 7-yard run (Two-point conversion run no good) 48-0 (5:47).

Fourth Quarter

No scoring