OREGON – Though it put on a determined effort, Johnsburg only had itself to blame in a 13-7 loss to Oregon.
“We got beat because of penalties and lack of execution,” Johnsburg coach Mike Maloney said.
In the second quarter, a 55-yard touchdown pass to Bailey Stefka from Nick Brengman was called back for holding. Later in that drive, Brengman connected with Haden Franzen for a 40-yard gain, only to have it called back for offensive pass interference.
Oregon took advantage of the miscues by making it 13-0 on its next drive before officials sent both teams to locker room due to lightning with 41 seconds left in the first half.
“They were efficient in their execution and precise in their blocking,” Maloney said. “And, the running backs hit the holes they were designed to hit.”
After a 3-and-out by the Skyhawks to start the game, Oregon chewed up 10 and half minutes, going 68 yards on 18 plays for a 7-0 lead. The key plays were a pair of fourth-quarter pass plays from Jerrick Orsted and Chris Jordan, the latter for an 11-yard touchdown.
“For his first game on varsity, Orsted was very poised,” Oregon coach John Bothe said.
The second scoring drive went 61 yards, all the ground. Sophomore Caleb Mennen went over from three yards out to cap off the 13-play time-consumer, making it 13-0.
“Johnsburg had the skill players, but maybe we go them in the line,” Bothe said.
After the weather delay, the Skyhawks closed the gap to 13-7 midway through the third quarter on a Brengman 14-yard run.
“Nobody in Johnsburg wants to win more than him,” Maloney said.
With a large and vocal student section cheering them on, Johnsburg forced an Oregon punt on the next possession.
“Those fans were great,” Brengman said.
A fumbled punt by Blake Lemcke stopped the momentum, though. Oregon recovered and managed to put together a 10-play drive before turning the ball over on downs.
Taking over at its own 11-yard line, Brengman made a gutty 9-yard run on fourth-and-8 to keep the drive alive. Johnsburg faced another fourth down at midfield and this time 300-pound Matt Crandall stopped Brengman for no gain.
The Hawks ran the clock out to preserve the victory.
“With its quarterback and skilled kids, Johsburg is on par with the best in the Big Northern,” Bothe said.
“Obviously we played hard,” Brengman said. “We need to be more focused.”