Fast start carries Oregon over Stoughton in Badger South battle
OREGON — The social media networks were chirping earlier this week.
You see, Stoughton and Oregon were meeting in their annual rivalry football game, the Badger South Bowl, and the fewer than 10 miles between the schools can make some posts travel even faster than your typical 4G network.
“There was a lot of talk before the game between the two schools, social media and everything,” Oregon senior quarterback Nolan Look said. “But it really comes down to what you do on the field. We talked about being tough and that’s what it came down to.”
Look and the Panthers let their play do the talking Friday, on their homecoming no less, knocking off the previously unbeaten Vikings 35-10.
The Oregon defense stymied Stoughton scoring opportunities while Look captained the Panthers’ ball-control offense to put Oregon (4-2, 3-1 Badger South) in control nearly from the start.
Oregon took the opening kickoff and marched 65 yards in six plays for a 7-0 lead. Stoughton’s first two offensive drives, meanwhile, ended in a fumble and an interception in the end zone.
“You can’t take a quarter or not even a quarter, a couple series to get used to the speed and the physicality of the game,” Stoughton coach Dan Prahl said. “That’s a goal we have and we’ve got to make sure we come out and set that right away.
“Oregon came out, you know, punched us in the mouth there and scored on that first drive.”
Oregon built a 21-3 halftime lead thanks in part to two touchdown runs by Keion Szudy, but Stoughton (5-1, 3-1) put together a scoring drive to open the second half and cut its deficit to 21-10.
Stoughton had three more offensive drives the rest of the game, but all three ended with turnovers on downs.
Meanwhile, Look orchestrated two scoring drives, converted 2 of 4 third downs (Oregon was 6 of 9 on third downs for the game) and a crucial fourth down.
With Oregon facing a fourth-and-9 on the Stoughton 21, Look hit Carter Erickson for 12 yards on an out pattern. Two plays later, the lead was 28-10 with just over 8 minutes to go.
To cap the effort, Look boot-legged right for 21 yards on third-and-9 for Oregon’s final score with 3:44 seconds left.
“We knew that they were dropping and when we pulled, that we had an extra guy out there,” said Look, who was 4-for-9 passing for 65 yards and a touchdown and added 62 rushing yards and two scores on five carries. “We called it, keep, and then we had a great pickup by my guard, Matt Rusch, picked it up perfectly.
“I just made one cut and from there it was end zone.”
And with it, Oregon solidified itself in the Badger South, and playoff, conversation. The Panthers, who have losses to conference frontrunners Mount Horeb/Barneveld and Monona Grove, are at Madison Edgewood, at Watertown and host Monroe to close out the regular season.
“This was a huge momentum boost,” Look said. “We had a tough stretch in those first couple games but, you know, we’re back on track.”
Stoughton, after a fast start, entered Friday with a chance to become playoff eligible with a win. But it’s back to focusing on next week’s opponent, another playoff contender.
“We can’t get caught up in trying to look past Watertown, because they’re a talented team as well,” Prahl said.
Stoughton 0 3 7 0 — 10
Oregon 7 14 0 14 — 35
Or — Szudy 10 run (Haufle kick)
Or — Szudy 10 run (Haufle kick)
Or — Look 5 run (Haufle kick)
S — FG Spilde 34
S — Walker 10 run (Spilde kick)
Or — Grender 5 pass from Nolan Look (Haufle kick)
Or — Look 21 run (Haufle kick)
First downs — S 21, Or 21. Rushing (Att.-Yds.) — S 42-279, Or 48-264. Passing yards — S 68, Or 65. Passes (Comp.-Att.-Int.) — S 9-26-1, Or 4-9-0. Fumbles-lost — S 2-1, Or 0-0. Penalties-yards — S 6-63, Or 1-15.
Rushing: S, Walker 21-148. Or, Look 5-62.
Passing: S, Hobson 9-26-1-68. Or, Look 4-9-0-65, .
Receiving: S, Anderson 4-38. Or, Haufle 1-35.