Wilton hosted the Blazers, Oct. 2, in a Class 1A, District 5 football match-up that found them start strong before finally falling to the green-and-gold, 42-30.
The Beavers scored 10 unanswered first-quarter points, via a Caleb Stewart 30-yard run and a field goal from Alex Rae, before Beckman could get on the board.
Nick Offerman connected with his favorite target, Trent Koelker, for a 33-yard score just two minutes into the second quarter and Logan Burchard’s kick made it 10-7 Beavers. The margin grew again four minutes later as Sawvel hit Gavin Schnepper for 10 yards and 16-7 advantage. It took just a minute for Offerman to answer with a 52-yard pass to Max Mullis to send the Blazers to the break, down 16-14.
Then came the third quarter: all Blazers after Sawvell tallied a short five-yard run to go up 23-14. A short field gave the Blazers their first score 20 seconds later, an Offerman to Conner Grover pass for 32 yards making it 23-21. Again, the Blazers scored quickly, three minutes later, when Offerman threw to Koelker, who broke loose for 63 yards and a 28-23 lead. They added another tally a scant minute later when Offerman ran for 29 yards and a 35-23 lead they never lost. It took them less than four minutes to grab control of the game and keep it.
Both teams scored in the final frame, Offerman to Koelker again for 45 yards and Sawvel to Cade Kirkman for 15.
Wilton won the game of numbers with 22 first downs to the Blazers’ 13. The Blazers took the passing game 276 to 118 but the Beavers won rushing 219 to 86. The Blazers were tagged for 80 yards worth of penalties, the Beavers half that.
Coach Mark Atwater was philosophical about the win. “This was pretty typical to our nature as we played a close game throughout. I’m starting to think that’s how we like to win. We started on a tough note with a fumble and gave up some big fourth-down conversions. But a credit to our kids, they got it figured out. Wins are wins, it doesn’t matter how pretty they are.
“I am just proud of how we were able to come out in the second half and really take control of the game with big plays. Trent was a stud. He really opens up things for our teams and has been such a great leader. Nick did a great job of finding open guys and getting them the ball.
“For us to be in this position is a testament to our kids and coaches. We have been able to grind out some tough wins and that is giving us the opportunity to play for the district title next week (4-0, with Cascade at 3-1). I’m proud of how we have grown so much since the beginning of the season.”
Individual stats include: passing — Offerman 10-of-17 for 276 yards to receivers Koelker (8-for-192, three TDs), Mullis (1-for-52, one), Grover (1-for-32, one); rushing — Offerman 11-for-47, Owen Huehnergarth 11-for-39; kick-off returns — Mullis 3-for-67, Luke Schieltz 2-for-26; punt return — Koelker 1-for-18; punts — Burchard 3-for-97; tackles — Elliot Naughton seven (four for loss), Huehnergarth 6.5 (one), Grover and Owen Gaul 5.5 (.5), lane Kramer 5.5, Koelker and Cayden Gassmann 4.5, Burchard four (one), Mullis and Ryan Funke 2.5, Michael Dinan two (two), Schieltz and Drew Soppe (one) 1.5, Eric Heinrichs, Jason Koopmann, Nick Wulfekuhle and Ben Morlot one, Wyatt Schulte and Luke Hirsch 0.5; interception — Burchard.