The goal for the Nokomis football game going into their meeting with top ranked Central A&M on Friday, Sept. 3, was to wash the bitter taste of their last meeting out of their mouths.
In 2019, the Raiders had a running clock against the Redskins, eventually winning 42-6 against a roster that featured a number of sophomores who are now in their senior year. While the Skins were successful in avoiding the mercy rule against the Raiders on Friday, the end result wasn’t what Nokomis had in mind as they fell 45-14 to Class 1A’s top team.
“This was a playoff type atmosphere and we’re a playoff type team, but we made a lot of mistakes, tackling, blocking assignments that we worked on all week,” Coach Paul Watson said after the game. “We just have to learn from it. And we will. We’ll watch film in the morning, get those things fixed and go on from there.”
The Skins had a more than respectable 285 yards rushing, with a couple big plays that showed their ability to play with the state’s best, but too often in the first half drives resulted in turnovers instead of touchdowns.
The Redskins had five offensive drives in the first two quarters, two of which ended on failed fourth downs, including a heartbreaker from the Central A&M 2-yard line. Two more ended in turnovers, with the Raiders recovering a fumble by Landon Engelman and picking off quarterback Connor Overby, who hadn’t thrown an interception in five games.
The remaining drive showed what makes Nokomis so dangerous. After Engelman gave the team quality field position with a 25-yard kickoff return to the 28, senior Matt Hill sprinted 69 yards up the left side before being brought down at the three. Jake Watson took over from there, plunging ahead three yards for Nokomis’ first touchdown.
Watson’s score made it a manageable 13-6 late in the first quarter, with Central A&M getting scores on a pair of quarterback James Paradee touchdowns, one on a 34-yard run and the other on a 4-yard pass Cody Sloan.
The momentum of the moment quickly waned, though, as Brody Barnes, the second part of the Raiders’ two-headed rushing monster with Paradee, broke a 54-yarder to end the first quarter.
The Raiders scored less than three minutes later on a one-yard run by Paradee, with a four-yard run and a 30-yard field goal by Jarrett Robertson turning the seven-point lead late in the first into a 31-6 halftime advantage.
With the 25-point lead under their belts, Central A&M was able to chew clock in the second half. Their first drive, which ended on a one-yard run by Paradee and was extended by a roughing the passer call on fourth and three, ate up almost six minutes of clock.
The Raiders would hold Nokomis to just six plays on their next drive, then ran down the final three minutes of the third quarter before Will Thompson scored on a one-yard run with 47 seconds to go to make it 45-6.
To add insult to injury, Central A&M then recovered the kickoff, allowing them to run four more minutes of time off the clock before turning the ball over on downs on the Nokomis 17.
The Redskins put together one of their longest drives after getting the ball back, but both teams had gone to their benches by then. A series of runs by Craig Bertolino helped set up a 10-yard touchdown by Brenton Lyons and make the final score 45-14 as the Raiders took a knee for the final play after the kickoff.
The Redskins left Assumption with 285 rushing yards on 45 carries, while Central A&M carried the ball 47 times for 293 yards, with Paradee (130) and Barnes (128) holding the lion’s share.
Landon Engleman led the team with 108 yards on 11 carries, while Matt Hill had nine carries for 98 yards. Engelman also had a 14-yard reception as Overby was 1-for-2 on the day. Bertolino (38 yards on nine carries) and Lyons (21 yards on four carries) contributed on the final scoring series.
Defensively, Isaac Satterlee, Jake Johnson and Jake Watson each had 10 total tackles, while Matt Hill and Connor Overby contributed seven apiece.
While the loss stings, the Redskins don’t have time to let it linger as they return home Friday, Sept. 10, to take on East Alton-Wood River.
“It’s one of those things where we have a short-term memory. After we watch film on this on Saturday, this game’s done,” Coach Watson said. “It’s past us and we move on to East Alton-Wood River.”
Watson also knows that if the Redskins want to take it to the next level, more games like Friday are in their future, perhaps against the Raiders again.
“I told them we don’t know what’s going to happen,” Watson said. “If we get playoff eligible, we might see them again and I think it would be a totally different game.”
Sept. 3 at Assumption
Central A&M 13 18 14 0 45
Nokomis 6 0 0 8 14
1st - 8:09 - (C) - James Paradee 34-yard TD run (Jarrett Robertson kick)
1st - 1:08 - (C) - Cody Sloan 44-yard TD reception from James Paradee (kick blocked)
1st - 0:30 - (N) - Nokomis 3-yard TD run (conversion failed)
2nd - 9:25 - (C) - James Paradee 1-yard TD run (2pt. run)
2nd - 6:02 - (C) - James Paradee 4-yard TD run (Jarrett Robertson kick)
2nd - 0:08 - (C) - Jarrett Robertson 30-yard field goal
3rd - 6:21 - (C) - James Paradee 1-yard TD (Jarrett Robertson kick)
3rd - 0:47 - (C) - Will Thompson 1-yard TD run Jarrett Robertson kick)
4th - 1:10 - (N) - Brenton Lyons 10-yard TD run (Craig Bertolino 2pt. run)
Passing (1-2-14): Connor Overby 1-2-14, 1 INT.
Rushing (45-285): Landon Engelman 11-108; Matt Hill 9-98; Craig Bertolino 9-38; Jake Watson 9-21, 1 TD; Brenton Lyons 4-21, 1 TD; Connor Overby 2-1; Nolan Ernst 1-(-2).
Receiving (1-14): Landon Engelman 1-14.
Tackles (Solo/Assist): Isaac Satterlee 3/7; Jake Johnson 3/7; Jake Watson 2/8; Matt Hill 1/6; Connor Overby 3/4; Wyatt Dooley 3/3; Landon Engelman 2/3; Craig Bertolino 2/3; Tanner Woolard 1/2; Braeston Taylor 1/1; Brenton Lyons 1/1; Mason Morris 1/1; Nolan Ernst 1/0; Jaxson Batty 1/0.
Records: Central A&M (2-0); Nokomis (1-1).