After achieving perfection in the spring, it’s apparent that the Nokomis High School football players expect nothing less this fall.
In their season opener on Friday, Aug. 27, the Redskins traveled to Sullivan to face... the Redskins and emerged with a 54-0 victory over the host school.
The victory was absolute and overwhelming almost from the opening drive, when Nokomis put together an eight-play, 59-yard romp that culminated with the first of Landon Engelman’s three touchdowns.
Nokomis went on to score on all eight offensive drives, only four of their 49 offensive plays not resulting in positive yardage (and two of those were for zero yards). They also held Sullivan to 83 yards on offense and had just two penalties in the game, one of which was for a kickoff that sailed out of bounds.
All told, it was a dominating effort that everyone had to be happy with... unless you were in the Nokomis backfield.
“They got a little frustrated in the first half because they felt like they weren’t as fast as they should be going,” said Head Coach Paul Watson, who added that there were a few little things to fix, but overall the coaching staff was pleased. “I told them that is one of the things that we’re going to work on. We’ve got a drill to fix that and we’ll fix that this week.”
After averaging 332 yards per game in the 2021 spring season, the Nokomis running backs were of the mind set that week one should be a continuation of last season, even though Watson new better.
“They thought we’d come in and just keep rolling off week six of the spring season, but this is week one. It’s a whole new season,” Watson said. “We’ve been off for several months. We’re going to make mistakes, but we can fix them.”
Even if they weren’t pleased with the results, most teams would have been. Nokomis rushed for 425 yards on 47 carries, an average on nine yards per rush.
Engelman, who led the way with 203 yards on 17 carries, scored the first two touchdowns, with an 8-yarder following his four-yard rumble earlier in the first quarter.
Quarterback Connor Overby added touchdown number three early in the second quarter after Sullivan went 3-and-out, as he skirted the Sullivan defense for an 11-yard score.
Engelman picked up his third touchdown on a 12-yard run with 4:03 left after Jake Johnson gave Nokomis the ball back with a sack quarterback Kyle Corkill on fourth and two, while Overby added another TD with 18 seconds left from the one to keep Nokomis perfect in the first half.
As the smoke cleared, Nokomis had over 256 yards rushing, plus a 35-yard reception by Johnson from Overby, and a 33-0 lead going into the second half.
The dominance continued in the second half, with Sullivan limited to 38 yards and just one first down, which came thanks to an illegal block on fourth and 13.
On offense, Nokomis added running touchdowns from Jake Watson in the third and Matt Hill and Brenton Lyons in the fourth as they went 8-for-8 in scoring drives.
Both Watson and Hill would rush for more than seven yards a carry as the two seniors notched 73 and 70 yards on 10 carries each. Lyons added in 54 yards on four carries in mop-up duty as Watson turned to his JV in the final series.
Defensively, Craig Bertolino led the team in tackles with five, but Isaac Satterlee, Connor Overby, Tanner Woolard, Wyatt Dooley, Kaden Cook and Matt Hill were all right behind him with four apiece.
Next up for Nokomis is Central A&M, who clobbered a good Redskin team 42-6 in 2019 en route to the Class 1A state championship, where they lost to Lena-Winslow 58-20. The rout is something the Redskins still remember.
“This is one of the games we’ve had circled. A lot of these kids played two years ago as sophomores when we went there and had a running clock on us,” Watson said. “They want to go back out there, especially at their place, and show them what we’ve got.”
August 27 at Sullivan
Nokomis (1-0) 14 19 8 13 54
Sullivan (0-1) 0 0 0 0 0
1st - 7:57 - (N) - Landon Engelman 4-yard TD run (kick blocked)
1st - 2:46 - (N) - Landon Engelman 8-yard TD run (Landon Engelman 2pt. run)
2nd - 9:55 - (N) - Connor Overby 11-yard TD run (Landon Engelman kick)
2nd - 4:03 - (N) - Landon Engelman 12-yard TD run (kick blocked)
2nd - 0:18 - (N) - Connor Overby 1-yard TD run (run failed)
3rd - 7:44 - (N) - Jake Watson 2-yard TD run (Landon Engelman 2pt. run)
4th - 9:31 - (N) - Matt Hill 6-yard TD run (Landon Engelman kick)
4th - 0:27 - (N) - Brenton Lyons 9-yard run (run failed)
Passing (1-2-35): Connor Overby 1-2-35.
Rushing (47-425): Landon Engelman 17-203, 3 TD; Jake Watson 10-73, 1 TD; Matt Hill 10-70, 1 TD; Brenton Lyons 4-54, 1 TD; Connor Overby 4-18, 2 TD; Craig Bertolino 1-6; Skylar Pavolko 1-1.
Receiving (1-35): Jake Johnson 1-35.
Tackles (Solo/Assists): Craig Bertolino 2/3; Isaac Satterlee 3/1; Connor Overby 3/1; Tanner Woolard 2/2; Wyatt Dooley 1/3; Kaden Cook 1/3; Matt Hill 0/4; Landon Engelman 3/0; Jake Watson 1/1; Kaleb Kuhn 2/0; Skylar Pavolko 0/1; Conner Wilson 0/1; Mason Morris 0/1; Zaylon Sisk 1/0.