For the second week in a row, almost everything went right for the Nokomis High School football team.
The Redskins rolled up just over 400 yards of offense on the Wesclin Warriors and for all intents and purposes shut the hosts from Trenton down on offense as they improved to 2-0 and claimed an early share of the top spot in the Cahokia Conference small schools division with a 29-14 victory.
“We had four picks on the night. They had that one big, long run play and they scored late on our JV, so overall I’m happy with our defense,” Coach Paul Watson said of the effort.
The run, came on a 50-yard sprint by Isaiah Burris to start the third quarter and cut Nokomis’ lead to 14-7. The score resulted in one of the few times during the game that the outcome seemed questionable as Nokomis’ defense gave up just 45 yards of offense in the first half.
On offense, the Redskins hit the ground running after Wesclin was forced to punt, turning to their strong group of junior running backs.
Nokomis established the run early against the Warriors, even without Matthew Hill, who had 90 yards in last week’s win over East Alton-Wood River, but missed Friday’s game due to injury. Starting on their own 45 after Wesclin punted on the first possession of the game, the Redskins fed the hosts a steady dose of Landon Engelman, Jake Johnson and Jake Watson, with quarterback Connor Overby mixed in for good measure. With six minutes to play in the quarter, Watson scored the first touchdown of his varsity career, a two-yard plunge that happened to come on his 17th birthday.
His teammates would regale Watson with their version of Happy Birthday in the huddle after the game, but Watson wasn’t done celebrating.
On the Redskins' next series, he scored on an eight-yard run with 7:19 to play in the second, capping off a 15-play drive that ate up more than eight minutes of game clock.
Nokomis wouldn’t score again in the first half, but snuffed out two Wesclin drives in Nokomis territory. Isaac Satterlee would have the first pick, snagging Devon Kahrhoff’s attempt at a deep pass near the Nokomis sideline, while Landon Engelman had the second, which came at midfield after Overby nearly picked Kahrhoff the play before.
The Redskins nearly scored again late in the second quarter, but settled for a 14-0 lead after 24 minutes of play.
Everything that went right in the first half went wrong to start the second as Nokomis started with mediocre field position at their own 23, had two penalties (one of which was declined) in the span of three plays and punted less than two minutes into the third quarter. Burris would make things worse by busting up the middle for a 50-yard score as the Redskins led by just seven with plenty of time left for a Warrior comeback.
Fortunately, Nokomis had other ideas. Starting again deep in their own zone, the Redskins looked as if they might have to punt after minimal gain, before Jake Johnson broke one for 21 yards and made his way into Wesclin’s end of the field. A fumble Overby recovered himself and a two yard run brought up third and long for the second time in the drive, but again Nokomis came up big with a 41-yard touchdown run by Engelman, who was sprung free near the 20 off a pair of blocks by Dylan Hayes.
Satterlee kept the momentum going in Nokomis’ favor with an interception four plays later and the Redskins led 21-7 after three.
The two teams would trade possessions to start the fourth, but Nokomis got the ball back with a diving interception from Engelman, who has three picks in two games.
On the first play after the turnover, Johnson sprinted 46 yards and Satterlee ran for 18 to set up Nokomis’ fourth touchdown, an 11-yard run by Overby. The two point conversion made it 29-7 in Nokomis’ favor with just 3:31 showing on the clock.
Giving his first team a break, Coach Watson plugged in JV players for Wesclin’s final drive, which ended with a 32-yard pass from Kahrhoff to Burris with 44.4 seconds to play in the fourth quarter. A kickoff and two kneel downs later and Nokomis was 2-0 in the record books.
Engelman led a balanced rushing game for the Redskins with 118 yards on 14 carries, while Johnson added in 95 yards on 14 carries as well. Overby (12 rushes for 58 yards), Watson (13 rushes for 46 yards) and Satterlee (one rush for 18 yards) also contributed to the run game, which matched last year’s top yardage total of 335 yards against Madison.
Overby was also effective in the passing game, completing seven of his eight attempts for 76 yards, including a 13-yard toss to Cooper Bertolino on fourth and seven that set up Nokomis’ second touchdown. In addition to Bertolino, Nolan Ernst, Engelman, Satterlee and Johnson all caught passes, with Johnson leading the team in receiving yards with 27.
On defense, Satterlee had six tackles in addition to his two interceptions, matching Dylan Hayes for the team-high. Johnson and Overby also had five tackles each for the Redskins, who are one of two Cahokia small school teams to start the season 2-0. Dupo is the other, with wins over Carlyle (12-6) and Madison (40-18) this year.
The Redskins will see Dupo on April 16, but before then, they will take on Carlyle at home on Friday, April 2, which will be senior night for Nokomis’ Braeston Brummet, Cameron Engelhart, Dylan Hayes and Dallas Sneddon.
March 26 at Trenton
Nokomis (1-1) 6 8 7 8 29
Wesclin (0-2) 0 0 7 7 14
1st - 6:08 - Nokomis - Jake Watson 2-yard run (run failed)
2nd - 7:19 - Nokomis - Jake Watson 8-yard run (Connor Overby pass to Nolan Ernst)
3rd - 9:51 - Wesclin - Isaiah Burris 50-yard run (Christian Gonzalez kick)
3rd - 6:01 - Nokomis - Landon Engelman 41-yard run (Landon Engelman kick)
4th - 3:31 - Nokomis - Connor Overby 11-yard run (Connor Overby pass to Jake Johnson)
4th - 0:44 - Wesclin - Devon Kahrhoff 32-yard pass to Isaiah Burris (Christian Gonzalez kick)
Passing (7-8-76): Connor Overby 7-8-76, 0 TD, 0 INT.
Rushing (54-335): Landon Engelman 14-118, 1 TD; Jake Johnson 14-95; Connor Overby 12-58, 1 TD; Jake Watson 13-46, 2 TD; Isaac Satterlee 1-18.
Receiving (7-76): Jake Johnson 2-27; Isaac Satterlee 1-17; Landon Engelman 2-16; Cooper Bertolino 1-13; Nolan Ernst 1-3.
Defense (solo/assists): Dylan Hayes 2/4; Isaac Satterlee 3/3, 2 INT; Jake Johnson 2/3; Connor Overby 3/2; Craig Bertolino 1/2; Tanner Woolard 1/1; Braeston Brummet 1/1; Landon Engelman 0/1 2 INT; Ryan Eisenbarth 0/1; Brenton Lyons 1/0.