SHAKOPEE – The recurring theme all season for New Prague football has been turnovers and costly penalties and they continued Friday night as Shakopee beat New Prague 48-14. While the final score is not indicative of how well New Prague played in the first half of the game it showed how quickly the Shakopee offense with the single wing approach could strike.
Shakopee offense went down the field 70 yards on the first drive, but were helped by 30 yards of penalties from New Prague defense for chop blocking the offense. The opening drive of the game would end with a four-yard touchdown run by Jordan Gunhus to put Shakopee up 7-0. New Prague would get the ball at their own 35 and move the ball, but would turn the ball over when Jake Molitor would be hit after the handoff and fumble the ball and turn the ball over at the Shakopee 39 yard-line.
Scoring would hold off until the Sabers would go 85-yards on a drive that started thanks to an interception by Brady Fish. A 12-play drive would finish with a five-yard touchdown run by Zach Hoffman to put Shakopee up 14-0 with 10:47 left to go in the second quarter. New Prague would punt the ball back after a short drive and Shakopee would go for a 4th-and-2 at their own 44-yard-line when quarterback Nick Larson would have the ball stripped from him and picked up and returned by Joe Kneip 40-yards for a touchdown. The Trojans would try a two-point conversion, but fail on a pass from Michael Eide and the score was 14-6, Shakopee. Sabers coach Jody Stone did not worry as Shakopee would move the ball, but a fumbled snap would force them into a 4th-and-8 and the New Prague 48-yard-line and would do a play-action pass from Nick Larson to Matt Conrad into the end zone to put Shakopee up 21-6 and that would be the score at the half.New Prague would lose Zack Shetka with just 1:00 left in the first half when he sprained his ankle and wouldn’t play the entire second half and that took a big attack from the New Prague offense. The Trojans would start with the ball in the second half, but would go three-and-out on the drive as Shakopee defense shot through New Prague’s line and gave the offense great starting field position at New Prague 48-yard line. A Jordan Gunhus 27-yard run and then a 21-yard pass from Zach Hoffman to Jordan Gunhus would give the Sabers and 28-6 lead. On the ensuing kickoff Nick Johnson would have a good return for New Prague, but would fumble the ball at the 41-yard line and Shakopee would recover. On the first play Nick Larson found Jordan Gunhus behind the coverage and make the score 35-6 Shakopee and Gunhus would have two touchdowns in less than 20 seconds. Another three-and-out for New Prague followed. The Sabers would put the game away officially on their next drive as they marched 68 yards and finished with a 4-yard touchdown run by Jordan Gunhus to get his fourth touchdown of the game and third touchdown of the third quarter to make the score 41-6.
New Prague would get a late score as Nick Natole would score from 11-yards out to give New Prague their first offensive touchdown of the game to and Kyle Stepka would run for the two-point conversion to make the score 41-14, Shakopee. Shakopee would get one more score from senior running back Connor Neal to give the final score of 48-14.
Shakopee was led in rushing by Zach Hoffman with 136 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown. New Prague was led on the ground by Zack Shetka with 43 yards on 6 carries, but missed the second half with a sprained ankle.
Shakopee improves to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the Missota Conference and will battle Holy Angels next week in Richfield in a battle of unbeatens. New Prague fall to 1-4 overall and 1-3 in the Missota. New Prague will travel to Red Wing next Friday at 7pm in a game that can be heard on 1350 AM KCHK and online.
By: Adam Bartels