NEW PRAGUE – The New Prague Trojans football team forced a season-high six turnovers and scored on every drive in the second half to win in Section 1AAAA quarterfinal over Winona 46-8 Tuesday night at Trojan Field. “We challenged the kids in the second half and they responded,” New Prague head coach Jim Benick who was all smiles after the game.
New Prague came out blazing after an early fumbled snap by Winona when Trojan Nick Johnson, who had just returned from missing the last two games with a concussion, falling on the ball and giving New Prague the ball at the Winona 35-yard line. New Prague then broke out a new offensive set and pitched the ball to Zack Shetka on the first play and went into the end zone and got a two-point conversion using the same play. On the second play of Winona’s next drive quarterback Josh Speltz under threw his receiver and was intercepted by Joe Kneip at the Winona 45-yard line. Four plays later New Prague scores with a 29-yard touchdown run by Nick Johnson. Luke Tietz would get the two-point conversion run on an end-around for New Prague to put them 16-0 with 8:20 left in the first quarter.
Scoring would slow down for the rest of the first quarter and would see the game played between the 20′s. New Prague would have their first and only turnover of the game after Kyle Stepka would keep an option and lose the ball trying to get a couple of extra yards at the Winona 27-yard-line. Winona would try to move the ball through the air, but would be intercepted for the second time this time by Nick Johnson and return the ball to the Winona 13-yard-line. New Prague would not be able to capitalize on field positition. Winona would get the ball to the New Prague 26-yard line late in the half, but would throw a jump ball that New Prague’s Joe Kneip would bring down to end the half.
Winona would keep the small momentum they had in the second quarter and carry it into the second half by starting off the half with an onside kick to get the ball. The Trojan defense would force a three-and-out and get the ball back. New Prague would get on the board early in the third quarter with a 75-yard touchdown run on a pitch play to put New Prague up 22-0 with 9:15 left in the third quarter. The Winhawks would turn the ball over after a failed handoff went onto the ground and was covered by New Prague defensive lineman Danny O’Neill at the Winona 40-yard-line. Six plays later Zack Shetka would get his third touchdown of the game this time from five yards out by fighting through tackles for the last yards. Kyle Stepka would run the ball in for the two point conversion to put New Prague up 30-0 with 4:29 left in the third quarter.
After another Winona punt New Prague would take over at their own 45 yard line after a nice return from Zack Shetka. The Trojans would get into the end zone on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Stepka to Nick Johnson to seal the deal. Dakota Cole would run in the two point conversion to make the score 38-0 with 11:55 left to go in the fourth quarter. New Prague would get another turnover on an interception by Brandon Goblirsch and returned it to the Winona 14-yard line. New Prague quarterback Joe Heinz would score a touchdown on a 7-yard rush and a two point run by Eric Wagner to make it 46-0. Winona would score with :42 left on a pass from Jeff Schultz to Brandon Gamoke and get a two point run by Travion Clark to give the final score of 46-8.
New Prague was led by Zack Shetka rushing for 125 yards on 6 carries with three rushing touchdowns. Nathan Preston would add 102 yards on 19 carries.
New Prague improves to 3-6 on the season and will travel Saturday at 7pm to Bruce Smith Field to take on the Faribault Falcons for the third straight year in the Section 1AAAA semifinal. That game can be heard on 1350 AM KCHK.
By: Adam Bartels