WAUSAU, Wis. — Two goal line stands in the first half by Hurley kept Boscobel from making things more interesting and off the scoreboard all together.
The Midgets started the season with a 34-0 victory over the Bulldogs, who despite losing their 23rd straight game, made Hurley work for a lot of what it got. The Midgets also had to work through losing running back/tight end/defensive back Jake Colassaco, who sprained his ankle in the first half.
“We had to work our way through some things today,” Hurley coach Scott Erickson said. “Of course, we had some injury issues and the next man-in philosophy had to be put to the test. It was a good first game as far as see what you got and see what you can improve on for next week.”
The Midgets proved how good their rush defense is, giving up just 93 yards on 36 carries (2.5 yards per carry) and how many options the offense has (four players scored touchdowns; Hurley had five TDs).
Hurley went up 12-0 in the first quarter on a pair of 16-yard touchdown runs, one each by Colassaco and Roman Lupino.
Maki scored from 19 yards out just seven seconds into the second quarter for an 18-0 lead and Hurley looked to be in control.
Boscobel, though, threatened twice in the second quarter.
A 40-yard pass set Boscobel up at the Hurley 9. On fourth-and-goal at the 3, Hurley was called for offsides, but the Midgets still stopped Boscobel for a loss on a run up the middle at the 1.5 yard line.
With 5:09 left in the half, Lupino rushed from 14 yards out for his second TD of the game. It was a 96-yard, seven-play drive. James Sukanen hit Jared Wendt for Hurley’s first successful two-point conversion of the day.
Hurley led 26-0 and the Bulldogs set up another opportunity to score on their ensuing possession.
Passes of 35 and 12 yards, plus a run of 14 yards, put Boscobel inside the 10 again, this time on the 5. Backed up to the 10 on fourth down, an off-tackle run was stuffed by the Midgets.
Hurley led 26-0 at the half. The Midgets didn’t have the ball often in the second half, but Boscobel didn’t come nearly as close to scoring again.
“When we had first-and-goal inside the 10-yard-line twice and were unable able to punch the ball in, the whole facet of the game changes,” Boscobel coach Todd Fischer said. “If we get those scores in and potentially get even our try-after conversions, it could have been 26-16 at halftime instead of 26-0.”
“I was proud how we held on the goal line,” Erickson said. “We’ve got solid rush defense. Our pass defense has been suspect. Just keep working on it.”
Passing seemed to be a solution for Boscobel’s effort of moving the ball when it got inside the 10, but that fizzled later.
“We completed a couple passes early,” Fischer said. “We started passing a little bit more. They started to double team over top on us. We had the openings. We had the open receiver. We just weren’t able to block some of the blitzes and some of the rushing game, too. I think their d-line had a pretty effective game overall, whether it was rush defense or rushing the passer.”
Three seconds into the fourth quarter, Mark Saari scored Hurley’s other touchdown, a three-yard run. He then caught the pass from Sukanen for the two-point conversion and a 34-0 lead.
Hurley rushed for 237 yards on 33 carries. Saari led with 88 yards and Lupino had 78.
Erickson said the Midgets will delve into the severity of Colassaco’s injury this week.
Both teams were happy to have the game. Hurley’s week one spot opened when Florence cancelled because it didn’t have enough players (just for the opening week). Seneca, which played in the state title game two years ago in Division 7, decided to play a JV schedule this year and left Boscobel high-and-dry in the opening week.
“We didn’t get a game film until Friday. We kind of came in here blind,” Erickson said. “Kids had a good attitude today, kind of slow to start, but found a little groove and didn’t have the ball much in the second half.”
“I’m very happy to have it,” Fischer said. “We need every game we can get. Our program has been down for a number of years. You’re talking two wins is a real successful year for us over the last 16-17 years. I’m pretty proud of our kids for coming up here, long bus ride this morning and they came out here, they were ready to play. It was just some execution issues by some sophomores that we can address as we keep moving forward.”
Hurley hosts Ironwood Friday at 7 p.m. in the season opener for the Red Devils.