On a night where Northfield struggled to get its ground game going, others stepped up as it remained undefeated after a 24-6 victory over New Prague at Memorial Field Friday night.
The Raiders (4-0, 2-0 Southeast Red) were ranked ninth in the Class 5A rankings coming into the game and remain as one of two undefeated teams in the district.
The defense stepped up again Friday night, as Josh Grabau curbed any Trojans momentum early with an interception. Northfield allowed just 161 total yards as New Prague’s lone touchdown came in the closing seconds with the game already out of reach.
Mason Zick was able to get the Raiders on the board with 12 seconds remaining in the first quarter as he found David Urke in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown. The duo was in sync as they hooked up for a 68-yard score near the end of the third to put Northfield up 24-0. Urke finished with four receptions for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
Carter Hodapp ran one in from 13 yards out for a score with nine minutes remaining in the second quarter. The Raiders threatened again to close out the first half after a couple of catches from Alex Rasmussen got them inside the 10, but they had to settle for a 26-yard field goal from Rylie Wefel.
The passing game was in full force for the Raiders, as both quarterbacks found success through the air. Zick was 4-for-6 with 99 yards and the two touchdowns while Lars Prestemon finished the game 8-for-19 with 100 yards.
The strong air attack helped overshadow another suspect ground game. The Raiders couldn’t get much going on the ground, as they finished with 100 yards. That came after the team finished with just 98 yards rushing last week against Faribault. Both totals are a decline from the 248 yards put up against Rochester John Marshall.
“You have to give credit to the two defenses, but we have to get that going,” Northfield head coach Bubba Sullivan said. “It starts at the line of scrimmage. We need to be better up front.”
The Trojans had a shot at a field goal with three minutes to go in the first half, but a make was called off after a penalty and the second kick fell short as Northfield led 13-0 at the half. They eventually scored with two seconds remaining in the game as Nathan Berg found Carter Seymour for a 4-yard score.
The Raiders finished the game with 299 yards on offense. Rasmussen caught two passes for 28 yards and Hodapp caught three passes for 23 yards and rushed for 13 yards. Mitchell Stanchina led the ground game with 25 yards on eight carries. Jim Vitito and Zick each added 23 yards on the ground.
“We are excited to be 4-0,” Sullivan said. “It’s been weird with sickness and injuries but what they are finding out is that somebody has to step up. The last couple of weeks we have had that. Guys have jumped in there and done a nice job.”
Northfield will be at Austin 7 p.m. next Friday night.