BOURBON — Triton football head coach Rodney Younis felt his team’s offensive rhythm start to slip with a pair of late first-half interceptions Friday.
The second half turned into an all-out free fall on both sides of the ball.
Trailing by six at halftime, visiting Northfield held Triton to just 41 yards of total offense after the intermission and scored during four of its five second-half possessions to pull away from the Trojans, 43-20.
“We couldn’t get a rhythm offensively in the second half,” Younis said. “I felt it slipping away right at the end of the first half. I don’t know if (quarterback) Bryson (Mosier) got flustered on the one pick — he was under a lot of pressure — or what happened.
“Defensively, the bottom line is we have got to get better,” he added. “We do have a lot of rookies, but the key is to learn from those mistakes and not make the same ones again.”
Prior to the interceptions, backup quarterback Bryson Mosier, pressed into action when starting quarterback Zak Shively broke his foot last week, appeared poised for a career night. The junior signal caller threw for 172 yards and three touchdowns in the first 17 minutes alone.
He went deep down the sideline to Marc Lindsey for 70 yards in the first quarter and 69 yards to sophomore Tanner Shepherd in the second frame, with a 3-yard toss to freshman Cordale Keyser — set up by a Jayden Mosier loose-ball recovery — sandwiched in between.
“Our game plan was if they were going to bump and run we were going to hit them over the top, and that’s what we did,” Younis said. “They made an adjustment and weren’t up quite so far. We wanted Bryson to try to hit the under man. He made a couple of bad reads, but all things considered, he played a good game.
“He’s only going to get better,” Younis continued. “He’s a very smart player, and he’s going to keep working hard.”
However, those two late second-quarter interceptions turned the tide a bit. The Norsemen nearly returned the first for a touchdown but a fumble into the end zone claimed by Triton’s Cole Creighbaum — one of four Northfield first-half turnovers — allowed the Trojans to dodge a bullet.
The Norsemen, though, behind bruising fullback Andy Roser seized command from the opening kickoff of the second half. Roser churned out 164 yards — 115 in the second half — on 19 carries and scored two touchdowns, highlighted by a 14-yarder to put the Norsemen up 21-20 with 9:14 left in the third quarter. He also booted five extra points for good measure.
“Andy did a nice job,” Northfield head coach Justin Schuhmacher said. “In the second half we put it on the backs of the offensive line and Andy.
“As a coaching staff we were kind of calm at halftime,” he said. “The scores they got we gave them, and we couldn’t have played a sloppier first half as far as putting the ball on the ground. We thought we were in good enough condition going into the second half to be able to wear them down and rise to the occasion.”
Also for Northfield, quarterback Austin Curless threw touchdown passes of 33 and 9 yards to Tanner Chamberlain and Joe Frieden respectively in the second quarter and scored on a 4-yard option keeper to put the Norsemen up 29-21 with 5:15 to go in the third quarter.
For Triton, Bryson Mosier finished with 196 yards passing, and Lindsey topped the century mark in receiving for the second straight week with 108 yards in three grabs.
“Triton is a dangerous team because they like the big play as they showed,” Schuhmacher said. “They’ve got a lot of speed and they play hard. Triton, with its coaching staff, always seems to be a better team at the end of the year than they are at the beginning of the year. I think that’s going to be the case again this year.”
Triton opens up Northern State Conference play at Culver Community next Friday.
• NORTHFIELD 43,
Score by quarters
Northfield: 0 14 15 14 — 43
Triton: 14 6 0 0 — 20
T — Marc Lindsey 70 pass from Bryson Mosier (Erik Hoffman kick), 2:53.
T — Cordale Keyser 3 pass from Mosier (Hoffman kick), 1:06.
N — Tanner Chamberlain 33 pass from Austin Curless (Andy Roser kick), 10:16.
N — Joe Frieden 9 pass from Curless (Roser kick), 8:00.
T — Tanner Shepherd 69 pass from Mosier (kick failed), 7:39.
N — Roser 14 run (Roser kick), 9:14.
N — Curless 4 run (Jared Kirtlan pass from Curless), 5:15.
N — Roser 1 (Roser kick), 8:52.
N — Dustin Echard 28 run (Roser kick), 2:39.
Rushing: 49 carries for 273 yards (Roser 20-164, Echard 5-44, Curless 16-37, Hunter Wells 8-28, Frieden 1-0).
Passing: Curless 8-18-1, 147 yards, Joe Frieden 0-1
Receiving: Chamberlain 2-44, Roser 2-35, Frieden 2-24, Kirtlan 1-34, Tyler Morgan 1-10.
Tackles: Joseph Ross 3.
First downs: 18
Rushing: 19 carries for 42 yards (Cody Shively 8-25, DJ Riffle 3-18, Tyler Milton 1-1, Cole Creighbaum 2-1, Mosier 6-(minus)3).
Passing: Mosier 7-20-3, 196 yards
Receiving: Lindsey 3-108, Shepherd 1-69, Shively 1-13, Creighbaum 1-3, Keyser 1-3.
Tackles: Keyser — 6.
First downs: 3
Records: Northfield 2-0, Triton 0-2.