OAKLAND CITY - In the final home contest for a trio of Wood Memorial High School seniors, the Trojan football team battled the North Central Thunderbirds on Friday night.
The Trojans, playing with only 11 players due to some lingering injuries, fell on Senior Night to the Thunderbirds, 41-2.
“We ran into a buzz saw,” said first year Trojan head coach Bret Kramer. “We went at them with 11 young men. I thought the guys did pretty well. There were times we didn’t play well, they were just a lot more physical, stronger and faster up front than we were. Our guys did what they could, they just weren’t effective against a more experienced line. North Central is a really good, well coached football team. They started putting kids in that don’t play very much early on and they did a great job of moving the football up and down the field. I’m really proud of these guys. We’re still in the shallow end of the pool and not ready to dive into the deep end, but we’re getting there. These underclassmen are talking about next year when we do things. It makes me feel good that they’re already thinking about next year. Their commitment is to Trojan football.
“Hopefully next year, we can compete with these guys and they can see the improvements and hopefully we’ll have something for them next year.”
At halftime, the Thunderbirds led 34-0 and in the fourth quarter, lost the shutout with Trojan senior Mason Williams recorded a sack in the end zone for a safety.
“They had their JV in and we had moved the ball fairly decent,” Kramer said of setting up the safety. “We had a good return on a kickoff and we just really never got our offense going. So we punted, pinned them deep and on the first play we got them for a 2-yard loss to set them up on the half-yard line and Mason, as a middle-linebacker, got the ball carrier in the end zone. Him being a senior on senior night, we tried to help him out a little bit. We put him in position to make plays and he did a great job defensively. He made positive yards every time on offense. He did a fine job and unfortunately, this could be the last time he gets to play on the home field and I think he’s got some memories he can carry with him for the rest of his life.”
The Thunderbirds added one more touchdown in the second half, setting up the 41-2 victory.
“I told the kids that it’s coming, we’re just not there yet,” Kramer said about the continued growth of the young program. “We never quit. These guys play for the love of the game and it doesn’t matter what the score is, they’re going to keep battling. I can’t say enough about the young guys that don’t really have that much experience. Our freshmen don’t play like freshmen. They’re mature and they work hard. I think the seniors help because they gave them great leadership. These guys want to do the right thing and they’re going to get to that point. A couple years from now, they’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”
“We had the typical things happen tonight. Luke Price was a beast again,” Kramer added of the sophomore running back and kick returner. “I don’t know how many yards he had in kick returns, but he had a bundle. He got the hard yards after he got hit. Offensively, he was a bright spot. He always is. He fights for the tough yards and does what he does every week.”
The Trojans continue the hunt for victory next week in the regular season finale in a road contest at Crawford County starting at 6:30 p.m. CDT.
“Crawford County is one of those teams that have only won one game,” Kramer said. “They’re not a bad football team. We feel like we have a chance against everybody that we play, but guys around the sport realize that they’re playing their class and above. They’re a lot better than their record shows. Their well coached and have some great players. We have our work cut out for us, but I think we can go compete with them.”