CONESTOGA – A large Homecoming crowd watched Conestoga go toe to toe with Tekamah-Herman throughout the first half Friday night.
The Tigers relied on a powerful running game to separate themselves from the Cougars in the second half.
Tekamah-Herman left Cougar Stadium with a 45-8 triumph. The team gained 330 yards on the ground and collected 19 first downs. Senior tailback Luke Wakehouse caused a large portion of the damage with 196 yards and four touchdowns on 18 carries.
Conestoga head coach Trenton Clausen said he felt the team made progress in the Homecoming game. The Cougars (0-4) had several long drives during the night and stayed close to the Tigers (2-2) in the first 24 minutes.
“I thought the boys gave a great effort tonight,” Clausen said. “They played hard for all four quarters and there were some good things that happened out there. Tekamah-Herman was just too much for us with their running game. Number 28 (Wakehouse) is a great player and they kept feeding him the ball as the game went on. He made a big difference in how things turned out.”
Tekamah-Herman jumped on the scoreboard first when Luke Rogers posted a 9-yard touchdown run on the opening drive. Conestoga then marched downfield on a 16-play series that ended at the 2-yard line. The team held the ball for 9:18 of game action.
The Cougars converted the field position into points on the first play of Tekamah-Herman’s next series from the 2-yard line. The Tigers had a high snap and quarterback Clay Beaumont fell on the football in the end zone. Conestoga seniors Justin Pick, Jacob Dragon and Hunter Thonen surrounded Beaumont for a safety.
Wakehouse capped Tekamah-Herman’s next two drives with touchdown runs to create a 20-2 game. Conestoga then entered the break with a large amount of momentum. Tobias Nolting connected with Pick on a 50-yard touchdown pass 25 seconds before halftime. Pick caught the ball near the Conestoga sideline, made one defender miss and sprinted 30 yards to pay dirt.
“The boys were really encouraged at halftime,” Clausen said. “They knew they had done a lot of good things in the first half. We stressed to them that we wanted them to play four full quarters tonight, and I think we did that. We just weren’t able to get as much going on offense after halftime as we were hoping for.”
Tekamah-Herman sealed the game with 18 points in the third quarter. Rogers made it 26-8 on a 17-yard end-around run, and Wakehouse barreled in from the 5-yard line on the team’s second series of the period. Beaumont created a 38-8 margin when he returned an interception 70 yards down the Tekamah-Herman sideline.
Keaghon Chini led Conestoga’s running game with 33 yards on 16 attempts. Dragon carried the football three times for 16 yards and Pick ran once for five yards. Pick caught one pass from Nolting for 50 yards and Jaemes Plowman hauled in one pass for four yards.
Owen Snipes paced Conestoga’s defense with four solo and three assisted tackles. Plowman and Cameron Williams each made three solo tackles and Dillon Leffler produced one solo and five assisted stops. Thonen made one solo and four assisted plays, Wesley Nickels had two solo and two assisted tackles and Dragon recovered one fumble.
Clausen said the Cougars are optimistic about the rest of the season. He said coaches have seen positive development on the field and have been pleased with the team’s work ethic and attitude.
“I think we’re on the cusp of something really good here,” Clausen said. “The boys are working hard and they’re getting better each week. We’ve made a lot of progress since our first game against Louisville. I think the boys are willing to keep putting in the time and effort to get better as the season moves along.”
Tekamah-Herman 7 13 18 7 – 45
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Conestoga 0 8 0 0 – 8
TH – Rogers 9 run (Hoover kick), 9:18
CHS – Tekamah-Herman safety, 11:50
TH – Wakehouse 15 run (Hoover kick), 7:27
TH – Wakehouse 5 run (kick no good), 0:42
CHS – Pick 50 pass from Nolting (kick no good), 0:25
TH – Rogers 17 run (kick no good), 8:03
TH – Wakehouse 5 run (run no good), 4:11
TH – Beaumont 70 interception return (kick no good), 2:23
TH – Wakehouse 48 run (Hoover kick), 11:40