Cougars rebound with wins over Clay, Andrean

NEW PRAIRIE 49, CLAY 0 At South Bend’s Clay Field, New Prairie bounced back from a tough, one-point season opening loss to LaPorte and rolled to a victory over South Bend Clay in a non-conference game between two Northern Indiana Conference schools. After a scoreless first quarter, New Prairie got on the board with a 5-yard run from Nick Wilson and the extra point made it 7-0. Wilson was injured late in the second quarter and sophomore quarterback Cade Boniface came in to finish the drive. Not missing a beat, the Cougars finished the scoring drive, highlighted by a fourth down Boniface to Connor VanOverberghe pass for nine yards. Boniface then scored four plays later from eight yards out to make it 14-0. Garrett Ruiz came in and took over the quarterback duties and the New Prairie offense took off. Ruiz scored on touchdown runs of 1 and 39 in the third quarter and five-yard run in the fourth quarter. VanOverberghe had a 10-yard run and Boniface closed the scoring with an eight-yard run. The defense was stellar as it limited Clay to one first down, 15 yards of total offense and forced five Colonial turnovers. Seth Ackerson was 7-of-7 on extra-point kicks.

NEW PRAIRIE 38, ANDREAN 28 In the previous seven meetings, New Prairie had never defeated Andrean. Six of those losses ended the Cougars season. Friday night, New Prairie made history with a total team effort in its first-ever win over the 59ers. It took a complete team effort for the Cougars to pull off the win. Andrean ran 72 plays to 43 for New Prairie, but the Cougars outgained the 59ers 405-324. The big key to the win was New Prairie’s passing. Quarterback Nick Wilson was 4-of-10 with two interceptions, but the junior threw for a season-high 104 yards and two touchdowns. It was a back-and-forth first half. Andrean’s Patrick Reardon scored on a 10-yard run to open the scoring, but Wilson’s 26-yard run on New Prairie’s first possession tied the score. Emilo Starks scored from two yards out to make it 14-7 Andrean. The ensuing kickoff went four yards and New Prairie had the ball in great field position. Wilson took advantage and went 41 yards for a touchdown two plays later to tie the game. New Prairie’s defense held to get the ball back and Ruiz took it to the house for a 65-yard touchdown run. The Cougars capped the first half scoring on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to VanOverberghe. Reardon hit Starks with a 6-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to cut the Cougar lead to 28-21. Then Ruiz returned the ensuing kickoff 79 yards to set up Seth Ackerson’s 25-yard field goal to push the lead to 10. Reardon scored from 38 yards out late in the third to make it 31-28. Then Wilson stepped up again. Rolling to his right, he threw a long pass off his back foot to Ruiz. Ruiz caught it ahead of an Andrean defender and raced to the end zone for a 67-yard touchdown to make it 38-28. Zack Ketterer sealed the win with a fourth quarter interception in the final minute.

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