Rams’ three touchdowns and 176 yards rushing help OHS overcome Memorial’s 452 yards of total offense
When your football team rolls up 452 yards in total offense, runs 78 plays, and shuts down one the state’s most prolific passing attacks, you could reasonably assume you’ve just won a football game.
Wrong. Friday, at OHS, Madison Memorial dominated OHS on the stat sheet in almost every category, but still lost, 33-23, in a game where it led briefly early, but let Oconomowoc rally for the win.
With the victory, OHS remains perfect on the season at 11-0. It also advances to the WIAA Level 3 playoffs next Friday night against Arrowhead.
OHS won Friday night because its bend-but-not break defense allowed only 23 points, with 14 of them coming in the second half after OHS took a 20-9 lead at the end of the second quarter.
Memorial, a member of the Big Eight conference, scored first, on a field goal, to take an early 3-0. OHS responded with a touchdown by Jake Rams, to lead 7-3, but Memorial took the lead again, 9-7, before OHS, behind Rams, who had a monster game, regained the lead, 13-9, later in the first quarter on Rams’ second rushing TD.
Cooney upped the lead to 20-9 at the end of the half when junior quarterback Ben Nienhuis hit Brett Samson with a 7-yard touchdown pass.
OHS also won because the Cooney offensive line helped Rams gain 176 yards rushing and three touchdowns, including a clincher 83-yard burst in the fourth quarter made possible, in part by a crushing block on a Memorial defender by Samson.
Oconomowoc needed a big game from the speedy Rams as the team’s passing attack, for the first time all season, never got untracked. Nienhuis threw for two touchdowns against Memorial, but he completed only 9 of 17 passes for a season-low 124 yards.
Memorial did a good job scouting Cooney tendencies and except for two early completions to Zach Clayton, Air Nienhuis never got untracked. Clayton, one of the top receivers in the state, caught only two more balls as he finished with a season-low four catches for 40 yards.
Nienhuis, who statistically had a better game last week in the rain, did manage the TD passe to Samson and another to another senior, Casey Zwart, in the third quarter. They pushed his amazing total for the season to ___ TD passes.
The pass to Samson was low and the senior made a great catch just inside the Memorial goal line. Nienhuis’ pass to Zwart was perfect. The senior split wide left and when he crossed into the middle of the field from the 31 Nienhuis hit hit him in stride on the 8-yard line for the score.
For the game, OHS had a reasonable 366 yards of total offense, with 242 coming on the ground, with Rams chewing up the majority of those yards. Memorial rushed for 168 yards and passed for 284, but it was not able to connect on some of the long bombs it has used in the past to win eight straight games after losing its first two. Memorial finished 7-2 this season in the Big Eight, good for a second-place finish.
As the No. 1 seed in the Sectional, OHS hosts Arrowhead next Friday at 7 p.m. Arrowhead is the No. 2 seed.