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Mooseheart Suffers First Loss of the Season in 18-13 Defeat at Luther North

By DARRYL MELLEMA, Associate Editor, Moose Magazine
Click Photo to Enlarge


Mooseheart receiver Hameed Odunewu races toward the sideline and upfield on his 39-yard touchdown reception in Saturday's 18-13 Red Ramblers defeat at Luther North.



Mooseheart running back Freddie Okito gains yardage in the first half of Mooseheart's 18-13 defeat at Luther North. Okito gained 67 yards on six carries.



Mooseheart defender Gabe Camacho tackles Luther North’s Anthony Vega. Vega returned an interception for one of his team's three touchdowns in an 18-13 victory.


MOOSEHEART, IL, Sept. 21Luther North only threw five passes in Saturday's game with Mooseheart - and the Wildcats only completed one of those attempts on a day when their double-wing formation provided most of the offense they needed.

But 22 seconds into the fourth quarter and trailing the visiting Ramblers 13-12, Luther North quarterback Joseph Hoffmann stepped back and found receiver Sylvester Pydych open near the right sideline. Pydych made the catch and raced for what turned into an 85-yard touchdown reception.

That catch-and-run provided the margin of victory. Luther North claimed the Northeastern Athletic Conference victory, 18-13.

For Mooseheart (311, 311), the defeat came after three lopsided wins in the opening third of the season.

"We just had way too many mistakes," Mooseheart assistant coach Charlie Palochko said. "We have to give some credit to Luther North. They came out, hit us hard and, again, we made way too many mistakes."

Palochko handled the Ramblers coaching duties on Saturday as head coach Gary Urwiler attended a Saturday funeral.

Saturday's win marked the first time Luther North has defeated Mooseheart since the teams started playing annually in 2009, when the NAC was created. Mooseheart also defeated the Wildcats in 2005 and Luther North's last win in the series came in 2004.

"I think they circle us on their schedule," Palochko said. "As you could hear from them afterward, they were happy winning that game. They want to make the playoffs, and that's the goal for every team."

Mooseheart turned over the ball five times. Twice they lost fumbles, including an onside kickoff they failed to cover. And there were three interceptions - one of which the Wildcats (2-2, 2-2) returned for a touchdown.

"Our week of practice wasn't that good and we weren't ready to play, in my opinion, and it showed out here on the field," Palochko said.

That interception by Anthony Vega gave Luther North the lead for the first time in a wild first quarter. Mooseheart opened the scoring on its first drive of the game. Moving 66 yards on six plays, the Ramblers scored when Joe Feemorlu ran in from 11 yards.

Feemorlu led all rushers with 90 yards on 14 carries. The team's impact rusher on Saturday was Freddie Okito, who gained 67 yards on just six carries.

"(Okito) came to play," Palochko said. "He has a lot of speed to the outside and he had some very nice runs."

After Feemorlu's touchdown run, Luther North rallied, first on a Dane Carter 28-yard run and then on Vega's interception return.

But the Ramblers regained the halftime lead when Hameed Odunewu caught a pass on the left sideline and ran 39 yards with 3:09 left in the second quarter.

With neither team able to score in the third quarter, the scene was set for Pydych's heroics.

Mooseheart returns to action Sept. 28 when it travels to Christian Liberty for a 1 p.m. contest.

"We have to challenge the boys," Palochko said. "The coaches can't do it for them. They have to play. They can go one of two ways. They can either learn from this and pick it up and get ready for the next game, or they can go downward. I don't think we’re going to do that. I think we're going to respond well for the next game."

Mooseheart         7       6     0      0     -   13
Westminster      12      0     0      6     -   18

Scoring plays
MH—Feemorlu 11 run (Feemorlu kick)
LN—Carter 28 run (run failed)
LN—Vega 35 interception return (run failed)
MH—Odunewu 29 pass from Nicholas (kick failed)
LN—Pydych 85 pass from Hoffmann (run failed)

Team Stats
First Downs            11
Rushes-yards      33-167
Passes                 4-9-3
Passing yards        70
Total yards            237
Fumbles-lost          3-2
Punts-avg.           2-45.5
Penalties               10-55

Individual Rushing Stats
Nicholas            7-(-5)
Okito                 6-67
Feemorlu         14-90
Estes                3-11
Robinson         2-(-1)
Odunsi              1-5

Individual Passing Stats
Nicholas       3-6-1 61
Yusuf           1-3-2 9

Individual Receiving Stats
Okito              1-9
Odunsi          2-22
Odunewu      1-39


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