Sunday, June 24, 2018
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Stepping into the football playoffs in style

Swedes handle Cozad at home.

Coaches like to see their players excited about hitting the football field.

That can backfire, though, if the boys are too hyped up.

Gothenburg coach Craig Haake said emotions were extremely high Friday night when the Swedes hosted Cozad.

That may have something to do, he said, with a lack of offensive consistency and too many turnovers.

“I think we came out a little too jacked up,” he said. “Cozad is a rivalry game and I’m pretty sure we got their best shot.”

Despite a slow start with no scoring in the first quarter, the Swedes prevailed 36-7 to improve to 6-1 on the season.

“We had too many penalties and too many turnovers and we still won by 30 points,” Haake said. “I’d still kind of like to see us string some drives together.”

Even without sustained drives, the Swedes earned plenty of rushing yards.

Gothenburg collected 467 total yards on the ground and three Swedes finished with more than 100 yards rushing.

Landen Haake led the way with 164 yards on 18 carries. Tannor Mroczek added 134 yards and Mark Hilderbrand finished with 129.

The Haymakers earned just 184 yards total offense.

Gothenburg scored the first touchdown 11 seconds into the second quarter when Tannor Mroczek broke free on a 67-yard run.

Mark Hilderbrand’s two-point conversion pass failed leaving the Swedes up 6-0.

Four minutes later, the Swedes scored again on another long run.

This time, Mark Hilderbrand executed a perfect fake handoff to Landen Haake and ran 60 yards virtually untouched up the field for the score. A two-point conversion run by Haake gave Gothenburg a 14-0 advantage.

“Mark did a great job of faking everyone on the field and in the stands,” the coach said. “I leave those kinds of decisions up to him and he does a nice job.”

Cozad’s only touchdown of the game came on the Haymakers’ next drive when Jed Paulsen completed a 60-yard pass to Mason Fischer with 5:20 remaining in the half. Pedro Garcia hit a PAT kick to make the score 14-7.

“Other than that one long pass play, Cozad was never able to get much going offensively,” Haake said. “Defensively, we played fantastic all night.”

The Swedes got on the board one more time before the half taking the kickoff and marching methodically up the field. Hilderbrand punched it in from 1 yard out.

The two-point conversion failed but Gothenburg went to the locker room leading 20-7.

“Our guys up front were really working hard,” Haake said. “We’re getting a little more diversified every game and our linemen are able to break guys free.”

Penalties hampered the Swedes in the third quarter as neither team was able to score.

Fifty seconds into the fourth period, Gothenburg’s line opened a hole for Landen Haake, who marched 25 yards for a touchdown. Hilderbrand added a two-point conversion run.

On their next possession, the Swedes scored again with 8:38 to play in the game when Haake zipped around the end of the line and flew up the field 70 yards.

Joel Teahon carried in the PAT for the final points.

“We’ve got a pretty good mesh out there,” Haake said. “Teams have been trying to shut down Landen and we go at them with someone else.”

Gothenburg finishes out the regular season with a trip to Ainsworth (1-6) on Thursday night.

Should Gothenburg win this week, the Swedes are likely to host the first round playoff game on Oct. 29.

Haake said playoff pairings won’t be released until Saturday at the earliest.

Thursday’s game is set to begin at 7 p.m. in Ainsworth.