Posted On: 10/11/20 10:42 PM

I was very fortunate to cover and scout Saturday afternoon’s matchup between the Sussex Hamilton Chargers and the Baraboo Thunderbirds, and the game was an absolute barn burner that came down to the final drive of the game and was a great showcase of each roster’s talent. In a low scoring first half and a back-and-forth, down to the wire second 24 minutes, some outstanding offensive, defensive, and special teams efforts were performed by members of each team. The Chargers came away with a hard-fought 20-19 victory, and within that final score a lot of impressive plays were beheld to sway the momentum back-and-forth between each side to make for a nail-biting finish. For a more complete and detailed recap of the ballgame, all you have to do is scroll below! Thanks for reading.

The Baraboo Thunderbirds got things going on their first offensive possession of the game after forcing a Hamilton punt to start the game off, and the dangerous and dynamic rushing duo of 2022 recent Central Michigan offeree Luna LarsonLunaLarson6'2" | LBBaraboo | 2022StateWI and his RB Owen Nachtigal led the way. The two powered the Thunderbird offense down the field where Nachtigal thrust himself into the endzone with 8 minutes left in the first quarter to put Baraboo up 6-0. The Chargers stud 2023 QB Nate Kollath had something to say about Baraboo’s TD however, and after the two teams traded possessions he marched Hamilton down the field with the help of a big 33-yard completion to Derrick LehnerDerrickLehner6'0" | LBHamilton | 2022StateWI. A few plays later and Kollath put an exclamation point on the drive by finding an open Adam Jeter for the first Chargers TD of the game. After a successful point Hamilton led 7-6, and the score remained there as the first 12 minutes of the game expired with Baraboo holding possession of the football.

The Luna LarsonLunaLarson6'2" | LBBaraboo | 2022StateWI led Baraboo offense attempted to get back on the scoreboard to start the 2nd, but 2022 6’5, 220 lb. Hamilton DT Colby Horn beat his man and earned himself a big 3rd down sack to end the drive. After that, neither Hamilton nor Baraboo could put a complete drive together on offense despite some tough-running by Nachtigal of the Thunderbirds and some athletic runs from Kollath of the Chargers. Both defenses continued to play cohesively and determined in the second and did a good job of buckling down after a first down or two to halt the drive they were facing. With both defenses playing hard, the second quarter also ended 7-6 in favor of the Sussex Hamilton Chargers.

The second half began with Baraboo receiving the kickoff, and even though Larson brought his truck-stick out on the Hamilton defense the Chargers again held tough and forced a punt. On one of their first offensive plays of the third quarter following that forced punt the PrepRedzoneWI Preseason All-State ATH Quantell BookerQuantellBooker5'10" | ATHSussex Hamilton | 2021StateWI showed some juice and exploded for a speedy 40-yard TD run to put Hamilton up 13-6 with 7:51 left in the 3rd after the missed PAT. Baraboo took back over on offense and despite Colby Horn defeating a double team on 1st down to get Baraboo behind in the chains, Baraboo replied emphatically with a gorgeous 79-yard Owen Nachtigal screen that he took all the way to the house with Larson delivering a nicely-timed pass while hanging in the pocket with a tough Hamilton pass-rush coming at him. With 6:52 left in the 3rd the game was all tied up at 13, and Hamilton was set to receive the kickoff to try and answer. Their plans were thwarted by Larson and is dangerous blitzing ability though, and each side again traded possessions until the 3rd quarter ended with the score still standing at 13-13. There was a feeling in the air that it was going to come down to the last drive, and that’s exactly what happened.

Baraboo led off the 4th quarter scoring with a great 29-yard completion from Larson to WR Riley Weyh only six seconds into the quarter, but again the PAT was unsuccessful and Baraboo succeeded in going up 19-13. The very next drive Kollath showed that he is one of the best 2023 QB prospects in the state and led Hamilton down the field efficiently and behind the run-game to get themselves down near the redzone of Baraboo. On a long 3rd and 13 from 29-yards out Kollath delivered a beautiful fade route to the endzone where Alex Eichmann snagged the ball at its highest point and gave the Chargers back the lead with 6:54 in the game. After the successful PAT they took the lead 20-19, and we had ourselves a certified barn burner in Baraboo. The teams once again traded offensive possessions, but Baraboo found themselves with the ball for the last drive of the game with 3:14 to go, and despite a first down run by Nachtigal the following – and final series – of the game ended with Hamilton’s Owen Terrizi making a big 3rd down TFL and Baraboo’s Caden Agnew being unable to complete the 4th down pass to keep the comeback alive. Hamilton was able to take a knee to end the ballgame, and walked away with a hard-fought and exciting win here in the unprecedented 2020 season. Stay tuned for my “Players of the Game” feature for PrepRedzoneWI tomorrow!