Pulaski commits three costly turnovers in loss
By Murray Gleffe
PULASKI – The Pulaski football team was coming off a dominating, three-touchdown victory April 9 vs. Appleton East.
A week later, three costly turnovers and timely penalties did the Red Raiders in, as Appleton North defeated Pulaski 35-13 in a Fox Valley Classic Conference game Friday, April 16, at Saputo Stadium in Pulaski.
Leading rusher Ben Redlin was held to less than 100 yards, as Pulaski chalked up only 169 yards on the ground.
Lightning quarterback Matthew Schecklman threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns while running back Cal Martine rushed 25 times for 168 yards and two scores.
“The North quarterback made plays tonight,” said Jerad Marsh, Pulaski head coach. “He can spin it, and their offensive linemen did a great job of protecting him. We weren’t able to land a helmet on him often. We stressed our cornerbacks too much.”
The Red Raiders couldn’t muster anything on their first drive, but Logan Kobus pinned North back to its own one-yard line after a long punt.
Despite the field position, the Lightning needed only six plays to drive 99 yards, which was capped off by Martine’s 54-yard scamper into the end zone with 5:51 remaining in the first quarter.
After the Red Raiders stopped a North drive on downs and celebrated after a missed field-goal attempt, the home team had the momentum on its side.
“Our defense has been the backbone of our team all season,” said Marsh. “Our assistants do a phenomenal job preparing our guys every week. We’ve been able to hang with teams because of our athleticism on that side of the ball.”
On Pulaski’s next possession, Nash Lemerond fumbled a snap near midfield, and Wilson Zuck scooped the ball and scored to give North a 14-0 lead after the extra point.
“We had a bad snap,” Marsh said. “That’s all it was. It rolled back, and we weren’t able to handle it.”
Moments before halftime, Lemerond threw an interception into the back of the end zone to end another drive.
The Lightning turned to the passing game to start the third quarter.
It paid off with scoring drives of 63 and 66 yards for a 28-0 lead heading into the final 12 minutes.
Redlin busted a long run to begin the fourth quarter.
Running back Maverick Cole capped the drive off with a 3-yard touchdown dive up the middle.
“Maverick is a talented kid,” Marsh said. “He’s a big, thick young man and somebody we try to get reps every game.”
On the ensuing kickoff, the Red Raiders recovered a fumble and set up shop at the 5-yard line.
Three plays later, Lemerond faked a handoff and called his own number to cut North’s lead to 28-13 with 9:30 remaining after the missed point-after attempt.
“We’ve been pleased with our resiliency when we’re down big in games,” said Marsh. “It’s an ultimate compliment when you hear opposing coaches say, ‘Your kids fought to the end.’”
Any visions of a Pulaski comeback were put to rest after the Lightning went on an 11 play, 90-yard drive, which ended with a pitch-and-catch from Schecklman to Alex Heran.
Pulaski returns to action April 23 when it hosts Green Bay West.
Appleton North: 7, 7, 14, 7—35
Pulaski: 0, 0, 0, 13—13