By Jonathan Timm
Green Bay- Two cross town rivals were renewed on the gridiron Thursday night, as both the Green Bay Preble Hornets and the Green Bay Southwest Trojans looked for their first win of the 2023 campaign. Green Bay Southwest will have to wait until next week to find their inaugural win, after a second half comeback was too little and too late. Prebble spared themselves a win through some timely defense late in the game, and coming away with a 25-20 victory on the road.
“Our team battled,” Preble Head Coach Dustin Gresen said in a postgame interview. “I’m proud of how our guys played together. We fought until the end and then came away with a W.”
Preble drove the length of the field on the opening drive to punch in a fourth down conversion on the goal line, as Anthony Torres pushed the pile in for a score.
Preble would get the ball back with their 6-0 lead a possession later upon a Southwest punt. This time the Hornets moved the ball through the air, senior quarterback Brady Holcomb to fellow senior Jack Neumann from 28 yards out. Another unsuccessful two point conversion attempt left it 12-0.
Momentum would then turn on a dime and in the direction of Southwest as the next kickoff resulted in an 83-yard return for a Curtis Danforth touchdown. The big play cut Preble’s lead to 5 going into the second quarter.
Junior Danforth would go on to make a statement defensively towards the start of the second quarter, sacking Preble QB Ty Gerard for 12 yards, in efforts to force a Hornet punt on fourth down.
Southwest would take the lead on the next drive, courtesy of a 78-yard pitch and catch from senior Caleb Spruties to junior Dylan Collard, which would put the Trojans at the goal line. After a Southwest negative play, Danforth would take his talents to offense, as he snagged a five-yard pass for six.
The lone Southwest lead of the game would not go on to last very long. A textbook drive from Prebble was set up by a Neumann kickoff return to their own 49 yard line. This time it was Gerard who found Nuemann for a red zone score and nothing more. Preble leading 18-13 would be the score going into the break.
Southwest had a chance to reobtain the lead as they began the second half with possession of the football. Their hopes on that drive would be ended shortly when Preble’s sophomore defensive lineman Andrae Rutledge came up with the ball on a muffed snap.
The good field position set up Preble’s shop at their own 44. Capitalizing off of the turnover was Gerard, which was an off tackle run for a ten yard touchdown. This time was a point after touchdown, as Landin Gauthier’s kick was sent through the uprights, making it a two score game of 25-13 in favor of Preble.
That was all Preble would get as far as offense was concerned. However, after Southwest converted a Collard designed screen reception for a touchdown the following drive, it was all up to the defense with 2:43 to go in the 3rd quarter.
The squads would go back and forth with punts during the fourth. With 4:28 to go, Preble had a chance to put the nail in the Southwest coffin, knocking on the door in opponent territory. Holcomb’s pass would be picked off on fourth down by junior Braxton Murphy, and the stage was set for drama.
However Southwest failed to string together enough offense to convert 4th and 17, and Preble would take over with 2:03 to go. Holcomb dropped to one knee with the pigskin to conclude the ball game.
Preble coaching staff was a proud bunch following the win. “It feels great, they’re a good football team, so our hats off to them”, said Gresen when asked about his team’s performance. “We made a lot of mistakes that wouldn’t have made the game this close if we didn’t make them.”
Preble will look to clean up those mistakes against Ashwaubenon next Friday, and Southwest will host De Pere for Week 5.