Story by: Adam VanSickle, Photo courtesy of Austin Mathre, Play-by-Play Ned Newberg, Student Analyst Joey Hudson
Friday, October 6, 2023 | New Prague High School
Kam Kaiser is a big part of the offense for the Northfield football team and Friday night was certainly no exception. The senior utility man found himself with the ball in his hands on 38-of-69 offensive plays, leading the Raiders to a 22-19 win over the New Prague Trojans.
Kaiser was involved early and often using his legs (and arm) to lead the Raiders on two 1st quarter scoring drives. Northfield won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. After allowing one first down, the defense held and forced New Prague to punt.
The Northfield offense would take the field for the first time at their own 24-yard line with 10:45 left to go in the 1 st quarter. In a bit of a gameplan wrinkle, Kaiser started the game at quarterback. He took the first two shotgun snaps, in what looked to be designed run plays, and ripped off gains of 8 and 12 yards. He would then find Jake Geiger and Nick Eschen each for short completions before Seth Thompson entered the game under center. Thompson wasted no time warming up his arm with a 9-yard strike to Geiger for a key first down deep in Trojan territory. Kaiser would then set up the Raiders first score with a big 18-yard run down to the New Prague 12-yard line. Owen Murphy would give Kam a breather on the next two plays as he moved the Raiders down to the New Prague five-yard line. On third and two from the four-yard line, Kaiser would take another direct snap and push ahead for a first down. On first and goal from the two, Kaiser took the handoff, bounced it to the outside and cruised across the goal line capping an 11-play 76-yard scoring drive for the Raiders.
After the Raiders defense forced the Trojans to go 3-and-out, the Raiders offense would take advantage of a short field. Again, it was Kaiser leading the way as Northfield marched 46 yards on 11 plays, capped off by a 5-yard touchdown run by Kam Kaiser at 8:27 of the second quarter. New Prague and Northfield would exchange punts before the Trojans were finally able to move the ball down the field against the Raiders defense. It was W. Seymour finding receiver J. Hennen for a 36-yard gain deep in Northfield territory. That would set up the Trojans J. Menke as he rumbled in from four yards out for the New Prague touchdown.
Leading 14-7 with 3:04 left in the second quarter, the Raiders were looking to add on before the half. After a no-gain on first down and back-to-back penalties, Northfield was backed up deep in their own territory. On 3 rd and 22, Seth Thompson found Geiger flying across the middle for a 25-yard gain and a big first down. Gavin Novotny would get in on the action with a 9-yard first down catch, and Thompson would find Geiger again for 10 more yards and another first down.
After two incompletions, Seth would get loose for a 10-yard scramble and get out of bounds to set up the Raiders for one last play before the half. Northfield completed the “hook” to Geiger, but the “ladder” came up short as Kaiser was knocked out of bounds at the New Prague 15-yard line.
Northfield received the 2nd half kickoff and would march down to the New Prague 19-yard line before the drive stalled. The Raiders were set up to attempt a 36-yard field goal, but the Trojans broke through, blocked the Stephen Kallestad kick, picked it up and Carson Schmitz returned it 64-yards for a touchdown. The PAT was no good and the Raiders were clinging to a 14-13 lead. Northfield would start their next drive on their own 35-yard line, but New Prague forced a Kam Kaiser fumble on first down and took over at the Raiders 33-yard line. The Trojans were hoping to ride the momentum and take advantage of a short field, but it was the Northfield defense stepping up once again, forcing another three-and-out capped by a huge third down sack by Westin Wendling.
Still a one-point game, the stage was set for the fourth quarter drama. After a beautifully executed coffin corner punt, Northfield was pinned deep in their own end. Taking over on their own seven-yard line, the Raiders needed a big play to tilt the field in their favor. On his 30th rushing attempt of the game, it was Kam Kaiser bursting through the middle and breaking down the sideline for a 74-yard gain setting up Northfield at the New Prague 19-yard line.
Murphy would take the next three carries for 13 yards giving the Raiders 2nd and goal from the New Prague seven-yard line. Kam Kaiser then finished what he started, beating the Trojans to the pylon for his 3 rd touchdown of the game. With a 20-13 lead, would Northfield kick the PAT or go for two? Coach Brent Yule would call a timeout to talk about it. After the timeout the Raiders offense took the field. Thompson took the snap from under center, turned to hand it to Kaiser, Kam flipped it to Geiger (speeding to his right) and he lofted a perfect pass to Seth Thompson end the end zone to complete the 2-point conversion. Northfield had a 22-13 lead.
Now a two-score game, New Prague would have to score fast and get the ball back to threaten the Raiders. After converting two first downs and completing a 20-yard pass on 4th and 15, the Trojans would grab one more first down before Will Seymour found Brayden Pakiz from 25-yards out for the touchdown. Great catch by Pakiz as he went up to get it over the Northfield defender. New Prague would go for two, but the point after pass attempt would fall incomplete.
Down by three (22-19), on the ensuing kickoff, New Prague was forced to attempt an onside kick. Geiger smothered the kick, and any New Prague hopes for a Trojan victory in the process. The Raiders would take over at the New Prague 49-yard line with 1:22 remaining in the game. Needing just one first down to end it, Northfield would turn to their workhorse. Kaiser wouldrush the ball three more times on the next three plays for 11 yards and a first down. Thompson would kneel on the last play to seal the victory for the Raiders.
Kam Kaiser finished his busy night with 34 rushes for 235 yards and three touchdowns. He completed all three of his passes for 24 yards and added one reception for 14 more yards. In total, Kaiser racked up 38 touches that accounted for 273 yards of total offense. Jake Geiger had a big night as well, hauling in 6 catches for 70 yards, rushing the ball twice for six yards and completed his only pass to Seth Thompson for a big two-point conversion.
With the win, Northfield moves to 3-3 on the season and 2-1 in the Northstar South Maroon section standings. The Raiders will host Rochester Century next Friday, October 13th at Memorial Field in Northfield.