Fall Creek – Joe Kinderman’s touchdown late in the fourth quarter stifled a late comeback by the Neillsville Warriors as the Fall Creek Crickets opened the season with a 26-12 win Thursday night.
Neillsville kept the Crickets in check for most of the first quarter, but allowed a long touchdown run by Kinderman and then were caught off guard by an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. Fall Creek cashed in on the turnover when Cricket’s Brady Nicks hauled in a touchdown catch from quarterback Hayden Goodman to increase their lead to 13-0.
Late in the second quarter, Neillsville’s Luke Mayer scored on a three-yard run to draw the Warriors within seven points of the Crickets.
A scoreless third quarter gave way to a touchdown filled fourth quarter.
Fall Creek’s Jack Monnier scored a rushing touchdown, but Neillsville countered with a touchdown pass from Braden Trunkel to Mayer to draw within one possession of the Crickets and make the score 19-12 with less than five minutes in regulation.
Neillsville’s defense faltered in the closing minutes as the Warriors allowed a late rushing score from Kinderman to seal the win for the Crickets.
“Defensively, I thought that the kids played pretty tough, they were coming across the ball hard, they were sticking some kids pretty good,” Neillsville head coach Scott Bryant said.
“The biggest problem there is we gave up three big plays that led to touchdowns and that, ultimately, was the difference in the game.”
The Warriors will look to rebound from the loss as they host the Colby Hornets on Friday, Aug. 24. Game time is set for 7 p.m.