(New Carlisle, IN) - After a rough loss last week to Class 6A juggernaut Penn for their first loss of the season, New Prairie would have hoped for an easier bounce-back opponent than tenth-ranked Elkhart. But the Cougars bounced back in a big way, dominating the Lions 35-7 Friday night at Amzie Miller Field.
“It’s really hard when you’re playing schools that are that large back to back weeks. All you can do is play the team that’s in front of you,” said New Prairie coach Casey McKim. “I felt like we brought a lot of focus and intensity to our practices, and it showed up this week with much better results.”
Junior quarterback Marshall Kmiecik lit the team’s offensive fuse with a 30-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. By the time Jacob Mrozinski rumbled over the goal line for a one-yard score 25 seconds into the second quarter, the fat lady wasn’t singing, but New Prairie fans could hear her warming up. Mrozinski, a 250-pound offensive lineman and sometimes short-yardage specialist, repeated the effort from six yards out just before halftime, extending New Prairie’s lead to 21-7.
The Cougar defense held Elkhart’s potent offense at bay for most of the night. Hayden Scott intercepted a pass on a promising Elkhart drive in the 3rd quarter. The sophomore safety also contributed nine tackles on the night. “The biggest thing was really being physical at the point of attack, making them earn everything,” said McKim. “Our kids didn’t give up any loose yardage.”
Kmiecik punctuated the effort with a five-yard touchdown run in the 4th quarter. He finished the game with 161 rushing yards on 19 carries.
Running back Noah Mungia celebrated Senior Night with a touchdown and 279 rushing yards on 23 carries.
New Prairie opens sectional play at home next Friday against Kankakee Valley.