(New Carlisle, IN) - It was not an auspicious start to sectional football action for New Prairie Friday night. The heavily-favored Cougars gave up a touchdown on a 91-yard opening kickoff return to visiting Kankakee Valley.
Having left the door wide open for an upset, New Prairie wasted no time slamming it shut, answering with a methodical touchdown drive of their own, followed by 41 more unanswered points.
A dominant ground game sustained the Cougars. Three different players recorded runs of 40 yards or more. Junior quarterback Marshall Kmiecik and senior Noah Mungia each rushed for two touchdowns. The pair also connected for a score on a short pass play. Kmiecik finished with 113 rushing yards and 96 through the air. Mungia registered 188 all-purpose yards. Senior lineman Jacob Mrozinski also rumbled in for a six-yard score.
Head coach Kasey McKim credited a determined offensive line. “Offensively, it’s about the big hogmollies up front,” he said, “just being more physical at the point of attack—and Noah just running physical all night. We got Marshall involved in the second half on some keepers. That really busted some things wide open.”
The defense was led by senior Tayvion Ortman, who tallied ten tackles, two sacks, and a blocked kick. Fellow senior Kole Staley intercepted a pass and returned it 59 yards.
New Prairie’s reserves put the final nail in KV’s coffin. With under five minutes left in the game, freshman quarterback Reed Robinson, flanked mostly by junior varsity teammates, scored on a 60-yard run.
New Prairie sent Kankakee Valley home with a 47-6 thumping. The Cougars, now with a record of 9-1, will next travel to Lowell (7-3) for a rematch of an early-season game, which New Prairie won 24-7.