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Prep Football: Opsal runs, throws for three touchdowns apiece as McDonell tops New Auburn
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Prep Football | McDonell 50, New Auburn 8

Prep Football: Opsal runs, throws for three touchdowns apiece as McDonell tops New Auburn

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New Auburn at McDonell football 10-3-20

McDonell's Tanner Opsal runs for yardage against New Auburn on Saturday afternoon at Dorais Field.

Whether it’s through the air or on the ground, the McDonell football team offers tough matchups for opposing teams.

Senior quarterback Tanner Opsal threw for three touchdowns to Dale Tetrault and ran for three more scores as the Macks topped New Auburn 50-8 on Saturday afternoon at Dorais Field in a Central Wisconsin West Conference eight-man matchup.

Opsal ran for 146 yards and three scores on 25 carries while throwing for 174 yards and a trio of touchdowns to Tetrault, who finished with six catches for 164 yards for McDonell (2-0, 2-0).

The senior quarterback had one touchdown running and throwing in both the first and second quarter as the Macks built a 26-8 halftime lead before Opsal and Tetrault connected on a 16-yard score at the 5:58 mark in the third quarter and Opsal capped his day with six-yard scoring run with 9:24 to go in the contest.

“Our offense definitely stepped up this year and decided we want to play,” Opsal said. “We want to go hard no matter what we’re doing, and everyone’s just came together and we’re doing good.”

New Auburn (0-2, 0-2) cut the gap to two scores at 20-8 in the final minute of the first half when a 61-yard drive culminated in a 7-yard touchdown run for Nick Walker, who led the Trojans with 63 yards rushing. But McDonell had an immediate response as Opsal found Tetrault on a 56-yard pass before an 8-yard connection from the duo put the Macks on the New Auburn 1-yard line where Opsal would plow in for the score one play later.

Defensively, the Macks kept the larger Trojans from taking over the game on the ground, limiting New Auburn to 90 rushing yards for the game.

“I’m really proud of the defense,” McDonell coach Jason Cox said. “That team was bigger than us, but our guys came out and matched them with their physical play. There were times they ran it down our throats, but we made stops when we need to. Our defensive coordinator coach (Morgan) King has really worked hard with those guys over the last couple years to improve our defense and in the early going it’s working out for us.”

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New Auburn had other opportunities to score, but drives that moved into McDonell territory were short circuited by mistakes such as penalties and quarterback sacks.

“We shot ourselves in the foot way too much, and we’ve done that this year. Mental mistakes,” New Auburn coach Wayne North said. “Physically we should compete with most every team we play. The mental mistakes are just killing us right now, and some of it deals with I think for our guys, I don’t know why, this whole weird season has thrown them off so much more maybe than other teams. I’m not sure. I didn’t think that was going to be that issue, but we’ll regroup and if we consistently do the same thing ... that’s the big thing. We’re consistent for a while then we aren’t for a while and we’ve had to throw new people in.

“We haven’t been able to find the people to fill the losses we had (from) last year and that makes it tough going forward.”

The Trojans were banged up in a 42-14 loss in the opener to Phillips and were without middle linebacker Zachary Fedie. North was optimistic Fedie would be able return for the team’s next game at home against Bruce on Friday but also said the team still had injuries elsewhere coming out of Saturday’s game.

“Now you’re just putting band-aids over stuff,” North said. “But we have guys that will still play their hearts out it’s homecoming next week. We’re playing against Bruce, and I think it should be a good game.”

Andrew Bauer added a 34-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter for McDonell, who is 2-0 for the first time in eight-man and the first time overall for the program since 2016.

McDonell hosts Phillips at Dorais Field on Saturday, Oct. 10, before playing at unbeaten Gilman on Oct. 16.

“We told the guys we’ve done a lot of good things these first two games, but we need to get better in order to win these next two against a couple really good teams,” Cox said. “We had way too many penalties. We’re still turning it over a little too much. It’s just shooting ourselves in the foot which we’ve been able to come back from, which is great but we need to be a little more fundamentally sound and smarter so we don’t give more chances than they should get.”

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