A bad 19-yard punt by Berlin on their next possession seemed to give the Chargers some life as they took over on Berlin’s 33-yard line. Unfortunately, the Chargers’ drive was cut short as Berlin sophomore Wyatt Hamersma intercepted KML junior quarterback Jake Freeman’s pass and returned it 50 yards.
The Indians would capitalize on the turnover with 1:08 left to play in the first half, Martin scored a 20-yard rushing touchdown. Another missed extra point would give Berlin a 19-0 lead at halftime.
The Chargers showed great resilience to start in the second half, as they lost Freeman due to injury just before halftime, leading to sophomore backup quarterback Landon Hagenow to take the offensive reins.
Midway through the third quarter, the efforts of the offense were finally rewarded with a touchdown as Hagenow threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to senior Mason Knueppel. On KML’s next drive, Hagenow plowed his way into the end zone with a 1-yard run.
Both teams’ defenses stepped up in the final quarter, most notably Berlin stopping KML on downs as the Chargers approach the red zone on one drive, only for KML to force the Indians off the field with a “four and out” (four plays consecutively without a first down).
With one final drive to take the lead and the game from Berlin, Hagenow threw a pass that was brilliantly defended and ultimately intercepted by Hamersma, with just 1:27 left in the game. KML had only one timeout. Despite the valiant effort in the second half by KML, Berlin won 19-14.
KML Head Coach David Kren spoke highly of Hagenow’s performance as replacement quarterback and gave credit to a couple other players, namely the team’s seniors for “providing a spark after I challenged them at halftime to believe what do well as a team.”
Coach Kren was proud of his defense for keeping the Chargers in the game, noting that they have always been a strong defensive team, but tonight the first half is what hurt them most “not being able to tackle and giving them (Berlin) too many second and third chances.”
KML (2-5, 1-4) will travel to play Port Washington (5-2, 4-1) on Friday, October 8, 2021 with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Berlin (6-1, 4-1) will host Sheboygan Falls (3-4, 2-3) on Friday, October 8, 2021 with a 7 p.m. kickoff.