High School Football: Litchfield Dragons clicking on all gears
Litchfield looks sharp in all phases of a 49-7 win at Watertown-Mayer
WATERTOWN — Ben Alsleben had to think hard about the most touchdowns he’s thrown in a game.
“I honestly think it was three,” Alsleben said, still racking his brain. “I think it’s three.”
On Thursday afternoon, the Litchfield senior signal-caller doubled that mark as part of an impressive offensive showcase against Watertown-Mayer.
The Dragons cruised to a 49-7 road victory over its East Central South district foe, moving to 2-0.
“Any time you got a quarterback returning, and with the weapons we have right now, it’s a good thing,” said Litchfield head coach Jim Jackman. “As a unit offensively, we got a lot of kids who have put in time. Whether it’s the weight room, whether it’s summer prep on their own or together in groups … it’s a smart group of kids that work hard and they want to be good.”
On the first drive of the game, it took just five plays for Litchfield to move the ball 69 yards for a score. Michels made a 28-yard, over-the-shoulder catch for his first of three touchdown receptions. Fellow wideout Bennett Lecher had a pair of scores in the first 12 minutes, with one on the ground with a 10-yard jet sweep. Late in the first quarter, Lecher reached the end zone again after he took a bubble screen into the end zone from 11 yards out.
“That’s what our guys are taught: Get yards after the catch,” Alsleben said. “And they’re good at it, too.”
While the offense moved the ball effortlessly, the Dragons’ defense held the Royals to zero yards in the first quarter. There were two minutes left in the first half before Watertown-Mayer got its first first down. Wyatt Larson led Litchfield with 10 tackles, followed by nine from Mason Olson. Michels came up with a pair of interceptions to go with six tackles.
“These kids have done a good job of prepping for the week,” Jackman said of the defense. “They’re getting lined up, getting set and then just attacking the ball.”
Michels added, “Knowing that we got a good defense takes the pressure off our offense. We have a good offense, but having a good defense always helps.”
The combined efforts of the Royals’ defense and a stiff wind weren’t enough to slow the Dragons’ passing game as Alsleben was 13 of 18 for 329 yards and no interceptions.
“We saw they had a few younger guys in (the secondary),” Alsleben said. “We knew we could attack that.”
Michels had five catches for 150 yards, followed by five catches, 135 yards and two receiving touchdowns from Lecher. Lecher also had 48 rushing yards on four carries.
“This past summer, we were all putting in work and running routes on the field,” Michels said. “It’s paying off for everyone.”
Drew Kotzer led the Litchfield ground game with 104 yards on eight carries.
The Dragons outgained the Royals 543-162. Over their first two games, they have outscored their opponents 83-21.
“Coming off of last season, we knew we could be special,” Alsleben said. “We didn’t lose too many guys and the juniors have a really good class, too. We just wanted to build off of last year, especially towards the end of the year where we won five of our last seven and our offense was clicking.”
Litchfield is host to Holy Family Catholic at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23.
Litchfield (2-0) 21 14 14 0 — 49
Watertown-Mayer (0-2) 0 7 0 0 — 7
L – Tyson Michels 28 pass from Ben Alsleben (Garrison Jackman kick)
L – Bennett Lecher 10 run (Jackman kick)
L – Lecher 11 pass from Alsleben (Jackman kick)
L – Lecher 79 pass from Alsleben (Jackman kick)
L – Michels 26 pass from Alsleben (Jackman kick)
W-M – Cole Lange 8 pass from Albert Rundell (Ashton Hecksel kick)
L – Michels 49 pass from Alsleben (Jackman kick)
L – Lecher 22 pass from Alsleben (Jackman kick)
First downs: 14 … Penalties: 8-70 … Rushing (Individual and team): Drew Kotzer 8-104, Bennett Lecher 4-48, Tyler Jansky 5-21, Ryan Schutz 2-17, Ben Alsleben 5-16, Hayden Metcalfe 2-2, Victor Franco 1-0, Logan King 2-(-1). 29-207 … Passing (Individual and team): Alsleben 13-18-329-6-0, King 1-1-7-0-0, Kotzer 0-1-0-0-1. 14-20-336-6-1 ... Receiving (Individual and team): Tyson Michels 5-150, Lecher 5-135, King 2-26, Kotzer 1-15, Jeremy Greer 1-7 … Interceptions: Michels 2 … Fumble recoveries: Metcalfe 1 … Tackles: Wyatt Larson 10, Mason Olson 9, King 7, Cole Bartlett 6, Michels 6 … QB sacks: None
First downs: 9 … Penalties: 4-49 … Rushing (Individual and team): Wyatt McCabe 19-61, Albert Rundell 3-13. 29-81 … Passing (Individual and team): Rundell 11-26-81-1-2 ... Receiving (Individual and team): Steven Duske 5-32, John Mueller 2-48, Lange 1-8 … Interceptions: Wyatt McCabe 1 … Fumble recoveries: Dayvin Schroeder, Hunter Stein, Andrew Quast … Tackles (solo-assist): N/A … QB sacks: N/A