What started as a football game for Woodstock North seemed to end in a boxing match Sept. 30 as heavyweight contender Johnsburg clobbered the visiting Thunder 56-0.

WNHS senior quarterback Matt Zinnen had some teeth knocked loose and junior running back Collin Mergl left the game with a sprained knee as Woodstock North took a beating from the undefeated Skyhawks, who used their superior size and strength to their advantage.

Despite the lopsided final score, the Thunder managed to keep it close in the first half, going into the locker room at halftime down 14-0.

“We played them tough the first half,” WNHS coach Jeff Schroeder said. “Once we gave up the opening kick return in the second half, that deflated our sails and things snowballed from there. … They are as good as we heard they were.”

The Thunder already had a number of injured players going into the game, including senior running back Casey Dycus, who broke his wrist in a game against Richmond-Burton but who returned to play. Linebackers Trevor Stinger (junior) and Zach Schau (senior) are still on the injured list from the Richmond-Burton game but hope to return this week.

Schroeder said he knew Richmond and Johnsburg would be the toughest opponents on the schedule.

“Injuries are part of football, and guys know they have to step up and pick up the slack,” Schroeder said. “We need to tackle better and really execute fundamentals better. Be more precise in our execution.”

With four weeks to go until the playoffs and a record of 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the Kishwaukee River Conference, WNHS needs one or two more wins to secure a postseason spot.

“We will continue to take one game at a time and compete at the highest of our ability, and the wins will take care of themselves,” Schroeder said.

The Thunder go head to head with the Burlington Central Rockets at home at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7.

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