Woodstock North Thunder head coach Jeff Schroeder said his team is much better prepared this year than last, even though their current record of 1-2 does not show it.

“At this time last year, we were 3-0 but played lesser competition,” said Schroeder. “Playing a tougher schedule early on, the kids get assimilated to better competition.”

Prepared to battle a little more than last year, ready for adversity and challenges, the Thunder secured its first Kishwaukee River Conference win of the season, a 27-8 victory Sept. 8 on Harvard’s home turf. Senior quarterback Collin Mergl led the offense and had a standout game with 15 rushes for 266 yards.

“We were hungry for a win after our first two games and we went out and got it,” said Mergl. “Outside linebacker, junior Matt Stevens, played good defense, really utilizing techniques and shedding blocks,” said Schroeder. “Senior Joe Grover caught a 49-yard pass and played real sound defense.

“[Our] offensive line, seniors Dylan Martinez, Kenny Villa and Brian Kline, junior Matt Stevens and sophomore Hans Goll, had 360 yards rushing and played well, opening up holes, sustaining blocks and picking up assignments well,” Schroeder added.

The Thunder played a much better first half, completing three touchdowns, unlike the second where two turnovers and penalties killed North’s drives. Schroeder said the team was sloppy on penalties and gave up three turnovers total.

“If we correct these things, we’ll be in good shape moving forward. We played physical and aggressive and came out healthy and are looking forward to being home this week,” Schroeder commented.

On Sept. 1, North traveled to Antioch, where they had a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter but lost 15-14 in the end.

“Antioch is a highly recognized, top 10 5A school. A couple of things did not go our way, even though we played good football,” Schroeder reported.

This Friday, Sept. 15, WNHS will compete at home against Marengo. The varsity game kicks off at 7 p.m.

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