EagleHerald/Josh Lacy
Jerod Jandt celebrates the first touchdown of the season with his Peshtigo teammates.
EagleHerald/Josh Lacy

Jerod Jandt celebrates the first touchdown of the season with his Peshtigo teammates.

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MARINETTE — Everyone who was there for Peshtigo’s (1-0) season-opening 34-24 win over Two Rivers (0-1) will remember the night the lights went out in Peshtigo. Everything was going according to plan Friday night .. .until it wasn’t. Fans at Bulldog Stadium were being treated to a highly entertaining game with 36.1 seconds remaining in the first half and the home team on top 26-17, when the stadium lights went out.

Something was amiss in the second quarter when only half of the stadium lights came on. Minutes later, the south side lights turned off and the north side turned on. With 36.1 seconds to play and the Bulldogs sitting on the one yard line about to punch in their fifth touchdown of the half, the stadium went dark. Ten minutes later the public address announcer informed fans that the game would resume at Marinette High School (The Marines opened their season on the road at Wrightstown), “No, I’m not kidding!”

“I’ve been coaching for 45 seasons, and I’ve never seen anything like that,” Bulldog Head Coach Jeff Bayerl said. “I appreciate Marinette. We scrimmaged them this year, and I have great respect for Andy [Walters] and his staff. This was a nice thing that they did for us.”

There was a delay of just over an hour as the teams and fans made the short trip to Marinette’s Higley Stadium. Fully dressed Peshtigo players had to ride with parents as there was no bus available for the Bulldogs. The teams arrived in Marinette to find a partially lined field. Officials deemed hash marks not entirely necessary and the show went on. The situation presented quite a distraction for a team that was clicking in the first half. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, when play resumed at 9:11 p.m. Jerod Jandt recorded his fourth rushing touchdown of the day. Jandt then hit Mitchell VanVooren for a two-point conversion to put the game all but out of reach at 34-17.

Jandt opened his season in a big way. He figured in all five Peshtigo touchdowns with four rushing TD’s and one passing. “He’s a special kid. He’s a special running back,” Bayerl said of Jandt. “He just needs a crease, and he goes. He really appreciates his blockers. I saw him thank his linemen after the game, and he did a great job tonight.”

Jandt finished with 224 yards four TD’s on 32 carries. He also passed for 97 yards including a 31-yard scoring strike to VanVooren and a 54-yard bomb to Nick Nielson that setup an 8-yard scoring run of his own. “People don’t think he can throw,” Bayerl said, “but he can do it when he needs to. We worked on that with him this summer. I told him I needed him to be the man, and he was the man tonight.”

Jandt wasted little time getting started. Just 1:37 into the game he delivered a 50-yard touchdown run, scampering up the ride side before cutting back to the middle at the 20 yard line.

The Purple Raiders got on the board with a 30-yard field goal from Owen Williams. Two Rivers then took advantage of Jandt’s one mistake of the game, a fumble at midfield. That led to a 25-yard touchdown pass from Jayden Kiphart to Carson Koch to put Two Rivers up 10-7.

Jandt was unfazed. The senior back started the second quarter with a 35-yard TD run to put his team back on top. Two Rivers kept pace when Kiphart hit Logan Kust for a score from 10-yards giving the Raiders a 17-10 advantage.

In the final 3:41 on the first half, the Bulldogs simply pummeled the Raiders, ripping off 20 unanswered points. Jandt posted an 8-yard scoring run. Alex Dolata picked off Kiphart and delivered a 25-yard return to setup Jandt’s 31-yard touchdown pass to VanVooren.  Peshtigo forced a three-and-out, and Nielson found VanVooren for 39 yards to get the ball down to the one just before the lights went out.

After a scoreless third quarter, Two Rivers made things interesting when Kiphart and Koch connected again for a 35-yard TD to cut the margin to 34-24 with 4:12 to play. The Bulldog defense stiffened in the closing minutes. Peshtigo narrowly recovered an onside kick attempt and then stopped the Raiders on downs on their final drive of the game.

The victory avenged a 25-14 loss at Two Rivers in last season’s opening contest. Peshtigo will return to action Aug. 24 when it travels  to Bonduel.