Posted at: 08/26/2013 8:04 PM
Updated at: 08/29/2013 3:08 PM
By: Laura Kennedy
On a warm August night in Northwest Wisconsin, fans filled the stands and the marching band took the field, eager to open the 2013 football season. Ashland and Northwestern went head-to-head, and the excitement was palpable.
After getting down 20-0 at halftime, Ashland didn't give up. In fact, they came out firing in the second half, scoring 14 unanswered points. This one came down to the last play--Northwestern got the win but Ashland showed a lot of heart.
"I think we just did terrible in the first half. came out kind of sloppy," said Thomas McCutcheon, an offensive and defensive lineman. "Second half we came out and gave it our all."
Head coach Josh Miller says when adversity knocked at the Oredockers' door, they answered with determination.
"We responded right before the second half. The kids came out and battled and just played their hearts out," Miller said. "We had a lot of kids get injured and the kids that came in and replaced them just picked up where they left off and battled. I was very happy with how we ended it."
And Ashland's second half response says more about this team than the final score does.
"We have to play a little bit better right away, but it also says that we don't quit," Miller said. "We don't quit in Ashland. It's not just the football program, this city doesn't quit. That's engrained into the kids in all of our sports. So we don't quit, we battle and we take pride in what we do here."
Northwestern has long been a tough opponent for Ashland, but Miller saw some good things in this game, and is optimistic for what the future could bring for the Oredockers.
"I'm feeling really good," Miller said. "To play them this close, obviously we wanted to win really bad, but to come just short of taking the game, I'm happy with the way it ended and I'm excited for next week."