PAULLINA - The South O'Brien Wolverines opened the 2010 football season with a 40-6 loss to Sheldon here Friday.
Although the score showed a big deficit at the end, the Wolverines played one of the best first halves they have played in a while.
The first quarter ended scoreless, as both teams had trouble moving the ball and both defenses seemed to come up with big plays when they needed them. The second quarter proved much more eventful, as the Wolverines struck first, scoring on a bootleg pass from Adam Paulsen to Zane Roberts on 4th and 15 from the 15 yard line. The snap on the extra point was fumbled, and the Wolverines were up 6-0.
The lead didn't last long, though, as Sheldon returned the following kick off for a touchdown and added the extra point to make the score 7-6. Sheldon managed to tack on another score with 2:46 to go to make the score 13-7, Sheldon, at the half.
First half statistics showed the Wolverines and Orabs each with five first downs. The Wolverines had run three more offensive plays than Sheldon and were right in the ball game as Sheldon also had given up a fumble.
"It just seemed like that kick return we gave up seemed to turn the tide of the game," said Wolverine coach Mark Fuhrman. "We had the game going our way and then we dropped our chins and never seemed to recover."
The second half was all Orabs as their size and speed seemed to start taking over.
For the Wolverines, Tanner Mathews led the team defense with four solo tackles and 14 assists, and Dillon Zimmer and Jeff Tentinger each recovered a fumble. Evan Magnussen, Ben Wagner and Tanner Mathews each had a quarterback sack, and Austin Richter had two.
Offensively, Jon Gray led the team in rushing with 18 carries for 54 yards, while Adam Paulsen completed five of 14 pass attempts for 50 yards and one touchdown. He was intercepted twice.
The Wolverines travel to Holstein Friday to take on Ridge View in non-District action.