Hartford’s balanced offensive attack just squeezed one out Friday night in overtime over Nicolet. The Orioles ran for over 300 yards and four touchdowns in the 33-27 win.

“For the most part, I was happy of how our kids played the four quarters of football,” Hartford head coach John Redders said. “They didn’t put up or quit when it looked like we were going to be down for a while.”

With 6:01 remaining in the first quarter, Nicolet’s Cole Trimborn took a forced fumble near the goal line for a 98-yard return to grab the 7-0 lead. In second quarter, Hartford responded as quarterback Austin Kutz connected with AJ Pepin on a 18-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 7-6.

Both teams traded scores in the third and fourth quarters as Nicolet had rushing touchdowns of one and four yards, while Hartford’s Quinten Hornada had rushing touchdowns of nine and 24 yards as both teams went into overtime tied at 20.

The overtime didn’t get off to a great start on defense for Hartford as Nicolet took a 25-yard run in for a touchdown to take the advantage in the first possession of overtime. Hartford responded with an one yard touchdown run Noah Deibert before getting a 25-yard touchdown run from Hornada to get the win.

Hartford had a balanced offensive attack as Austin Kutz led the passing attack with 106 yards on 7-for-10 passing. Hartford had 314 yards rushing with 126 from Pepin and 111 from Hornada in the win.

“In tight games, you have to pull out the things that are going to make a difference for you when you can,” Redders said. “We practice that stuff each week to feel comfortable to throw the ball or run.”

Ben Ott led the Nicolet passing attack with 54 yards passing and also had 58 yards on the ground. Braeden Ott led the Nicolet rushing attack with 20 carries for 141 yards.

Hartford improves to 5-1 on the season, while Nicolet falls to 4-2. Hartford takes on Homestead at home, while Nicolet takes on Slinger on the road in week seven action.

“I think the fact that we are going week-to-week beating up each other really gets you ready for the long hull,” Redders said of how the Northshore Conference prepares his team for the playoffs. “It is better to go into that atmosphere with being battle tested, so I got to be thankful for having that quality of competition and that is really important.”

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