Stoughton senior quarterback Adam Hobson did not want a replay of last year’s 25-point loss to Badger South Conference rival Oregon.
He had the Friday, Sept. 6, rematch against the Panthers circled on his calendar.
Hobson scored four total touchdowns to lead the Vikings to a 42-34 victory at Panther Field. He rushed for 81 yards on 15 carries and three touchdowns and competed 13 of 21 passes for 169 yards and another score.
Oregon (1-2, 0-1 Badger South) rallied from a 22-point deficit in the second half, but the Vikings held on by recovering an onside kick in the final minute.
“Based on how that game finished last year, we had that nasty taste in our mouth,” Hobson said. “Last year, I didn’t play my best game, and that really fueled me. This kind of fixes it. Whenever we play them, no matter who’s having a great season or not having a great season, it will always be tight.”
Stoughton (2-1, 1-0) scored touchdowns on its first five drives. But after Hobson’s 9-yard touchdown run to extend the Vikings’ lead to 42-20 with 2:33 left in the third quarter, Oregon battled back.
Oregon senior Mason Grender returned a kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter, and Teague Szudy scored on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers fell a score short.
“We got up by a couple of scores and Oregon fought back,” Stoughton coach Dan Prahl said. “Our guys didn’t quit and dug a little deeper, and we got stops when we needed to.”
The Vikings opened the game with a 14-play, 67-yard drive, punctuated by senior running back Quinn Arnott’s 1-yard touchdown plunge.
The Panthers answered with a 10-play, 57-yard drive, culminating in Szudy’s 2-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7-7.
The Vikings struck again with a nine-play, 65-yard drive, capped off when Hobson hooked up with senior wide receiver Nathan Hutcherson on a 13-yard pass to give the Vikings a 14-7 lead with eight minutes left in the second quarter. Arnott rumbled for a 52-yard touchdown on the Vikings’ next possession.
The Panthers responded with a seven-play, 86-yard scoring drive. Senior running back Matt Kissling broke a tackle on his way to an 9-yard touchdown with 1:23 left before halftime, but the Oregon defense could not keep the Vikings out of the end zone before halftime.
Stoughton marched 65 yards in 1 minute and 19 second, capped by Hobson’s 1-yard keeper. The Vikings converted two third downs to keep the drive alive. Hobson completed an 11-yard pass to Cael McGee on third-and-10 from the Vikings’ 35-yard line, and Hobson ran 8 yards on third-and-1 from the Panthers’ 44-yard line.
Stoughton cashed in on its first drive of the second half, with Hobson scoring on a 3-yard run to give the Vikings a 35-14 lead.
Oregon answered with an 11-play, 71-yard scoring drive. Sophomore running back Austin Saunders ran in from 4 yards out.
Oregon coach Dan Kissling did not need to be convinced that Hobson, a standout basketball player, could have a future as a quarterback in college.
“I think Adam is the best quarterback we will see this year,” Kissling said. “I don’t know if basketball would be his sport. He threw balls right on the money and controlled that offense.”
Arnott finished with half of the Vikings’ rushing yards (144) on 19 carries. Hutcherson had five receptions for 64 yards.
“We believe our offensive line can be the best in the state,” Hobson said. “We moved the ball and kept it simple. We proved it that we don’t have to get out of ourselves to do something fancy to move the ball.”