GOOSE LAKE — There is never a good time to have a turnover.
But the Northeast football team seemed to find the worse time to have theirs during Friday’s season opener with Camanche.
The Rebels’ first two drives ended in fumbles and had turnovers torpedo two other possessions before they could truly get started.
Worst of all, the visiting Indians took advantage, turning five Northeast turnovers into 20 points in a 41-7 victory.
The Rebels started strong, forcing a Camanche punt after just four plays and picking up an early first down after back-to-back runs by Dakota Stevenson and Jacob Mickelson.
A second-down flip to the outside, however, did not find its intended target and was instead fallen on by the Indians.
The fumble gave Camanche great field position at the Northeast 28.
The Rebels defense, though, held firm, stopping the Indians three times inside of 10 yards to force a short field goal that made it 3-0.
Northeast rode the momentum of their strong defensive stop with a lengthy drive on offense.
Starting on their own 44 after a strong kick return by Stevenson, the Rebels converted an early third down on a 13-yard pass from quarterback Riley Wolfe to Liam Maze.
Mickelson picked up another first down on a third-and-short, while a second Wolfe-to-Maze pass — this one covering 10 yards — moved the Rebels to the Camanche 23 as the first quarter came to a close.
The change in direction, however, also seemed to change Northeast’s fortune as an incompletion was followed by a fumble, giving Camanche the ball back.
It took just a single play for the Indians to take advantage, as a long run moved the ball to the Northeast 14.
The Rebels defense stiffened again, but a second field goal made it 6-0.
Another big kick return and a 15-yard run for Stevenson moved Northeast onto the Indians’ side of the field again, but the Rebels were forced to punt the ball away.
Camanche, in turn, responded with another big play, this one a 69-yard touchdown reception, which — coupled with a two-point conversion — pushed the score to 14-0.
The two teams traded punts for the rest of the first half and the two teams headed to the break with the Indians still holding the 14-point lead.
The margin, though, grew quickly in the third quarter. Northeast’s first drive ended without a first down and Camanche returned the resulting punt to the Rebels’ 37.
The Rebels defense forced a fourth down, but the Indians not only converted, they found the end zone on a 32-yard pass.
The momentum stayed with the visitors, too, as a Northeast pass was intercepted on the second play of the Rebels’ ensuing drive.
One play later, Camanche struck through the air again, this time for a 28-yard touchdown to make it 28-0.
Northeast’s next two drives ended in punts, but the Rebels defense was quick to get the ball back.
Junior Ethan Snyder picked off a third-down pass to end one Indians drive, while fellow junior Ethan Messerich both forced and recovered a Camanche fumble.
The joy was short-lived, however, as Camanche forced and recovered a Northeast fumble on the very next play.
Given a second chance, the Indians took advantage, using a pair of completions to collect their third touchdown of the half.
The Rebels answered right back. Mickelson set the tone with a 10-yard run on the first play of the drive and Northeast converted a big fourth down when Wolfe scrambled for 16 yards.
The quarterback got even closer on the next play, bringing the ball inside the Camanche five-yard line before being knocked out of bounds.
Mickelson took care of the rest, scoring from three yards out for a touchdown. Rodrigo Chotgues added the extra point and the Rebels ate into the Indians lead.
Camanche, though, responded to Northeast’s score with a touchdown of its own and then recovered a final Rebels fumble to finish off the victory.
Stevenson carried the ball 19 times for 87 yards, while Mickelson added 53 yards and a touchdown.
Wolfe completed five passes for 49 yards with Maze catching three of them for 36 yards.
Ty Schmidt led the Rebels with nine tackles — six of them solo — while Atzin Dondiego added five and Messerich, Samuel Moraetes and Stevenson had three stops apiece.
The Rebels will be back on their home field Friday for a non-district visit from Wilton.
The Beavers — who graduated 18 seniors from last year’s playoff qualifier — also dropped their week one game to a local rival, falling 24-0 to Durant.
This is just the second meeting between the two teams. Wilton won last year’s contest, 50-8.
Camanche 41, Northeast 7
Camanche 3 11 21 6 41
Northeast 0 0 0 7 7
First Downs 11 9
Rushing Att. 38 26
Rushing Yards 147 175
Completion % 45% 53%
Passing Yards 49 199
Total Offense 196 374
Turnovers 5 2
Penalties 12-99 6-50
Passing – Riley Wolfe, 5-11, 49 yards.
Rushing – Jacob Mickelson, 12-53, one touchdown; Maclane Murrell, 1-2; Dakota Stevenson, 19-87; Wolfe, 7-5.
Receiving – Cade Hughes, 1-8; Liam Maze, 3-36; Mickelson, 1-5.
Tackles – Atzin Dondiego, five (four solo); Hughes, two solo; Maze, two; Ethan Messerich, three (two solo), one fumble recovery; Mickelson, one solo; Samuel Moraetes, three (one solo); Ty Schmidt, nine (six solo); Ethan Snyder, two (one solo), one interception; Stevenson, three solo; Jimmy Weispfenning one solo; Jayden Wilke, two (one solo); Wolfe, one.