Week of Aug. 29
Calhoun 22 @ Routt 21 – In a similar fashion to last year’s Week 1 contest, the final score in this fall’s opener between Routt and Calhoun would be decided during the last two possessions of the game. Keegan Hoots was the first to light up the scoreboard on a 38-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, giving the Rockets an early lead. Routt held a 13-6 lead at half, which dissapated quickly when Booth got loose for a 62-yard scamper on the first play of the second half. With 3:50 left in the 4th quarter, Andrew Basnett reclaimed the lead for Routt on a 9-yard run. Trailing 21-14 with less than a minute to play, Warriors’ quarterback Blake Booth found Brandon Baalman for a 19-yard touchdown, cutting Routt’s lead to 1. Seconds later, the Warriors would punch in the 2-point conversion to go up 1 with 35 ticks left. The late-game drama wasn’t over yet though. In less than half a minute, the Rockets drove all the way down to Calhoun’s 28 yard line, but ultimately fell short when their 35-yard field goal attempt missed the uprights.
GAME NOTES: Lightning Delay in 2Q
Mendon Unity 6 @ West Central 34 – In their first game under head coach Alex Ebbing, the West Central Cougars followed their game plan to a tee and showed why they hired the right man for the job. The Cougars new Wing-T offense racked up 339 rushing yards on 48 carries. Junior quarterback Kolbie Hoover accounted for 3 touchdowns on just 8 carries, and finished the game with 69 rushing yards and zero pass attempts. West Central’s leading rusher on the night was Tyler Strohecker, who averaged 6.9 yards per carry and finished with 103 yards. Lance Barnett and Justin Shireman combined for 159 yards on the ground, including Shireman’s 55-yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter. Vital to the win was the Cougars offensive and defensive line, who led the way for a 300-plus yard rushing night, and held Unity’s offense to just one score.
New Berlin 31 @ North Mac 24 – As one of my pre-season “Can’t Miss” games of 2014, the week 1 battle between Sangamo rivals New Berlin and North Mac certainly did not disappoint. Senior Jake Hunt accounted for all five of New Berlin’s touchdowns (3 passing, 2 rushing). Hunt started off his big night with an impressive 22-yard touchdown run just two minutes into the contest. With less than a minute left in the first and second quarter, Hunt found his favorite go-to target Chase Creviston for touchdown catches of 21 and 36 yards respectively. The score at halftime stood at 25-12 in favor of the Pretzels, but after a strong 3rd quarter from North Mac, the Pretzels entered the final 12 minutes leading by just 1. But the fourth quarter saw New Berlin tighten things up on defense, while offensively they found their savior in senior wideout Connor Burger, who took a short crossing route 43 yards to the house, ultimately sealing the victory for the Pretzels.
North Greene 6 @ Central (Camp Point) 32 – It was the tale of two halves for North Greene in their season opener against the defending WIVC North Champs from Central High School in Camp Point. With the halftime score knotted at 6 a piece, the Spartans had reason to feel confident about the evening’s outcome. But Brad Dixon and the Panthers had other ideas. Spurred on by strong defensive play throughout all four quarters, Central’s run-heavy offense was finally able to capitalize on several key turnovers by North Greene in the second half. Over the final two quarters, the Panthers outscored the Spartans 26-0 behind solid performances from a trio of running backs. Brody Bivens led the way for the Panthers with 119 yards on 18 carries and 2 touchdowns. Not far behind him were Alger Saldana and Andrew Shake, who combined for 121 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. The good news for North Greene is that they got Central out of the way and the remaining 8 regular season games are very winnable.
GAME NOTES: Both teams were fairly even statistically in terms of first downs, penalties, and time of possession. Central gained 260 yards on the ground and had four fumbles.
Lanphier 44 @ Jacksonville 38 – Even before thunderstorms caused an hour-long delay in Jacksonville’s home opener against Lanphier High, you could sense an ominous feeling when Lion running back Detric Mitchell scooped up an errant pitch from quarterback Jared Griffin and took it 46 yards down the sideline for the game’s first score. Coming out of the delay, it looked as if the Crimsons would take hold of the game and not turn back, as they scored 14 unanswered points to end the 1st quarter. But as it would turn out, Griffin and the Lions were resilient…and also very fast. Starting in the 2nd quarter, the contest turned into an offensive shootout, with Lanphier tallying 400-plus yards on the ground and Jacksonville airing it out for over 300. Griffin, the Lions senior Q who missed all of last year due to injury, made up for lost time by dicing up the Crimsons for 265 yards on 20 carries and 2 touchdowns.
Yet despite Lanphier’s eye-opening offensive numbers, the game essentially came down to the two things that induce nightmares for any football coach: penalties and turnovers. The Crimson offense had three costly turnovers at key times, fumbling on the first play after a goal line interception by its defense, another fumble that turned into a scoop-and-score touchdown for Lanphier, and an interception on an important 4th quarter drive. As for the penalties, Jacksonville’s defense allowed Lanphier to sustain drives on three separate unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. The infractions hurt the most because all three came after the Crimsons had stopped Lanphier on either 3rd of 4th down.
Triopia 34 @ Pleasant Hill 20 – Getting off to a 1-0 start was important for the Trojans, especially when you consider their week 1 opponent. The Warriors and Trojans faced off last fall in a week 1 contest at Triopia, a game in which the home Trojans fumbled the ball 7 times and ultimately saw their start to slip away. This time around the results would be different, as Senior running back Dean Arendt led the Trojans with 177 yards on 22 carries and 2 touchdowns, including a 50-yard burst in the opening quarter. Fellow Senior Matt Parker also contributed 90 rushing yards to Triopia’s team total of 363. Parker had 17 carries on the night, including a crucial 3-yard touchdown run at the beginning of the 2nd quarter. With a 22-12 lead at halftime, the Trojans would seal the victory with a big 3rd quarter in which Will Alexander and Sophomore quarterback Isaac Werries both found the endzone, while Triopia’s defense held Pleasant Hill scoreless. Ultimately it came down to the 2nd and 3rd quarters, essentially one half of football in which Triopia outscored the Warriors 26-6.
Week of Sept. 05 – West Central 20 @ Brown County 16 – If you’re familiar with the history between West Central head coach Alex Ebbing and the football program at Brown County High School, then this is one of the games you would have circled on your calendar. And the week 2 match-up would not have disappointed. With both teams running similar offensive schemes featuring a heavy dose of the run game, this was seemingly a match made in heaven for fans of the WIVC. After a scoreless first quarter, West Central quarterback Kolbie Hoover broke things open with short touchdown run just 40 seconds before half. With both defenses stuffing the familiar rushing attacks, the game was mostly action-less until the 2:53 mark in the 3rd, when Hoover again plunged into the endzone, giving the Cougars a 14-0 lead. But Brown County would answer back at the beginning of the fourth, and after a successful 2-point conversion, the Cougar lead was cut to 6. Luckily for West Central, they had Junior running back Tyler Strohecker, who continued his strong season by putting the Cougars ahead 20-8 with just 2:39 to play, and securing their 2-0 start.
Carrolton 33 @ Triopia 8 – You’d be hard pressed to find two teams with more contrasting styles of play than Triopia and Carrolton. Whereas Triopia lives and dies with the run game and the Wing-T, Carrolton is one of the few 1A teams who relies mainly on the passing attack via the spread offense. And when the two teams met on Saturday to finish up their suspended week 2 match-up, it was the new school style of the Hawks that triumphed over the old school Trojans. Senior quarterback Jacob Smith finished the day 12-19 for 216 yards passing and 3 touchdowns. Smith also added 84 rushing yards. The Hawks leading receiver was Cody Leonard who broke out for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 5 receptions. Luke Palan added 2 more scores on the ground and finished the day with 78 rushing yards. As for the Trojans, Matt Parker and Dean Arendt led the way with 79 and 80 yards rushing, respectively, with Parker accounting for the teams’ lone score. Will Alexander racked up 10 tackles for the Trojan defense.
Springfield Southeast 13 @ Jacksonville 29 – After a disappointing week 1 loss to Lanphier High School, the Crimsons bounced back to defeat the Spartans of Southeast to improve their record to 1-1 and establish some confidence heading into a tough week 3 matchup at Sacred Heart Griffin. With the inclimate weather finally out of the way, the two schools picked up the game Saturday afternoon with 3:44 left in the first quarter and the score tied 0-0. After yielding the first score of the game, the Crimson defense tightened up and were able to force several key turnovers, specifically 2 interceptions by Junior cornerback CJ Wright. And when the defense stepped up, Jacksonville’s offense was there to take full advantage. The return of seniors Juan Jackson and Zac Lonergan were vital to the Crimson’s turn around. At cornerback, Jackson blanketed defenders all game long, breaking up several big play oppportunities for the Spartans. Lonergan, along with sophomore stand-out James White and Junior Noah Pickens, provided a number of big plays through the air. Klay Wood, another promising sophomore carried the load with 26 carries for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns. Junior quarterback Joe Brannan looked more comfortable in the pocket, as he threw for 221 yards on 12 completions out of 26 attempts.
New Berlin 50 @ Petersburg-Porta 12 – WARNING: What you are about to read is NOT a misprint. New Berlin quarterback Jake Hunt tallied 7 touchdowns on Saturday….(wait for it)….in the first half. The senior gun-slinger, along with his array of Pretzel weapons, showed just why many consider them one of the most potent offenses in the entire area, in a 50-12 romping of conference foe Petersburg-Porta. Of the 7 touchdowns delivered by Hunt. 6 of them were through the air, and the other on the ground. On the receiving end of 3 scores was All-State hopeful Chase Creviston. After giving up a first quarter touchdown to the Bluejays, Coach Creviston and the Pretzel offense went into full overdrive, with a 43 point 2nd quarter. With a comfortable halftime lead of 50-7, Hunt and the rest of the crew were done for the night. And in just 2 quarters, Hunt’s stat line read: 13-20 for 246 yards and 6 passing touchdowns, along with 60 rushing yards on 7 carries and 1 score. Creviston finished with 3 scores on only 5 catches and 72 yards. The story for the Pretzel offense was its big-play ability, the trio of Connor Burger, Cam Cummings, and John Finkle combined for 6 catches, 3 scores, and 171 receiving yards in the first half. Burger also added 2 blocked punts, and Cummings an interception.
Routt Catholic 7 @ North Greene 50 – Both Routt and North Greene entered week 2 with the bad taste of week 1 losses still in their mouthes. Unfortunately for Routt, the Spartans of North Greene were now at home, and hungry as ever to get back on the right track. And unlike most WIVC teams, with their emphasis on the run game, the Spartans strong group of Senior athletes got it done both through the air and on the ground. Senior Nathan Randall finished the day 7-10 with 167 yards passing and 3 touchdowns. On the receiving end of two of those scores was Senior tight end Zach Reische, who racked up 89 receiving yards on just 3 receptions. The other receiving touchdown went to Logan Ross. North Greene’s ground game featured a pair of backs in Kolten Heberling and Chas Lewis who rushed for 101 and 82 yards respectively, with a touchdown a piece. Routt’s day was plagued by defensive struggles and offensive turnovers, one of which was a lost fumble that North Greene’s Dalton McDonald returned for a 65-yard touchdown.