Friday night's nonconference football opener for host Wauconda was not an easy one when the Bulldogs met Woodstock.
But as long as Wauconda stuck to its game plan, it knew that could ultimately prevail in this battle between two evenly matched teams.
And that is exactly what the Bulldogs did as they overcame a 7-0 deficit after one quarter before capturing a 21-7 victory behind a strong running game which netted 199 total yards.
The game plan featured powerful senior running back David Starkey rushing for 167 yards on 27 carries as 128 of those 167 yards came in the second half against a worn down Woodstock defense.
"It was a good start for us and we made a commitment to run the ball," said Wauconda coach Dave Mills, whose team had 307 yards of total offense. "David Starkey ran hard and he ran through some tackles. But the offensive line really started to hit it in the second half so that is a great sign."
The Blue Streaks (0-1) took advantage of a muffed punt by Wauconda early in the first quarter as Woodstock took over on the Wauconda 47-yard line.
A 35-yard pass from Alan Hafer to Matt Swedberg set up a 3-yard TD run by Jack McCoy to give the Blue Streaks a 7-0 lead 4:06 into the contest.
The Bulldogs (1-0) got their offense rolling late in the first quarter as they put together an 8-play, 45-yard scoring drive.
The big play was a 30-yard TD pass from Austin Swenson to Chris Kass near the right sideline as Kass ran right past Woodstock defensive back Preston Tio en route to the end zone and a 7-7 tie with 9:55 left in the second quarter.
Like Woodstock, Wauconda took advantage of a turnover as Nate Magiera recovered a fumble by Mike Santucci to give the Bulldogs the ball at the Blue Streak 32-yard-line late in the first half.
A 25-yard pass from Swenson (10-for-15, 108 yards) to Bruce Pearl put the ball on the 7-yard-line before Swenson hit Kass just inside the left pylon for a 7-yard scoring strike with just seven seconds left before halftime. Swenson's extra point made the score 14-7 at the intermission.
The Blue Streaks came up with two interceptions in their own territory to keep matters close in the third quarter. Woodstock moved the ball effectively with 265 total yards of offense.
But when push came to shove, it was the Wauconda ground game that won out as Starkey and company marched 79 yards on 10 plays with a 10-yard TD run up the middle by Starkey making the score 21-7 with 8:43 to play.
Starkey had runs of 19 and 18 yards during the key drive as Woodstock's defense failed to keep the Bulldogs' ground attack in check.
"We just knew we had to run the ball in the five and six hole and the offensive line got us going in the second half," said Starkey, whose team had 19 first downs. "It's definitely a great start and we're going to have great some nights this year."
Wauconda's Mike Prate came up with a big interception at the Woodstock goal line on a fourth-and-goal from the 7 play to preserve the 14-point lead with 4:51 to play.
Pat Kane had 33 yards rushing on 5 carries for Wauconda while Santucci was impressive with 102 yards on 18 carries.
"We ran the ball, we set up some play action, and we still showed we can throw the ball," Mills said. "Woodstock took advantage on the muffed punt. But our defense had a bend but do not break attitude tonight."