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Crystal Lake South football coach Chuck Ahsmann knew Prairie Ridge had the big play possibility in its arsenal and the major difference in simulating the triple option all week in practice was seeing it live.
The Wolves were live Friday and South mostly did its part on defense, holding Prairie Ridge to 272 total yards, 11 first downs and 2 scores on 12 chances.
But it was offensively where the Gators' woes continued.
South, which came in with only 4 offensive touchdowns in its previous 3 games, needed 47 minutes to finally reach the end zone in a 14-9 loss to rival Prairie Ridge Friday.
The Gators (1-3, 0-2) went 2 for 12 on drives as well but didn't benefit from the big play as Prairie Ridge did twice and Ahsmann had one word to sum up his offense through the Gators' first 4 games.
"I would describe it as poor," said Ahsmann, who also alluded to the Wolves' big plays South didn't get, including an outside veer. "We repped that all week but we can't rep it as well as they run it. "
Those 2 plays came via Colin Rempert, who housed huge runs for PR (2-2, 1-1) in the second and third quarters that kept momentum on the PR side.
And by the time CLS finally did its part on offense to cut the lead to 5, it was too little too late. Austin Rogers (10 of 20, 103 yards, TD) led an 80-yard drive in 1:22 that resulted in a 3-yard pass to Eric Landis (15 rushes, 69 yards; 2 catches, 9 yards) with 59.9 left but Prairie Ridge recovered the onside kick to conclude matters in a key Fox Valley Conference Valley Division game in front of nearly 3,000 at a revamped Ken Bruhn Field.
South was held to 221 yards of total offense (111 rush, 110 pass), getting only up to its own 46 in the first half except for a 34-yard field goal from Casey Oliver after Chris Ivers recovered a fumble on the PR 21. And besides its last drive, South's best chance in the second half stalled at the PR 39 as time expired in the third on a fourth down run that was stuffed by the Wolves.
And then there was Rempert, who finished with 20 carries for 186 yards (9.3 per carry) and busted out for a 56-yard run midway through the second quarter on the second play of a 3-play, 38-yard drive which put the Wolves at the CLS 2.
Brent Anderson (13 carries, 43 yards) scored from 2-yards out on the next play to put PR up for good at 7-3 with 6:51 left in the half.
But it was Rempert's 46-yard run on the first play from scrimmage at the PR 41 in the third that was a major backbreaker. He rushed from the exact same spot when he gained 56 in the second, only this time it put PR on the CLS 13, where sophomore quarterback Luke Annen, filling in for a concussed Brett Covalt, scored from 10 yards out to give PR a 14-3 lead with 2:55 in the third.
"Colin stepped in, he was new this week, too, and just did a phenomenal job," Wolves coach Chris Schremp said, alluding to the fact he also brought up Annen. "(He) ran hard, got tough yardage. When we needed a big play — it was the same kid on the kickoff return, it was good to see him come out and play big."
But Rempert gave his praise to the sophomore, instead.
"I give the credit to Luke," Rempert said. "He was a sophomore quarterback stepping up to the plate, making reads. We just did our job, our blocking was great and our defense. Defense is what gave us momentum."
Annen ran for 11 yards on 7 attempts and threw for 37 yards on 4 of 9 passing, with an interception on his first pass of the game. But he controlled the offense, something Schremp said he's done for the last 3 years.
"I felt like the whole game we were in control," said Annen, who was a bit nervous on the first series of plays. "Missed a couple of reads but overall everyone ran hard, did their jobs."
South was winning the field position battle in the first half and got a gift on the second half kickoff, which brought the ball to the 40. South caught the PR bug it had last week and fumbled (3 times, lost 1) and two drives stall in the third when it looked like at the time the Gators were seizing momentum.
"Sometimes plays breakdown and things happen," said Rogers, whose team amassed 221 total yards. "We just have to bounce back, keep our heads up and try to keep moving the ball and keep pushing it down the field."