The Prairie Ridge offensive machine fires on more than one engine.
Yes junior quarterback Samson Evans, who rushed for 229 yards with 4 touchdowns, is the main cog.
But the Wolves have many more components including senior fullback Emmanuel Ebirim, who rushed for a career-high 190 yards with touchdown runs of 7 and 25 yards.
Led by Evans and Ebirim, the top-seeded Wolves ran for 496 yards in defeating No. 7 seed DeKalb 54-35 in Class 6A semifinal action at PR Athletic Stadium in Crystal Lake Saturday afternoon.
The Wolves (13-0) will play for the state title next Saturday at 1 p.m. at the University of Illinois against Springfield Sacred-Heart Griffin. SHG defeated St. Laurence 28-16 Saturday.
"Manny had a great game against Crete-Monee last season, but he was really running low to the ground and hard today," said PR coach Chris Schremp. "His job is to move the chains and he ran like a man on a mission."
Ebirim, who ran for 126 yards in the second half, enjoyed a long run of 31 yards.
"It was so frustrating to lose in the semifinals to Montini last year," said Ebirim. " I ran as hard and as focused as I could because I knew this could be my last game. The O-line sold out on every play and opened some huge holes."
With rushing touchdowns of 60, 19 and 25 yards by Evans, a 1-yard TD run by Zach Gullbransen and a 31-yard field goal by Derek Greiner, the Wolves led the visiting Barbs 30-21 at halftime.
DeKalb (10-3) stayed in the game in the first half with the big play.
Derek Kyler threw touchdown passes of 60 and 80 yards to Northern Illinois recruit Cole Tucker. Kyler also tossed an 80-yard scoring strike to Zuerek Day.
PR scored 3 unanswered touchdowns in the second half to seize control of the game. Evans scored on a 1-yard run and Ebirim scored twice as PR led 51-21 early in the fourth quarter.
The Wolves increased the defensive pressure in the second half with 6 sacks including 3 by linebacker Joe Perhats.
"Our coaches did a great job of making adjustments at halftime," said Perhats. "Their quarterback is outstanding and had too much time to throw. Our coaches called a lot more blitzes and we were able to get some pressure and sacks."
Justin Mikolajczewski intercepted a Kyler pass in the first half at the PR 10 to thwart a DeKalb scoring drive.
Kyler, playing in his last game as a Barb, connected on 13-of-25 passes for 394 yards, with an interception and 5 touchdowns. Tucker caught 6 passes for 36 yards and 3 scores. Day grabbed 5 passes for 131 yards and a TD and Devin Williams snared 2 passes for 27 yards and a TD,
"We were able to get some big plays in the first half," said DeKalb coach Matt Weckler. "In the end, they just wore us down.''