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Daily Herald's 2017 Season Coverage
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updated: 9/23/2017 12:03 AM

Prairie Ridge rolls past Bartlett

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By Steve Nichols
snichols@dailyherald.com

If last year's 41-point loss to Prairie Ridge at Millennium Field was a nightmare for the Bartlett football team, this year's installment in Crystal Lake might have just been a house of horrors.

The No. 1 ranked team in Class 6A turned in their 19-straight victory, the state's longest winning streak, with a 63-7 nonconference thumping on homecoming. And the Wolves' party escalated rather quickly.

PR (5-0) only needed 3 offensive plays to go up 21-0 in the first quarter. Iowa-bound quarterback Samson Evans bolted 51 yards on the Wolves first offensive play following a Bartlett 3-and-out.

Zach Gulbransen then dashed for a 57-yard TD run on PR's second offensive play after a 3-and-out by Bartlett, Gulbransen capped off an impressive start with 50-yard TD run down the left side on drive three. It became pretty clear with 4:25 left in the first quarter who the Wolves were and what they were all about.

"Prairie Ridge is the best football team that Bartlett High School has ever played," Hawks coached Eric Ilich said. "Ever."

Those three plays of 50-plus totaled 158 yards, and Evans wasn't done showing why he's Big Ten worthy next year. After Jackson Willis ended a 5-play, 89-yard drive early in the second quarter with a 4-yard run, a drive highlighted by a near 60-plus touchdown toss to Gulbransen, Evans housed a punt return from 35-yards to make it 35-0 with 9:44 left in the second quarter. Bartlett trailed 56-0 at the half but after that special teams TD, Evans' night appeared to be over with 80 yards on 4 rushes and 78 yards passing on 2 of 3 throws.

"I really think this year's offense is really good," said Evans, who rushed for 192 yards and 3 touchdowns in Streamwood last year. "We just execute and do our jobs and just makes the big plays. We know that we have backs who can make great plays and we just have to get into the open and do our thing. And with the offensive line blocking we just have to do our thing after that."

PR finished with a 343-113 edge in total yards at halftime and a 529-246 tally at the end. It was the fourth time they scored 50-plus points, averaging 56.5 per game in that stretch as Gulbransen finished with 4 rushes for 121 yards with 3 rushing touchdowns and a 66-yard reception while Willis scored twice on 5 rushes for 46 yards.

Even backup quarterback Connor Lydon had 9 rushes for 95 yards and a rushing score.

"That just shows you our playmaking ability in the backfield," PR coach Chris Schremp said. "We've got some real talented kids and we're getting off the ball well and things are clicking."

Bartlett (1-4) didn't get into sync until its third drive -- their best drive of the game -- but it stalled at the PR 12 after a fumble with 1:12 left in the first quarter. Another good drive stalled at the PR 33 with 44.9 in the half and the only Hawk highlight came on Malik Whitehead's 76-yard touchdown scramble with 4:44 left in the third. Whitehead finished with 104 yards on 8 rushes while quarterback Dean Kotsovetis and receiver Austin Gates had a nice duo going.

Gates caught 8 passes for 45 yards from Kotsovetis, who finished 13-for-30 for 93 yards.

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