While the Crystal Lake South offense struggled and missed scoring opportunities, the Gator defense came to rescue with an outstanding effort.
Holding the Crystal Lake Central offense to 55 yards rushing and 5 first downs, the Gators blanked the Tigers in posting a 9-0 win in a Fox Valley Conference crossover game at Central's Metcalf Field Friday night.
South held Central standout running back Gage Harrah to 42 yards on 12 carries. Harrah, who was kicked out of the game for an illegal hit on Crystal Lake South quarterback Austin Fowler with 8:24 left in the game, didn't have a run over 9 yards in the game.
Fowler was taken off the field in a stretcher with a back injury. His status for next week is unknown.
The Gators (2-0) forced the Tigers (1-1) into 2 turnovers in the game. Reese Dziedzic had a fumble recovery while Brad Walovitch intercepted a pass late in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
"Our scout team offense did a great job of preparing us for this game," said Walovitch. "We got a great pass rush and we covered their receivers well. We swarmed to Gage and made sure we got two tacklers on him on every play. One guy can't tackle Gage."
The Gators, who were hindered by 3 field goal misses inside the 35 by Walovitch and 7 penalties for 85 yards, scored on the first drive of the game.
Senior speedster Bryan Kazmer returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. But the score was nullified when South was whistled for a holding penalty at the Central 12-yard line. With the drive beginning at the 27, the Gators needed 5 plays to score, capped by a 5-yard run by Kazmer with only 1:34 elapsed in the game.
South's final points of the game came on a safety with 1:36 left in the game. Junior linebacker Dennis Gardeck broke through the Central line and tackled backup quarterback Garrett Baumann in the end zone for 2 points.
"The defense was outstanding and we did a good job of putting pressure on the quarterback," said South coach Chuck Ahsmann. "We came up with some big plays on defense and did a great job of holding Gage down. The kickoff by Bryan to start the game was key. The penalty was unfortunate, but we did a good job of scoring on the drive. "
Walovitch led the Gators rushing with 50 yards on 4 carries. The Gator senior also completed a pass to Will Ahsmann for 22 yards.