Burlington Central topples Woodstock to pick up 1st win
At the start of Friday's homecoming game, it looked like it would be another long night for Burlington Central, which was in search of its first 2016 victory.
Central fumbled the ball on the second play of the Kishwaukee River contest with Woodstock at Rocket Hill. Woodstock's Timothy Andersson recovered the ball at the Rockets' 31-yard line. Three plays later, Jacob Sumner scored on a 5-yard run giving the Blue Streaks a 7-0 lead two minutes into the game.
But Central bounced back.
Keyed by a strong second half defense, the Rockets beat Woodstock, 20-7, giving new coach Brian Melvin his first win.
"It was a hard-fought win and I wouldn't want it any other way," said Melvin. "I'm just so proud of the kids. It's hard when you are rebuilding the program. They are sticking with it and that's hard to do as a high school kid."
The Blue Streaks' (3-3, 1-2) lead lasted all of 15 seconds.
On the first play from scrimmage after the ensuing kickoff, the Rockets' Dionte Pierre ran down the middle for 53 yards to tie the game at 7-7.
The senior running back provided the bulk of Central's offense, rushing for 118 yards on 23 carries.
Pierre also scored the go ahead TD with 9:17 to play in the second quarter. His 1-yard run across the goal line capped a 9-play, 47-yard drive.
Central (1-5, 1-2) led 13-7 at halftime.
Woodstock threatened to tie the game early in the fourth quarter. On a drive that started late in the third quarter, the Blue Streaks were at the 10-yard line on 2nd-and-goal. On the play, quarterback Tanner Heidtke fumbled the ball. Central's Vince O'Neal pounced on it at the 15-yard line.
"I was thinking we need a big play, a big stop," O'Neal said. "The ball came up. My first thought was to pick it up and run with it but I just had to play it safe and get the ball for my team."
"I thought we could punch the ball in on a few plays there and we gave the ball up," said Woodstock coach Tommy Thompson. "We had a couple of key drops in the game. We just got outplayed."
The Blue Streaks' next drive ended when junior Mark Metz intercepted a Heidtke pass.
Woodstock threatened again on its next possession, which started at Central's 20-yard line. On the first play, Erik Hansen sacked Heidtke for an 8-yard loss. The senior QB then threw 3 straight passes that were broken up by Rocket defenders.
Cameron Kaldensberger, who shared play-calling duties with Johnny DiConstanzo, sealed the win with an 11-yard TD run with 48 seconds to play.