Antioch proves to be fit for first win
It was no joke when Antioch varsity football coach Brian Glashagel said his troops have plenty of weapons.
That proved to be the case, and one of those advantages is the team's physical fitness level.
The Sequoits seemingly lulled host Kenosha Tremper to sleep in the second half.
"Our conditioning is excellent. We really worked the guys hard this summer, especially the last couple of weeks," Glashagel said. "And we have so many guys who can step up and make plays."
Antioch looked to pick up on its success from a year ago and did so with a 41-12 drubbing over the Trojans in a nonconference season opener Friday night in Kenosha.
Antioch pounced on Tremper right from the get-go with a beautiful opening 8-play, 69-yard drive that was capped when senior quarterback Branden Gallimore pitched to junior Ben Nauman, who rumbled in from 8 yards for a 7-0 lead with 8:36 left in the first.
"This was a great confidence-booster," said Nauman, who rushed for 30 yards on 3 carries while adding another 42 yards receiving. "We played a pretty good all-around game."
And speaking of the aforementioned arsenal of weapons, senior tight end Steven Baum complemented Nauman by hauling in a 47-yard scoring strike from Gallimore to make it 14-0 with 3:10 left in the first.
For a short time, Tremper got its fans involved as a 17-yard touchdown scamper by Alberto McPhereson (144 yards) closed the gap. But Antioch junior linebacker Chase Becker blocked the extra point.
And just when the momentum looked like it was shifting, Antioch wasn't going to have any part of it.
Following the McPhereson score, the Sequoits answered right back when senior running back Drew Porter dashed in from 2 yards out with 26 ticks left in the half, and just like that it was 21-6.
"We kind of made them tap out in the second half, and that's a credit to our conditioning and stamina," said Glashagel, whose team plays Woodstock North in its home opener next Friday night.
Tremper had a pretty good drive to open the third and McPhereson's second score closed the gap to 21-12.
But that conditioning took over as Antioch ruled the fourth, putting the game out of reach with 3 unanswered touchdowns.
Senior strong safety Andrew Hare picked off a Jayden Boero pass that immediately resulted in Nauman's second rushing score, a 12-yard bolt that made it 27-12 with 8:49 left.
Gallimore, who ended up completing 4 of 5 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown, added a 1-yard rushing score a little over a minute later that made it 34-12.
Senior running back Hunter Price was the main workhorse on the evening, carrying for 152 yards on 15 carries, including a 1-yard plunge for the final score of the game with 5:12 left.
Defensively, Hare earlier had the first of his 2 picks, while Becker also had a big sack late in the game that continued to keep Tremper at bay.
"We kept our spirits up and picked each other up," added Baum. "We've got a lot of work ahead, but we're just taking it a game at a time. We try and forget about last year. This is our own year."
Antioch enjoyed a perfect 9-0 regular-season before falling in the second round of the playoffs last year and finishing 10-1 and one of the best seasons in school history.