Lisle's ground game too much for Streator

  • Streator defenders Christian Benning and Manny Villalobos team up to stop Lisle quarterback Max Etheridge during the second quarter of the Lions' 35-28 win Friday at Doug Dieken Stadium in Streator.

    Streator defenders Christian Benning and Manny Villalobos team up to stop Lisle quarterback Max Etheridge during the second quarter of the Lions' 35-28 win Friday at Doug Dieken Stadium in Streator. Tom Sistak/Shaw Local

 
 
Updated 9/17/2022 9:56 AM

STREATOR -- Lisle's defense, physical line play and rushing attack were dominant enough through three and a half quarters Friday night that even when injuries, Streator points and the Bulldogs' momentum began piling up in the closing minutes, the Lions still managed to take home a 35-28, Illinois Central Eight Conference victory.

"We played well enough, we had a lot of yards rushing, I thought our defense played extremely well," Lisle coach Paul Parpet said. "And that at the end of the game? Hey, it doesn't matter if you win 35-28 or if you win 35-6. ...

 

"Streator is very explosive ... and we did what we needed to do to run the football at them. I was very happy with that. Then all of a sudden guys are cramping up, and I have no players. So we had to hold on to the rope. We made it exciting for the fans.

"But this is a good win for us."

The Lions (2-2 overall, 1-1 ICE) controlled every aspect of the opening half. Lisle ran 36 offensive plays to Streator's 16, outgained the Bulldogs 189-41 in yards from scrimmage and most importantly led 20-0 on the Doug Dieken Stadium scoreboard after first-half touchdowns from Dean Tchakanakis (1-yard run), Casey Rosenberg (15-yard run) and Rosenberg again (20-yard pass from Max Etheridge).

"You've got to first off give a lot of credit to what Lisle did," Bulldogs coach Kyle Tutt said. "Their game plan the first half, I don't want to say perfect, but it was pretty close to it. They were able to hold us down to 16 plays in the first half. We average almost 30.

"They just did an excellent job defensively, and they did an excellent job offensively maintaining drives and then putting points on the board when they got in the red zone."

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Streator (2-2 overall, 1-1 ICE) found a little offensive success at the end of the first half -- converting its initial first down of the game on a Christian Benning-to-Isaiah Brown pass 27.8 seconds before halftime -- and carried that over into the start of the second. The Bulldogs eventually saw their drive stall and had to punt, though, and Lisle's run-heavy attack went right back to work with a 74-yard drive culminating in a 1-yard Drew Nigro TD run.

The Lisle lead reached 35-6 midway through the fourth quarter on a Tyler Anderson 3-yard score.

The Bulldogs incredibly made things interesting, though. A 65-yard drive punctuated by a Benning-to-Aneefy Ford 2-yard TD strike started the comeback, then came an Anthony Mohr-recovered onside kick leading to a Jeremiah Brown 5-yard touchdown run and Brown 2-point reception, and with 11.2 seconds to play a weaving, 27-yard Benning scramble into the end zone capped by a Benning-to-Matt Williamson two-point conversion that shockingly pulled Streator to within seven points with 11.2 seconds left.

Lisle senior Christopher Farrell spoiled the storybook ending, however, falling on the ensuing onside kick, sending the Lions into victory formation.

For the game, Lisle -- set to host Coal City next Friday -- outgained Streator 344-267 in yardage including a telling 318-55 edge on the ground. Tony DeWald (20 carries for 110 yards), Drew Nigro (18 for 101) and Rosenberg (10 for 85) led the Lions attack, while defensively Joseph Raineri recorded a quarterback sack and an additional tackle for loss.

For Streator, Benning was 21-39 for 212 yards and two TDs passing, his favorite targets being Williamson (10 receptions for 109 yards and one touchdown) and Ford (eight catches for 76 yards and a score). He was also the team's leading rusher with 31 yards to Ford's 22, with Benning and Jeremiah Brown each recording two TFLs. Manny Villalobos added a sack.

The Bulldogs visit Manteno next Friday.

"They're figuring it out, being great leaders to each other," Tutt said of his team's strong finish. "It may not have been for four quarters, but they're figuring it out, and I think we're going to come back, have a great week of practice and be ready for Manteno."

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