Dundee-Crown laments execution in loss to CL Central
Crystal Lake Central coach Dirk Stanger felt the need to mix things up before his team's game even started on Friday against Dundee-Crown.
Winning the coin flip, Stanger wanted his offense on the field to start the game, bucking the tendency to defer his decision to start with the ball in second half.
That turned out to be a wise move as the host Tigers scored a touchdown on the first drive of the game and never relinquished the lead in a 37-24 Fox Valley Conference win over the Chargers.
Central (2-4, 2-4 FVC) needed only six plays to find the end zone on the first possession as quarterback George Dimopoulos hit Griffin Buehler for a 42-yard touchdown pass to cap the drive.
"We wanted to change things a little, we took the ball first and it was a great way to start the first half," Stanger said.
"It was a perfect way to start the game," Dimopoulos said. "We were executing right from the very beginning, and that start is exactly what we needed."
After the opening drive, the Tigers offense and defense both stepped up to build a big first half lead.
The defense chipped in with a safety in the first quarter while limiting D-C to 19 total plays in the first half, holding the Chargers to 24 yards rushing before halftime.
Central running back Vince Honer had a strong second quarter with touchdown runs of 5 and 12 yards. Buehler added the final first-half score when he picked up a fumble and ran it in from 23 yards to build a 30-12 lead at halftime.
"Offensively, our offensive line really did an outstanding job, they blocked really well and we needed that tonight, shout-out to them," said Honer, who finished with 80 yards rushing on 18 attempts.
Dimopoulos led the passing attack with 235 yards on 13-of-21 passing and one touchdown. Buehler had three catches for 105 yards.
On defense, Central's Leo Diaz had two tackles for loss and Cayden Parks had a fumble recovery. In total, the defense forced two D-C punts and stopped the Chargers on four different fourth-down attempts in the second half.
"It started in the first half with those three-and-outs and then we bent but didn't break in the second half and overall, they did an excellent job," Stanger said.
D-C (2-3, 2-3) quarterback Zach Randl had an impressive second half to try and rally the Chargers, throwing for 167 yards and two touchdowns in the second half. In total, Randl was 20-of-34 passing for 274 yards and three touchdowns.
Torrion Bell had two touchdown receptions and Anthony Aguilar had 138 receiving yards and a touchdown.
"We played really hard, but we didn't execute when we needed to," Randl said. "The effort was there, but we didn't take advantage of those chances in the red-zone in the second half."