Prairie Ridge responds to Dundee-Crown's fast start
Dundee-Crown surprised Prairie Ridge on the first play from scrimmage Friday night when running back Henry Kennedy took the opening handoff and raced 76 yards to the end zone.
The Wolves offense wasn't that mad to get the ball back so quick.
"Just respond," Wolves senior QB Tyler Vasey said. "That's always the goal when someone goes down and scores on you. It doesn't matter if it's the first play or 50th play. Just go out and respond."
The Wolves answered D-C's opening score in a big way with a 12-play, 80-yard drive of their own, finished off by a fullback Nathan Greetham 11-yard touchdown run.
Prairie Ridge, ranked No. 4 in The Associated Press Class 6A poll, went on to score 35 unanswered points and piled up 387 rushing yards on their way to a 35-14 win over the Chargers in their Fox Valley Conference game.
The Wolves (6-1, 6-1 FVC) set themselves back with three penalties on the first drive but converted two fourth downs on their way to the end zone. One of the fourth-down plays came on their own 41, which they converted with a 15-yard pass to Luke Vanderwiel.
Greetham's touchdown was on fourth-and-2.
"We showed some poise there," Prairie Ridge coach Chris Schremp said. "It seemed like early on we were always behind the chains. We had to overcome some adversity and they got it done. Right now we're still learning and building toward the playoffs. I think we'll learn a lot from this game tomorrow morning."
Prairie Ridge's defense played much more disciplined after the first score by D-C (2-5, 2-5), holding the Chargers to only 94 yards for the rest of the first half.
Still leading by a 7-0 score, Wolves defensive lineman Gavin Tinch had a key fumble recovery after Joey Vanderwiel chased down quarterback Zach Randl and Jeff North knocked the ball loose. Greetham (18 carries, 107 yards) then scored a 1-yard touchdown to make it 14-0 on the last play of the first quarter.
"We came out and talked about how we have to each do our job, we just have to hold it down for the team and play for each other," Tinch said. "We just went out there and did it. We got lower, our communication started to get better, and as a team, we each did our 1/11th. Everything just got better."
Ryan Koelblinger added a fumble recovery in the second quarter and Prairie Ridge's defense forced two turnover on downs on D-C's other two possessions in the first half.
Vasey had a pair of touchdown runs in the second quarter -- from 6 and 43 yards -- to give Prairie Ridge a 28-14 lead at the half. His longest run of the day, a 67-yarder in which he burst through the line and went untouched to the end zone, gave the Wolves a 35-7 lead with 9:06 left in the third quarter.
Vasey finished with 238 yards on 17 carries and Greetham added 107 yards on 18 carries.
"Every day, we just work on our footwork, our speed, how low we are," Vasey said. "We watch film and we're like, 'That's not what playoff football is.' From the first week to this week, we've looked better but you always need to improve. We're getting there."
For D-C, Kennedy finished with 88 yards on four carries and added 41 yards on four catches. Nate Benton, filling in for a sick Jett Boerger, ran for 87 yards. Kennedy and LaTavun Norwood both had fumble recoveries.
Zach Randl was 13-of-18 passing for 125 yard and a score -- a 2-yard pass to Anthony Aguilar (four catches, 44 yards) with 2:47 left in the third quarter for the final score.
Dundee-Crown coach Mike Steinhaus was impressed by the efficiency of the Wolves.
"It's trying to not let them dictate what they want to do, and that's tough," Steinhaus said. "And that's why they're such a successful program. They can dictate. At times we're getting better, but we're not at that level to sustain and grind every series."