Week 3 | River Ridge vs Galena
On homecoming night in Galena, two teams searching for their first wins put one another to the test. The Galena Pirates played host to the River Ridge Wildcats in an NUIC showdown that promised not to disappoint. Amongst the homecoming festivities, a defensive brawl took place.
In a game where both defensive lines dominated the line of scrimmage, neither offense could get anything going in the first half. River Ridge punted the ball away 4 times, turned the ball over on downs twice, and lost possession to the end of the first half in each of their possessions in the first two quarters. They were able to muster up 105 yards of total offense in the first half, most of which came from the arm of quarterback Jacob Speer (6-15, 107 yards 1 TD), on one completion to receiver Drew Kloss(5 rec., 108 yds. 1 TD). The Wildcats’ running threat was Ben Crist(20 att., 56 yds.), though he only was able to gain 26 yards in the first 2 quarters of play.
The Pirates had the same struggle with their line play in the first half as well. They too punted the ball 4 times and turned the ball over on downs twice. The bulk of their yards came with handing the ball to workhorse running back CJ Bauer (22 att., 71 yds.), who finished the first half with 46 yards. Both Galena and River Ridge had some tough defensive stands, leaving the score at half knotted up at 0-0.
The start of the second half seemed as though the rest of the game was going to follow the first half, with neither team mounting anything. The Pirates however were winning the battle of field position, as they kept pinning River Ridge deeper and deeper into their own end of the field. In a defensive battle, this proves ever important in the latter stages of a game. The Pirates forced River Ridge into a 4th down deep in their own territory, when Galena sophomore Henry Anderson blocked a Wildcat punt. This would get Galena the ball the closest to the end zone either team would be all night. After two back and forth 3 and outs, the Pirates would get the ball back and learn from their previous drive, allowing sophomore kicker Diego Lopez the opportunity to put some points on the board with a 30-yard field goal attempt. With just enough distance, Lopez’s kick split the uprights, putting the Pirates up 3-0 with 3:59 left in the 3rd quarter.
The rest of the 3rd quarter and the beginning of the 4th played out like a broken record, punt, punt, turnover on downs, and it seemed to be the same with 9 minutes left in the 4th quarter. However, there is a positive to have your quarterback double as your punter. This came to fruition when Jacob Speer dropped back to punt on 4th and 8. He dropped back to normal depth, and faked the punt and found his favorite target Drew Kloss for a 24-yard hookup to get the Wildcat train moving. The rest of this drive would feature two more big catches from Kloss, resulting in a 15-yard touchdown pass from the same duo. The Wildcats would convert a two- point conversion to go up 8-3 with 8:08 left. This score would hold true for the rest of the game, moving River Ridge to 1-2, and dropping Galena to 0-3.
Up Next: Galena (0-3) vs. Le-Win (3-0) | River Ridge (1-2) vs Warren (0-3)