Week 1: West Carroll vs Galena
Last season, both West Carroll and Galena didn't finish where they thought they would. While West Carroll would finish with 1 more win than Galena, it was Galena who would win this game a year ago. Friday's contest would be a big game for both teams, especially for potential playoff opportunities considering the strength of schedule for each team with the conference realignment.
Half way through the 2nd quarter the Pirates would strike first, with a 19 yard TD pass from Ethan Hefel to Sam Hesselbacher. The PAT kick was good as the Pirates would go up 7-0 with 6:25 remaining in the first half.
The Thunder would respond, putting a drive together that would move them deep into Pirate territory. Once inside the red zone, QB Derek Tracy would run the ball into the end zone, and would subsequently score the 2 point conversion to give West Carroll an 8-7 lead they would carry into halftime.
The 3rd quarter would belong to Galena, as they looked to pull away, after Peyton Bauer scored from 25 yards out. A successful PAT kick pushed Galena back into the lead 14-8 with 3:45 left in the 3rd quarter. Less than 3 minutes later, Galena would score again as Henry Anderson connected with Damian Stephanopoulos for a 19 yard score that would increase the Galena lead to 20-8 entering the 4th quarter.
In the 4th quarter, West Carroll would take over. Taking to the air, Derek Tracy found Colton Ballard on a 53 yard pass for the score. A failed conversion try closed the gap to 20-14 in favor of Galena with 10:40 left to play in the game.
With about 4 minutes remaining in the game, West Carroll would score a safety to pull the score to 20-16 in favor of Galena, but the Thunder would also get the ball. Once they had the ball, they would quickly get to work. With 1:35 left in the game, Tracy would connect with Jackson Miller on a 5 yard TD pass. The conversion was no good, but the score would push the Thunder into a 22-20 lead, that they would hold onto for the final score.
West Carroll was led by Derek Tracy, who finished the night going 12-24 passing for 162 yards and 2 TD's, and added 44 yards rushing with another TD. Kody Sipe contributed with 87 yards rushing, while Colton Ballard finished the night with 75 yards receiving and a score. Aiden Sullivan would pull in 37 receiving yards, while Michael Popkin had 20 receiving yards. West Carroll would finish the night with 337 offensive yards, and had 175 yards on the ground and 162 yards through the air.
For Galena, Peyton Bauer would lead the ground attack with 75 yards rushing on 16 carries and 1 TD. Isaac Stangl would add 28 yards rushing, while Henry Anderson was 10-16 passing with 123 yards and a score. Ethan Hefel was 1-1 passing with a 19 yard TD pass. Sam Hesselbacher would lead the receiving corp with 72 yards and a score, while Damian Stephanopoulos would have 41 yards receiving and a score. Galena would finish the night with 206 yards of total offense, with 142 yards passing and 64 yards rushing.
Next week, West Carroll will play host to Dakota, while Galena hits the road to take on Forreston.