In a game that featured former conference rivals now meeting up in a crossover match, the Aquin Bulldogs would play host to the Stockton Blackhawks in a great night for football at Conley Field. Stockton has owned the Bulldogs in the regular season, covering the majority of the last decade. Entering 2019, with a new look by both teams, you had a feeling this game could tip in the favor of the host Bulldogs, and it did rather early.
Aquin would open the game with the ball, starting with field position at their own 38 yard line. The Dawgs would hit the ground early, feeding the rock to Ethan Yount almost relentlessly, riding him for the first 40 yards as he picked up 10 yards per carry on average. On the very next play, Aquin QB Will Gustafson would fake the dive to Yount, tuck the ball in himself, and dart off the left guard for a 22 yard TD jaunt that would put the Dawgs on the board emphatically, and quickly. A failed extra point would leave the score at 6-0.
The next 2 possessions would see both teams exchange punts, but on Aquin's third possession, they went back to work. Once again, a 6 yard run by Yount would set up a 42 yard scamper by Gustafson for the score, and with 3:23 left in the 1st quarter, once the extra point try was good, Aquin was up 13-0.
Aquin would quickly force another Stockton punt, and take over at their own 42 yard line. Gustafson had a few quick hit passes to Ty Stykel, for 25 yards on 4 completions, and then hit Andrew Bowman on a 31 yard TD pass over two defenders on the left side of the field with 4 seconds remaining in the 1st quarter. After the extra point try the Dawgs were up 20-0 to end the first quarter scoring, and it appeared a route would be on.
The Blackhawks would show no quit, however, as the 2nd quarter started up. Taking over at midfield, the Hawks were finally able to get the ball moving as Garrett Buske was able to hit Austin Chumbler for 9 yards and Hunter Hille for 14 yards, setting up an Andrew Haas 18 yard TD run. The two point try was successful, and Stockton cut the lead to 20-8 in favor of Aquin with 9:46 left in the game.
On the ensuing Aquin drive, Gustafson would fake a dive, pull the ball back, but in the process fumbled it away. Falling on the ball was Stockton's Zach Cook at the Aquin 45 yard line. This time, the Hawks would go to the ground, feeding Jason Hermann off tackle that would begin opening up as the Bulldogs defense became tired. A 13 yard strike through the air from Buske to Hermann would set up another 1st down deep in Bulldogs territory, and then a few runs with Haas, Hille, and Hermann would find Stockton inside the 5 yard line. Facing a 2nd and goal at the 1 yard line, Hermann would take a dive up the middle for the score. The two point try was no good, and Aquin would cling to a 20-14 lead with 8:03 before the half.
The Bulldogs would regain some control on the very next drive, as they would chew up some clock, 3:02 to be exact, before Stykel would punch the ball in from 8 yards out to extend the Bulldog lead to 27-14 with 4:01 left in the half, a lead that would remain the same at halftime.
Opening second half drives for both teams would see them stall on turnover on downs, but it was Aquin who would begin to open it up, as Gustafson would take the snap, have a quick toss out to the left side of the field where he found Andrew Bowman once again, who picked up a great seal block by Aiden Gassman that would turn into a 66 yard TD pass play. After the extra point try, Aquin was up 34-14, a lead that would hold entering the 4th quarter.
Once again, the Bulldog defense would force Stockton to turn the ball over on downs, and facing a short field this time thanks in large part to a sack and a run stop for a 5 yard loss on defense, the Dawgs went back to Stykel on the ground that would eventually set up two tries for Gustafson to punch it in from a yard out, the second one allowing him to score. This would push the Bulldog lead to 40-14 with 9:43 left in the game.
Stockton would get on the board one more time, as Buske connected with Hille on an 8 yard TD pass that would pull the score to 40-22 in favor of Aquin, but it was a little too late as the Dawgs would end up winding down the clock with that score becoming the final.
For the night, Aquin was led by Will Gustafson who went 9-11 passing for 149 yards 2 TD, and had 67 yards rushing on 7 carries with another TD. Ty Stykel would chip in 109 yards rushing on 14 carries with 1 TD and 24 yards receiving, while Andrew Bowman had 98 yards receiving on 4 receptions with 2 TD. Brennan Carlson would add 25 yards receiving, and Ethan Yount finished the night with 60 yards rushing on 6 carries before leaving the game early due to an injury.
The Blackhawks were led by Jason Hermann, who had 112 rushing yards on 24 carries and 1 TD. Andrew Haas chipped in with 43 yards rushing on 6 carries and a TD, while Hunter Hille had 35 yards on the ground and 37 yards receiving with a score. Garrett Buske was 8-12 passing for 57 yards and 1 TD.
Next week Aquin (2-0) will hit the road to take on Milledgeville (0-2), while Stockton (1-1) will finish up their crossover schedule at home with AFC (0-2) before entering the conference meat grinder.