Week 2: Du-Pec vs EPC
In week 2, the EPC Wildcatz opened their home schedule against the Du-Pec Rivermen. Last week, EPC traveled to Lena-Winslow and suffered a rough defeat at the hands of the Panthers 50-6, dropping them to 0-1. On the other side of the ball, Du-Pec had a solid victory over Amboy 58-7 to start their 2019 campaign 1-0.
Friday nights match-up was a true classic in Lanark. A long and wild game kicked off in the 1st Quarter with a great touchdown drive by EPC. The Wildcatz mixed in a balanced offense led by senior quarterback Lane Christians. EPC started on their own 39 yard line and drove the ball the length of the field where Braeden Heeren capped off the drive with a powerful fullback dive with a 2 yard touchdown run. The 2 point conversion was good making the score 8-0 EPC.
The Du-Pec Rivermen were not phased by the first possession touchdown by the Wildcatz. Quarterback Hunter Hoffman showed off his arm strength and pin point accuracy on their first drive. Starting on their own 24 yard line, the Rivermen completed 3 passes and ran the ball a couple of times to cover the length of the field. Hoffman and the Rivermen offense utilized deep post routes to slice through the Catz defense leading to a 16 yard touchdown catch by Gabe Howard. The score after the missed extra point was 8-6, with 6:10 left in the 1st quarter.
In the 2nd Quarter, the Rivermen had a chance at taking the lead when they drove the ball deep inside inside EPC territory. The Rivermen's drive stalled out and missed a field goal attempt that would have secured the lead for Du-Pec. However, after EPC's offense stalled out, Du-Pec got the ball trailing by 2 points with 2:52 left in the half. After two plays EPC's Carson Clouse intercepted Hoffman. EPC now had the ball with a little over 2 minutes left in the half. After putting together a good looking drive the Wildcatz fumbled after a completed pass to Travis Kaney. Unfortunately for the Rivermen, they didnt have enough time left in the half to put together a drive, and the half ended with the EPC leading 8-6.
Thus far the game had been a series of good possessions that did not result in scores, however the 3rd quarter is where things started to get wild. On the very first play of the 2nd half Du-Pec's running-back fumbled the ball, and Braydin Preston recovered for the Catz. EPC took over and ran the ball 8 times for 32 yards before the Rivermen defense stood tall and stripped the ball out of the hands out of Braeden Heeren on the goal line, preventing a touchdown dash. The Rivermen took over on offense on the 1 yard line with their backs in the endzone. Just wanting to give themselves a little breathing room, Du-Pec attempted to run a simple dive out of the endzone with their running back, however the ball was stripped in the endzone and recovered by Carson Clouse for an EPC touchdown. This made the score 16-6 with 7:06 left in the 3rd. Du-Pec and EPC had chances to add to the score, however both defenses stood tall for a couple of drives before Du-Pec got the ball with 3:37 left in the 3rd on their own 40 yard line. Once again Hoffman and the Riverman offense drove the length of the field, and this time capped off their drive with a 12 yard touchdown run by Trenton Taylor. They added an extra point making the score 16-13.
Du-Pec's kickoff strategy all night was to kick the ball as deep as possible and try to pin the Catz offense deep, however on the ensuing kickoff Braydin Preston made the Rivermen special teams pay. Key blocks and great heads-up running allowed Preston to spring a 94 yard kickoff return to make the score 22-13 after an unsuccessful 2 point conversion attempt. The 3rd quarter action wasn't quite over even though the Rivermen took over with 29 seconds to play. On the very first play after the kickoff return, Hoffman completed a 47 yard pass to Eli Smith for a touchdown. The field goal was good making the score 22-20.
The 4th quarter started with a great EPC drive. After a 10 possession drive the Wildcats tried a QB pitch to his halfback however a fumbled ensued. The Rivermen's speedy WR/DB Gabe Howard recovered the fumbled and returned the turnover to the endzone for 77 yards. After the two point conversion was good the score was now 28-22 with 6:25 left in the 4th.
On the next possession Du-Pec's defense stood tall and got the ball back with just 4:37 left in the 4th quarter. After a great punt return by Gabe Howard and a couple of runs by the Rivermen running-backs they elected to try and kick a field goal to extend their lead however this attempt was blocked by the Catz. EPC now had the ball with 2:20. EPC drove the length of the field and on an incredible grab by Carson Clouse corralled a tipped pass for a touchdown reception. The ensuing 2 point conversion failed however, which would have given EPC the outright lead, however the score was now 28-28. Du-Pec received the kickoff and decided to end the 4th and head to overtime.
In overtime Du-Pec lost the coin toss and was on offense first. Starting off with 2 incomplete passes Hoffman connected with Grant McCallips for a touchdown. Trenton Taylor ran in the 2 point conversion making the score 36-28. With the game on the line, Lane Christians punched in a touchdown run for the Catz making the score 36-34. With the two point conversion try coming up, the Rivermen stood up the fullback draw and ended the game after the stop. The Rivermen proved they will be a force to be reckoned with this year in the NUIC. After this win Du-Pec is 2-0 and EPC is now 0-2.
Du-Pec had 62 yards total rushing and 224 yards through the air. EPC rushed for 158 yards and passed for 200 yards.