Week 5: Du-Pec vs Galena
For the second week in a row, the Rivermen would host a homecoming game, and find themselves in a slug fest. Du-Pec was in search of their 4th win of the season, and second in a row, while Galena was trying to hold onto their playoff lives.
The Rivermen would strike quick, as Hunter Hoffman found Gabe Howard for a 58 yard touchdown connection just a 1:32 into the game. The Tyler Kormoczy kick was good, and the Rivermen were up 7-0. On the ensuing kick return, Galena's Duilio Moctezuma would take the kick the distance for a 90 yard touchdown return. Kevin Trinidad would add the extra point, and the game was tied at 7 with 10:08 left in the first quarter.
Just over 3 minutes later, Galena would take the lead as Ethan Hefel found Henry Anderson on a 38 yard touchdown pass with 6:41 left in the 1st quarter. The kick failed, but the Pirates held a 13-7 lead. Just as quick, Galena was on the run again, as Moctezuma ran the ball in from 15 yards out for the score. The Trinidad kick was good, and Galena looked to have an upset in the making as they led 20-7 with 4:31 left in the 1st quarter.
On their next possession, the Rivermen would finally answer, as Hoffman ran it in from 12 yards out as time was running out to end the 1st quarter. Kormoczy's kick was good, and Du-Pec would close the gap to 20-14 heading to the 2nd quarter.
After all the quick scoring in the first quarter, the second quarter would slow way down. With 2:28 left to halftime, Hoffman connected with Tre Stifter for 28 yards and a score. Another Kormoczy kick would give the Rivermen the lead for the first time since the 10:28 mark of the 1st quarter, as the took a 21-20 lead into half time.
In the third quarter, Galena was threatening as they found themselves deep into Rivermen territory. A costly bad snap put the Pirates back 23 yards, setting up a third and 33 from the Du-Pec 49 yard line. Hefel would connect with Ryan Holland for a big 30 yard gain to bring the Pirates to a 4th and 3 at the Rivermen 19 yard line, but the ensuing play was stopped by Du-Pec to force a turnover on downs.
Du-Pec would use that momentum to put a drive together. Behind the legs of Justin Wishard, the arm of Hoffman, and the hands of Gabe Howard and Tre Stifter, the Rivermen kept marching down the field. As they switched ends of the field heading into the 4th quarter, Wishard busted off a big run right up the gut, before being tripped up. A couple plays later, Wishard would get the ball in the endzone on a 10 yard run. The extra point kick failed, but Du-Pec held a 27-20 lead with 10:39 to go.
Galena would start to drive again, as they made it to midfield, but were eventually forced to punt. Du-Pec just needed to chew up clock, but Galena wasn't ready to let that happen, and stopped the Rivermen quickly. Getting the ball back again, the Pirates went on the attack. Sitting with a 4th down situation, Galena failed to convert, turning the ball over on downs as the skies opened up with 3:26 to go. Du-Pec was going to have a 1st and 10, and then lightning struck. After a 45 minute delay, it was game on. The Pirates stood tall once again. As Du-Pec faced a 4th and 14, they let the time run off the clock before calling a time out. Sending out the punt team with just under 2 minutes to go, Galena would have one last chance.
The Pirates began to move the ball, desperately watching the clock with no timeouts left. With about a minute left on the clock, Hefel dropped back to pass, looked right and found a receiver open on the right sideline. A slip on a rain soaked field, the ball bounced off his hands into the air, and Du-Pec's Tre Stifter came behind the play to make the interception and seal the victory for the Rivermen. Du-Pec would survive to win 27-20 in a hard fought contest by both teams.
With the win, Du-Pec improves to 4-1 as they travel to Stockton next week. Galena falls to 0-5, and out of playoff contention. The Pirates will host Amboy in week 6, as they look for their first win of the season.
Leading the way for Du-Pec was Hunter Hoffman, who went 10-17 passing for 185 yards and 3 touchdowns, while also adding 16 yards rushing with a touchdown. Gabe Howard had 105 yards receiving on 5 receptions with 1 touchdown, Tre Stifter added 43 yards receiving with a touchdown, the big interception, and 49 yards rushing, and Justin Wishard had 96 yards rushing with 1 touchdown.
For the Pirates, Ethan Hefel went 7-18 passing with 118 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Henry Anderson had 38 yards receiving with 1 touchdown, Conor Behr added 43 yards receiving, and Ryan Holland had 30 yards receiving. Duilio Moctezuma had the 90 yard kickoff return touchdown and 51 yards rushing with another touchdown, while Damian Stephanopoulos had 70 yards rushing.