Week 2: Du-Pec vs Forreston
The NUIC Game of the Week dominated by the Rivermen
Pecatonica - Entering the 2021 season has seen a new conference alignment for the NUIC, and with it we see at least one marquee matchup every week that has state playoff or conference championship stakes to it. In week 2, this game was no different as the Du-Pec Rivermen played host to the Forreston Cardinals on Senior Night for Pecatonica.
Right from the start of the game there was a noticeable difference, as Du-Pec Head Coach Tyler Hoffman was not on the sidelines. No need to worry there, as his staff of assistants led by Jake Dalton and Kyle Nolen took command of the ship for the Rivermen. And starting on the first play from scrimmage the Rivermen would force a Forreston fumble as AJ Mulcahy would jump on the ball at the Cardinal 37 yard line to give Du-Pec great field position.
The Rivermen, known for their passing attack, worked on establishing the run game first, as Trenton Taylor would be credited with a rush on the first swing pass of the night from Hunter Hoffman as the pass was a backward lateral, but the Cards were all over it for a 2 yard loss. On the very next play Taylor would take the ball up the gut for a 1 yard gain. No need to worry, however, as Hoffman would connect with Taylor for 14 yards on 3rd down to move the chains. Another series of runs didn't bode well for Du-Pec, but Hoffman would connect with Trent Hetland for 11 yards and another 1st down. After a 6 yard run, Taylor would get the ball again and punch it in from 10 yards out. The 2 point try was good as Du-Pec took the early 8-0 lead with 7:05 remaining in the 1st quarter.
On the very next Forreston possession they would put the ball on the turf again, this time with the Rivermen's Tyler Lucas falling on it at the Forreston 47 yard line. The Cardinal defense would tighten up to shut down Du-Pec on their next possession as the score remained 8-0 heading into the 2nd quarter.
Both teams would exchange punts, but on Forreston's 4th possession of the night Coach Keynon Janicke took a gamble out of former Coach Denny Diduch's play call sheet and went for it on 4th and short. The Rivermen would come up and stop Noah Johnson short of the first down marker as they would take the ball over on downs at the Cardinal 39 yard line. Mixed with some runs and passes the Rivermen would get the ball to the 17 yard line. On the next play it was AJ Mulcahy with an impressive 17 yard run that saw him side step one defender, spin move another, and then force his way into the end zone. The extra point failed, but Du-Pec was up 14-0 with 9:23 remaining until halftime.
The Cardinals would put a drive together, set up primarily on a Logan Dyson pass to Jacob Fiorello that would put them past the 50 yard line for the first time on the night. After a couple short yard rushing attempts the Cards would go to the air again down the left sideline, but this time the Rivermen's Bo Seaton would step in front of the pass around the 10 yard line and return it back to the Du-Pec 34 yard line.
Du-Pec would flip the field again, set up by a Hoffman to Hetland connection for 35 yards. The Rivermen would lose some steam as they would turn the ball over on downs at the Forreston 29 yard line with 1:08 remaining until half.
On the ensuing Cardinal drive, they would have a nice run by Devonte King-Black, but the ensuing play resulted in disaster as the Cards would put the ball on the turf for the 3rd time, resulting in their 4th turnover of the first half as Du-Pec linebacker Drake Fortson was all over it giving the Rivermen the ball at the Forreston 42 yard line with 14 seconds remaining.
On the first play Hoffman dropped back and found Bryce Fitzanko across the middle for an 18 yard gain to the Cardinal 24 yard line. The Rivermen would call the timeout to talk things over, and after the quick break Hoffman would drop back again and found Seaton on a 10 yard post route and connected in stride as Seaton's speed would do the rest from there giving Du-Pec an unexpected score to close out the half with a 20-0 lead.
In the second half both teams would struggle on their first possessions. On Du-Pec's 2nd possession they would start the drive at the Forreston 41 yard line. Led by the rushing of Taylor and Mulcahy, the Rivermen would chew up clock and drive the ball to the Forreston 4 yard line, but they would stall and turn the ball over on downs.
The defense would hold tough after a Noah Johnson run moved the Cards out of the shadow of their goal post, but another call to go for it on 4th and short failed as the Rivermen stuffed Johnson at the line of scrimmage to turn the ball over.
Hoffman would connect with Seaton on an 8 yard pass, then again for a 6 yard touchdown connection to put the final nail in the coffin. The 2 point try was successful as the Riverment took the lead 28-0 with a 1:05 left in the 3rd quarter. The 4th quarter would end scoreless as both teams would exchange punts twice and the defenses stood tall.
With the win, the Rivermen move to 2-0 as they head into another NUIC feature game when they travel to Fulton (2-0) on Friday. The Cards fall to 1-1 as they head into a rivalry game in Lanark with EPC (0-2) on Friday.
Leading the way for Du-Pec was Bo Seaton, who hauled in 5 passes for 63 yards and 2 TD's, while also getting an interception and 2 tackles on defense. Trenton Taylor had 21 rushed for 95 yards with a TD, while picking up 3 tackles on defense. AJ Mulcahy ran the ball 10 times for 52 yards and a TD, and picking up 8 tackles and a fumble recovery on defense. The passing game was led by Hunter Hoffman, who went 13-23 for 165 yards and 2 TD's.
For the Cardinals, they were led by Devonte King-Black with 35 yards rushing on 10 attempts and Noah Johnson who finished with 31 yards rushing on 11 attempts. Jacob Fiorello contributed 28 yards rushing 7 attempts and a 24 yard reception.