Week 2: Du-Pec vs Stockton
At the beginning of the season you always look at the schedule and figure out where you feel your biggest games will be. Looking at the schedule for this spring it was obvious that week 2 in Stockton would be an intriguing matchup between Stockton and Du-Pec. Both teams return key players on both sides of the ball from playoff teams a season ago, but the Blackhawks took care of business shutting out the Rivermen 28-0. Friday night brought a little redemption back, as a locked up game at halftime turned in favor of the Rivermen in the second half as Du-Pec walked out of John O'Boyle triumphantly, beating the Blackhawks 28-6.
The Rivermen started hot out of the gates, moving the ball down field in just a 1:20 for 66 yards behind the scorching hot right arm of Hunter Hoffman. After missing on his first pass, Hoffman would connect on his next 4 passes to Gabe Howard, Tre'Von Stifter, Trenton Taylor, and then Howard again, this time for a 26 yard scoring play. The PAT kick was no good, but Du-Pec had the lead 6-0 with 10:40 to play in the 1st quarter.
The Blackhawks would begin a steady drive on their first series on the legs of Jason Hermann and a couple dives by Hunter Hille. At the Rivermen 10 yard like and looking like they would score, Caleb Mammoser dropped back to pass to the right pylon and Gabe Howard was there for the interception to thwart the scoring drive.
Du-Pec would not get a good start on series 2 as a block in the back penalty on the interception had them at their own 6 yard line. A false start and a delay of game had them at their 1.5 yard line pretty quickly. The Rivermen would get out of the situation slightly, but were forced to punt from their own 12 yard line.
The ensuing Stockton series had them begin at the Du-Pec 44 yard line. Back to the run game behind Hermann and Hille the Blackhawks would pound their way to the 4 yard line before Hermann plowed through up the middle to tie the score. The PAT try was no good and the game was tied at 6 with 9:25 to go until half.
Things look like they would go in favor of the Blackhawks as they forced Hoffman to fumble and fell on the ball at their own 37 yard line, but the drive would end at their own 33 yard line. On the punt, the Rivermen couldn't corral it in and Jaden Rice fell on it for Stockton. This gave the Blackhawks more momentum as they would start the drive at the Rivermen 40 yard line. However, after only 7 yards the Rivermen would take over on downs.
The score would remain the same at half, and the second half would be dominated by the Rivermen. Du-Pec started every offensive series on Stockton's side of the field in the second half, and on the flip side Stockton couldn't get past the 50 yard line.
Bryce Fitzanko would put the Rivermen back on top with a 3 yard TD run at the 6:51 mark in the 3rd quarter. The very next series saw Hoffman connect with Howard again for a 35 yard TD pass as Howard was wide open in the front of the end zone as Hoffman was forced out of the pocket to his right, scrambled, and spotted Howard downfield with a perfect strike at the 3:30 mark in the 3rd quarter.
The Rivermen would then onside kick and Jacob Fowler would recover it for Du-Pec. A quick 3 and out forced the Rivermen to punt, but Stockton botched it when the punt hit a player who didn't see the ball. Du-Pec's Jake Anderson was able to jump on it, but the Du-Pec drive would end at the Stockton 5 yard line.
The Blackhawks continued to run the ball, but were forced into 3rd and long situations resulting in punts to end their drives. At the 9:22 mark in the 4th quarter Du-Pec began the drive at the Stockton 45 yard line. They would get to the Stockton 16 yard line before being forced to kick a field goal. Kicker Tyler Kormoczy would just miss left on a 30 yard field goal attempt, which gave the Blackhawks the ball at their own 20 yard line.
Down two scores and desperate, Stockton turned to the pass, however Mammoser would find the arms of Rivermen defender Trenton Taylor instead. Du-Pec would take over at the Stockton 35 yard line, and a big 25 yard pass from Hoffman to Howard moved the ball to the 10 yard line. On 2nd and goal from the 10, Hoffman would connect with Stifter for the 10 yard TD. The Kormoczy PAT kick was good as Du-Pec increased the lead to 28-6 with 3:51 left in the game.
The very next series would see Taylor pick off his 2nd pass of the game and put the game on ice for the Rivermen.
The Rivermen were led by Hunter Hoffman who finished the night going 21-35 for 304 yards and 3 TD's. Gabe Howard hauled in 6 passes for 125 yards and 2 TD's, while receiving mate Tre Stifter had 6 receptions for 95 yards and 1 TD. Trent Hetland chipped in with 5 receptions for 34 yards, while Jacob Fowler paced the rushing attack with 40 yards on 12 attempts. Bryce Fitzanko had 2 carries for 8 yards and a TD.
Stockton was led by Jason Hermann with 74 yards rushing on 23 attempts and 1 TD. Hunter Hille finished the night with 10 attempts for 45 yards. Caleb Mammoser was 3-7 passing for 20 yards, but had 3 interceptions on the night.
Du-Pec (1-1) will return to Wyeth Stadium in Rockford next week as they play host to Dakota (0-1). Stockton (0-2) will remain at home for week 3 where they will play host to Rockford Christian (0-0).