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Week 4: Galena vs Stockton

Those who have watched the Galena-Stockton rivalry over the past 50 years would find the game on Saturday, April 10 as the quintessential game in the rivalry, yet one that has not been seen between these two teams in nearly two decades. The two teams when facing off in the past would take part in a defensive, gladiatorial showdown with the winner taking the crown for the ensuing year. Most years, a win in this series would mean the victor would be crowned the conference champion.

In a bizarre 2021 spring football season, a defensive Stockton-Galena football game brought back a sense of normalcy, a feeling that all is once again right in the world. Even though the game took place in Hazel Green, at newly renovated L.B. Carns Field, the competition was fierce from the start as penalty flags through due to extracurricular activity and the aggressive nature of the rivalry took center stage, even though at the start the offensive might of the Pirates looked like it would shine through.

In the opening possession, Galena was able to o on the back of two rushes from senior Peyton Bauer of 16 total yards to set up a 51-yard touchdown reception by senior Khalid Newton to put the Pirates up 6-0 with little time run off the clock.

Stockton would take over behind the three-headed rushing attack of senior trio Jason Hermann, Andrew Haas and Hunter Hille. The Blackhawks were able to advance the ball into Pirate territory, however an interception by Galena senior Ryan Holland halted the advance.

The Pirates returned on the field at their own 35-yard line but a pair of penalties and a sack set the Pirates back to a second down with 28 yards to go. A pass by Hefel was nabbed by Haas to return possession back to the maroon and gold.

A 17-play drive ensued for the Blackhawks, including one fourth down conversion by Haas. However, the Pirates were able to hold strong and stopped the Blackhawks at the three-yard line.

The Pirates lined up in the shadows of their own goalposts and were unable to advance the first down markers as they punted the ball back to their rivals.

A four-and-out and midfield, gave the Pirates the ball back at their own 19 yard line. A pass by junior Ethan Hefel to senior Conor Behr set up the Pirates at the 30-yard line. On the next play, Hefel gave a shuttle pass to Newton who took the ball 70 yards to the end zone to put the Pirates up 14-0 with 5:50 left before halftime.

Newton, competing in his first game of the rivalry, was the star of the game and head coach Ed Freed had high praise for the standout senior.

“He had a couple huge plays for us,” said Freed. “We thought it would be important to get the lead early because we didn’t know what the weather would be later in the game. He made a huge play on the first possession and gave us momentum.”

Stockton would once again embark on a long drive. A 12-play drive that began at midfield was capped by a Hermann three-yard touchdown run to put the Blackhawks back within striking distance at 14-6 with under a minute left in the half.

The second half would be a defensive showdown that also included untimely penalties for both teams and a few personal fouls as well as both teams started to get chippy with their opponents.

The Blackhawks would try to find momentum on their second possession of the half but a personal foul at the Pirate 28-yard line halted the drive and brought the Blackhawks back to their 40-yard line and after an illegal shift on the punt would give the Pirates the ball back at their own 20-yard line.

The Pirates would have a lengthy drive of their own, including a fourth-down run by Bauer to move the chains. The Pirates got the ball to the eleven-yard line, however a snap infraction at third-and-one would set the Pirates back and force them to pass the ball in the end zone. The pass was anticipated by senior defensive back Simon Rillie who intercepted the pass at the one-yard line.

In the shadows of their own goalpost now, the Blackhawks were able to get some plays churning and got the ball out to the 38 yard line, however an interception by senior Will Nack returned the ball back to the Pirates.

A four-and-out drive by the Pirates would give the Blackhawks one last chance to tie the score, and the team made a valiant effort and brought the ball to the Pirate 19-yard line, however an illegal shift by the Pirates backed the Blackhawks up five yards. A throw by junior Caleb Mammoser was picked off at the goal line by Nack to seal the victory for the Pirates.

By the numbers

The 20 points of total offense was the fewest in the rivalry since 2004, when Galena won 7-6. However, the game is close to the series average since 1938, which is a 26 point combined scoring average. During that time period, the Blackhawks have scored about 15 points per game on average in their rivalry matchup, while Galena has scored a little over 11.

The win was the first for the Pirates in the series since 2010, snapping a four-game skid. The four-game streak was the longest for the Pirates in the series since 1991-1994.

The win also gave Ed Freed his ninth win in the Galena-Stockton series, bringing his career record against the Blackhawks to 9-4; he holds a 6-1 record against the Blackhawks in the regular season since 2004. His career .692 winning percentage in the series is the most for any coach in the Stockton-Galena rivalry that has coached at least five games. John O’Boyle is second with a .676 winning percentage (25-13). Coach Chuck Korte and Galena’s William C. Summers both have .667 win percentages. Korte had a career 12-6 record and Summers had a 6-3 record from 1922-27.

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