Week 5: Stockton vs East Dubuque
Warriors, Blackhawks battle in ED
EAST DUBUQUE– The East Dubuque Warriors (1-4) faced off against the Stockton Blackhawks (2-3) in an NUIC matchup with both teams hungry for a win and hoping to build momentum for the remainder of the season.
Stockton coming off a defeat to rival Galena, wanted to show that they were better than the scores have shown lately.
“We backed ourselves into a corner in those games, I asked them how they would respond,” said Leitzen. “The kids understood the message and that tells me a lot about what we got.”
On homecoming night, the lights were shining bright for East Dubuque and Stockton, but East Dubuque had to work out of an early deficit.
One of the changes that Stockton made from the previous weeks was how they approached the coin toss, deciding to receive the opening kick. “The talk at the school was that we have been deferring the kick and we decided to change that up,” said Matt Leitzen, Stockton head coach. “We just needed to do something different.”
The Blackhawks running game was on point at the start of the game as Dustin Oppold scored the first touchdown of the game with a two-yard plunge into the end zone to give the Blackhawks a 7-0 lead with 7:53 left in the opening quarter. “I thought we played very well and that first drive and got some stuff going,” said Leitzen.
In the second quarter, Stockton found the end zone once again with a 16-yard scamper by Ian Broshous, who recently returned from an injury. Broshous gave the visitors a 14-0 lead with 9:00 left before the halftime break.
“Getting Broshous back made a difference,” said Leitzen. “He sprung a couple and he hits that at a different pace.”
East Dubuque was able to put up their lone score of the opening half on the ensuing possession with a 40-yard dash by Sam Huntington. A failed two-point conversion resulted in a 14-6 lead for the Blackhawks with 6:09 left in the second quarter.
With 2:43 left until half, Broshous once again found the end zone with a 33-yard run to cushion the Blackhawks lead before intermission, 21-6.
The start of the second half looked similar to the previous quarter as the Blackhawks continued to exert their control over the Warriors. A 75-yard pass to the right from Caleb Mammoser to Drew Mensendike gave the Blackhawks a 27-6 lead at the start of the third quarter.
The Warriors found themselves digging out of a hole on their next possession after a run pushed the Warriors back to 2nd and 12 and the ensuing play resulted in a 12-yard sack by the stingy Blackhawks defense. With the Warriors behind the chains, the home team punted to the Blackhawks to set up another scoring opportunity.
A seven-play drive, which resulted in seven carries by a trio of Blackhawk running backs set up a 26-yard run by Stockton’s Parker Luke with 3:06 left in the third quarter to give Stockton a 35-6 lead.
The Warriors have been resilient throughout the season and the last 15 minutes of the ball game showcased their fight. “It is the story of our season,” said East Dubuque coach Joe Edler. “We are playing a good two quarters and the other two we can’t play. You can’t knock the resiliency of our kids.”
The Warriors have been dealt with devastating injuries this year which has forced Edler and his staff to play underclassman. “We had a freshman starting tonight and three freshmen that are playing really well,” said Edler. “At the end of the day, our underclassmen are doing well. We have had kids step up.”
A pass from Sam Bowman to Brevin Lee for 35 yards set up the Warriors deep in Stockton’s end of the field. Another pass to Lee was flagged for defensive pass interference, giving the Warriors a first-and-goal from the Stockton nine-yard line. A run around the right by Huntington cut the Blackhawk lead to 35-12 as the clock hit 0:00 in the third quarter.
The Warriors defense held the Blackhawks at midfield on their next possession to give the home team the ball back and momentum building on their side. A pass from Bowman to Lee for 35 years set up the Warriors back on Stockton’s half of the field. From the 20-yard line Bowman dialed up a laser to Lee in the end zone for another Warrior score, cutting the lead to a two-possession game, 35-20 with 8:17 left.
Stockton tried to eat up the clock running the ball on the ground, but were unable to get deep into East Dubuque’s side of the field, being forced to punt from the East Dubuque 47-yard line.
A pass from East Dubuque’s 25-yard line by Bowman to Zach Freiburger on the next possession for 23 yards set up the Warriors in a position to score once again. However, an interception on a halfback pass gave the Blackhawks the ball back. The Warriors forced the Blackhawks to punt once again, but were unable to find the end zone giving the Blackhawks a 35-20 win.
“We have four more weeks left,” said Edler. “We will have some changes this week, but we have to play four full quarters and that is something we have to figure out.”