"We sure had our opportunities to get that go-ahead touchdown, especially in the second half," noted WCHS head coach Matthew Kettler. "When you get the ball in the red zone that many times, you've got to come away with some points."
Webster (2-2) showed the ability to move the football in almost every possession. The Trojans finished with 234 total yards, compared to Reidland's 268. Several big plays by the Trojans pushed the ball deep into RHS territory, but the Greyhounds were equal to the task with a very strong goal-line defense.
Riding the strong legs of running back Colin Spink, Reidland scored on the first offensive series of the game. The talented junior, who rushed for a season-high 219 yards on 37 carries, slipped through the WCHS line and sprinted to the Webster 16, highlighting the 8- play, 60 yard scoring march. Josh Herndon capped of the drive with a 2-yard TD run with 5:05 left in the first quarter. Taylor Space booted the extra point to give the Greyhounds a quick 7-0 lead.
Although the Webster defense would "bend" a little the rest of the game, it would not break ... keeping the Greyhounds out of the end zone the remainder of the game.
"We certainly played well enough to win, especially our defense. I was very pleased how well we got to the football and really made some nice plays to stop some of their drives," Kettler stated.
Webster looked to match the scoring drives on its first possession, traveling to the RHS 18. But a pair of penalties killed the momentum. A holding penalty moved the ball back to the 30 and then on fourth-and-10 at the 18, a motion penalty actually took points off the scoreboard. Landon Harting tossed a perfect strike to Derrick Douglas as he raced into the end zone. But the flag negated the touchdown and a sack of Harting by Reidland's Garrett Hinzman forced the Trojans to punt.
Webster's next offensive possession stalled at the midfield but a perfectly executed fake punt ended in WC's first fumble of the night. Harting took the snap and tossed another accurate pass, this time to Laken Benson who had slipped behind the Greyhound defense. The speedy senior sprinted all the way to the RHS 30 but was hit from behind and fumbled the ball.
Three plays later, Reidland returned the favor as Herndon was stripped of the ball at the Webster 48. That set the stage for the Trojans' only touchdown of the game.
The dynamic duo of Harting and Benson hooked-up again, this time a 33-yard pass reception to the RHS 17. Another pass from the Webster quarterback to Benson put the ball at the 8 yard line. After strong runs from Clay Putman and Jamey Kennada, the Trojans were sitting on the Greyhound 2 yard line. One play later, Kennada finished off the drive with the 2-yard TD run and 5:02 remaining in the first half. Kyle Welshans added the PAT to tie the game at 7-7.
Reidland (2-1) regained the lead on its next possession with a 25-yard field goal from Aubry Leigh and 1:53 left in the half. That set the final score of the game at 10-7. The Trojans looked to grab the momentum on their last drive of the half, moving all the way to the RHS 35. But another penalty and two incomplete passes killed the moved down field.
"Getting beat by just three points after you've had the ball at the goal line three times, that's a hard pill to swallow," Kettler stated. "Thankfully it's not a district game and we've just got to regroup and get better."
A Reidland fumble midway through the third quarter seemed to be just what the Trojans were looking for to jump-start their offense. After James Nance recovered the loose ball at the WCHS 44, the Trojans marched all the way to the 9 yard line, thanks to a outstanding pass reception by Douglas. Kennada powered his way to the 3 yard line on the next play.
Reidland stopped Douglas at the two on a swing pass from Harting forcing a fourth-and- goal at the 1 yard line. Kennada was denied the end zone on the play as the Greyhounds goal-line stand was successful.
The Trojans moved into Greyhound territory on every possession in the second half but just couldn't break through against the stingy RHS defense. Webster's final push for the go-ahead touchdown came midway through the fourth quarter after a strong defensive stand forced a Reidland punt. Benson returned the kick 15 yards to the WCHS 39. As the Greyhound defense focused on Benson and Douglas, Harting spotted a wide-open Zack Martin sprinting down the sidelines and he fired a bullet to the senior receiver who raced 32 yards to the RHS 28.
Kennada then rumbled to the 20 yard line on back-to-back carries. But again, the Greyhound defense stiffened inside the red zone and held the Trojans on a fourth-and-1 at the 19 yard line with 7:55 left in the game. Webster got the ball back one more time in the game but an interception by Reidland's Carlos Rayburn dashed any hopes of a WCHS comeback. Kettler did praise his defense, holding the Greyhounds to just three points after the touchdown on the opening drive.
"We seemed a little flat early in the game but after that score, our defense woke up and starting playing. We caused some turnovers and really put us in great position to score," the WCHS coach continued.
Kennada led the Trojans in rushing with 65 yards on 18 carries. Nance added 24 yards on seven totes as Webster managed just 66 yards on the ground. Harting enjoyed another good night throwing the football, connecting on 12-of-21 attempts for 168 yards. Benson had seven receptions for 96 yards while Douglas added 26 yards on two catches. Martin grabbed his first pass of the season for 32 yards. Michael Whitacker had one catch for four yards.
Webster returns to the friendly confines of Trojan Stadium this Friday and will host an always-tough Crittenden County squad. The Rockets will roll into Dixon with perfect 3-0 record, including a 61-8 thrashing of McLean County last week.
Posted by Karen Klay Orange - iSurf News
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