KEWANEE – When the Bureau Valley defense needed a stop against Kewanee, it couldn’t seem to get off the field.
Kewanee used a back-breaking 12-play, 70-yard drive in the fourth quarter to clinch a 33-19 win over the Storm in Three Rivers Conference crossover game at Kewanee High School on Friday night.
Led by senior quarterback David Washburn, the Boilermakers (3-1) chewed up exactly 7 minutes off the clock in the final quarter. The drive killed any momentum the Storm (1-3) had gained after a 55-yard touchdown pass from Parker Neuhalfen to Josh Mead cut the deficit within one score.
Washburn ran for 53 of his game-high 188 yards on the decisive drive, including a 17-yard run on a critical 4th-and-2, and then three plays later, a 19-yard scramble for a touchdown with 2:32 left in the game.
“Our execution wasn’t where it needed to be on that play, and that has been the story of our season,” Storm coach Jeff Ohlson said. “Our execution needs to be better.”
Washburn passed the credit on to his offensive line for his big night.
“I had pretty big openings because the line did a good job blocking their guys,” said Washburn, who also threw for three touchdowns. “This is probably the hardest team we’ve had to play this year. We knew we had to bring it.”
After BV went up 7-0 in the first quarter on a 44-yard touchdown pass from Neuhalfen to Jake Smith, Kewanee scored 19 points in a span of just over 7 minutes.
Washburn threw a touchdown pass to Trayvond Taylor to tie the game, ran for a 30-yard touchdown on the next possession. After the Storm fumbled the ensuing kickoff, he passed to Austin VerVynck for a 50-yard score on a halfback screen.
The Storm found themselves playing catchup the rest of the night.
Neuhalfen finished with 186 yards passing and three touchdowns. Tommy Johnston led the Storm in receiving with three receptions for 62 yards, including a spectacular touchdown catch in the second quarter in which he leaped over a Kewanee defender to make the grab.
Johnston also had a second touchdown called back due to offensive pass interference during a critical moment in the third quarter.
The loss marks the third in a row for the Storm, but senior linebacker Bryan Arteberry believes the Storm can turn things around, starting next week at home against Erie-Prophetstown.
“We have a good team and we are a tight-knit group,” said Arteberry. “We just have to pull together and get it done.”
“Our backs are against the wall,” Ohlson said. “We can’t sit here and think about what happened. We have work to do and we have to move forward. Somewhere along the line we lost something and we have to go back and find it.”