STILLMAN VALLEY – It took Stillman Valley all of 5 minutes to turn a potential shootout into a blowout.
The Cardinals scored on their first six possessions, four of them on short runs by bruising fullback Zac Hare, on their way to a 64-6 victory over Rock Falls on Friday night. The entire fourth quarter was played with a running clock after Stillman Valley went up 50-6.
“Coming into this game, Rock Falls was really on a roll offensively,” Stillman Valley coach Mike Lalor said. “We hadn’t seen a spread team yet, so we were kind of curious to see how we would adjust.”
Rock Falls crept to within 8-6 with 8:07 left in the first quarter when Jacob Mammosser hooked up with Austin Donoho for a 69-yard touchdown strike. The pass itself went for about 15 yards, then Donoho weaved his way through a bewildered Cardinals defense the rest of the way.
That, however, turned out to be the extent of the Rock Falls offense. The Rockets piled up yards (329 of them, to be exact), but were consistently turned away in the red zone.
Stillman’s defense provided an exclamation point, in the form of a 35-yard pick-six by reserve linebacker Mason Tomash with 4:29 left in the fourth quarter. The Cardinal reserves also prevented a TD in the game’s final seconds.
The Cardinals (6-0, 4-0 Big Northern West) rolled up 401 yards rushing, with the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Hare (17-100, 4 TDs) leading the way. Eddie Torrance added 93 yards on just six carries, with two more scores.
“With it being homecoming, we came out fired up,” Hare said. “The offensive line, they did an incredible job of plowing people over. You can’t have good runs without a good offensive line.”
The Cards fumbled on their first two possessions of the second half, delaying an inevitable running clock. They were also penalized nine times for 65 yards.
“There’s a lot of little things we need to get cleaned up,” Lalor said.
Rock Falls ran for just 40 yards, was 1-for-6 on fourth-down gambles, and was 0-for-2 on onside kicks. Injuries are also mounting, as the team is down to just four healthy varsity linemen.
“Their fullback [Hare] is a horse, and he got 7 or 8 yards before we were able to get him on the ground,” Rock Falls coach Scott Berge said, “and on offense, we couldn’t run the ball. We were totally one-dimensional out there, and that’s not going to cut it against a team like Stillman.”