OREGON – Execution and ball control were the difference in Oregon’s 13-7 victory over Johnsburg on Friday at Landers-Loomis Field.
“They were efficient in their execution and precise in their blocking,” Johnsburg coach Mike Maloney said. “And the running backs hit the holes they were designed to hit. That’s a sign of great coaching.”
It was classic Oregon ground attack with a slight twist that led to the first score. Toward the end of an 18-play, 68-yard drive, the Hawks faced two fourth-down situations.
Both times, it was first-year quarterback Jerrick Orsted connecting with Chris Jordan for pass completions, the second time for an 11-yard score.
“That was the key, eating up the clock,” Oregon fullback Garrett Rude said.
Oregon took 10 and half minutes off the clock on its first drive and another seven on its second.
After mistake-prone Johnsburg had 95 yards of pass completions called back for penalties on the next drive, the Hawks got the ball back on their own 39-yard line.
Fourteen plays later, sophomore Caleb Mennen crashed into the end zone from 3 yards out for a 13-0 Hawk lead.
“Overall, I was pretty pleased,” Oregon coach John Bothe said. “With its quarterback and skilled kids, Johnsburg is on par with the best in the Big Northern. This is a good team we beat.”
“They were quick,” Hawk linebacker Josh Cook said. “Our defensive backs did a good job of contain.”
With 41 seconds left in the first half, officials sent both teams to the Blackhawk Center because of lightning.
After the weather delay, the Skyhawks closed the gap to 13-7 midway through the third quarter on a Brengman 14-yard run.
“Nobody in Johnsburg wants to win more than him,” Maloney said.
The drive was aided by a first-time (non-warning) sideline violation by Oregon, which prevented the Skyhawks from a fourth-down situation.
Johnsburg appeared to have momentum on its side, forcing a Hawk punt on the next possession.
That punt was fumbled by Johnsburg’s Blake Lemcke. Oregon’s Kole Mowry, one of two starting sophomore linemen, recovered the miscue at midfield.
“All three sophomores [Mowry, Mennen and Anthony Marchetti] had good games,” Bothe said.
Oregon managed to put together a 10-play drive before turning the ball over on downs.
Taking over at its own 11-yard-line, Brengman made a gutty 9-yard run on fourth-and-8 to keep the drive alive. Johnsburg faced another fourth down at midfield, and this time 300-pound Matt Crandall stopped Brengman for no gain.
“Maybe we got the better of them in the line,” Bothe said. “I was also pleased we didn’t give up the big play.”
The Hawks ran the clock out to preserve the victory. On third-and-8, Orsted faked out the Skyhawks, and ran nine yards on the option to keep the drive alive.
“Orsted was very poised. He’ll allow us to expand,” Bothe said.