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Chargers Pound West Prairie In Opener 69-6

The Illini West Charger football squad opened up their 2009 season with a convincing 69-6 win over the host Cyclones of West Prairie in Sciota.

The Chargers raced to a 40-0 lead after the first period and were never seriously challenged in the contest.

It was the 15th consecutive victory for the Class 3-A #1 ranked Chargers.

The Chargers got on board on their initial possession going 71 yards on only 2 plays.

The first play was a 68-yard pass from IW senior QB Michael Lafferty to classmate Jacob Schmudlach. Senior fullback Stefan Flynn rammed in to the endzone for the final 3 yards and 2009's first touchdown. IW led 6-0 after only 29 seconds of play.

A Cyclone fumble recovered by IW senior defensive tackle Carl Hartweg stopped West Prairie's first and best drive after a half dozen plays. The Chargers took quick advantage of the Cyclone miscue when IW halfback Ser Whitaker raced 54 yards around the left end to pay dirt. Whitaker's lightening strike gave IW a 12-0 advantage after only 3 minutes of play.

Another Cyclone turnover, this time deep in their own territory, set up another quick Charger score.

Lafferty again connected with Schmudlach, this time for a 9-yard TD toss.

Senior Ryan Wilhite split the uprights on a successful PAT kick for a 19-0 IW edge.

The Charger defense then got in on the scoring act on the next Cyclone offensive series.

Charger defensive end Kris Vincent scooped up a West Prairie fumble deep in Cyclone territory and scooted the final 3-yards to the endzone.

Wilhite again followed with a successful PAT boot for 26-0 Charger lead.

Illini West would add a pair of TD runs to close out the first quarter scoring.

Flynn picked up his second score on a 39-yard burst, while junior halfback Drake Schmudlach finished the scoring outburst with an 11-yard jaunt.

Wilhite added successful PAT kicks after both scores for an Illini West lead of 40-0 after the game's opening stanza.

The IW scoring continued in the 2nd period with three touchdowns and a safety. The TD's came on another Lafferty to Jacob Schmudlach TD pass (from Cyclones) and TD runs by Whitaker (16 yards) and Aaron Carroll (9 yards).

The safety came on an errant snap on a Cyclone punt.

Wilhite added 3 more successful PAT kicks following each of the Charger TD's. IW led 63-0 at the intermission.

The second half was played with a continuous clock and a flood of Charger reserves.

West Prairie finally got on board late in the 3rd period while final IW score came on a 21-yard run by junior halfback Trey Ourth early in the 4th quarter.

Offensively, the Chargers amassed 439 yards on only 24 plays from scrimmage. This total included 326 yards rushing on 19 carries by 8 different backs.

Whitaker led the way with 70 yards on only 2 carries, while Flynn added 65 yards on 4 attempts.

Drake Schmudlach chipped in 47 yards, Aaron Carroll added 46, and Trey Bartlett picked up 45.

Cody Carson added a single carry for 27 yards, Ourth had the 21-yard TD run, and junior fullback Kyle Huss had one attempt for 5 yards.

Lafferty connected successfully on all 5 of his pass attempts for 113 yards.

Jacob Schmudlach caught 4 of those passes for 85 yards, while senior end Zack Burling added one catch for 28 yards.

The Charger offensive line helped produce much of this massive offensive total while doing a good job protecting Lafferty in the pocket.

Besides Jacob Schmudlach and Burling at the tight end spots, seniors Kris Vincent and Travis Wilson also saw action out at the end of the line.

The tackle spots were manned primarily by Carl Hartweg, Brogan, Smith, and Brian Lafferty, while Andy Boyer, Jack Carlisle, Mason Beals, and Brandon Gehle saw action at the guard position.

The center position saw Travis Hobby return as the starter and Jacob Jacoby fill-in as his backup.

The defensive side of the football was also a total domination by the Chargers.

West Prairie finished with 63 total yards, including 146 passing and 83 rushing.

Senior linebacker tops the tackle chart with 6 total tackles (solo's plus assists).

Fellow senior linebacker Mitch Beals chipped in 5 tackles, while Tim Yex and Kris Vincent each had 4.

Others on the tackle chart included Dakota Seaver, Dustin Carlisle, Carl Hartweg, Justin Graves, Seth Pilkington, Aaron Carroll, Kyle Huss, Jesse Holtsclaw, Cody Carson, Trey Bartlett, Russ Hutson, Travis Wilson, Brian Lafferty, Rod Rodeffer, Ryan Bolen, Dylan VanFleet, Brandon Gehle, Trey Ourth, Erick Klein, Travis Coo, and Zach Burling.

Hartweg recovered two Cyclone fumbles, while Kris Vincent and Travis Wilson recovered one each.

Hartweg, Graves, Yex, Vincent, Huss, Holtsclaw, and Hutson all recorded tackles for loss.

Overall the Chargers dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

The Chargers return to action this Friday night when they host the Bushnell-Prairie City/Avon Spartans at Fuzz Berges Field in Carthage. That contest will kick-off at 7:00 p.m.