The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
The visiting Illini West Chargers used two big special team plays and a huge night from senior halfback Ser Whitaker to knock-off the host Macomb Bombers last Friday night 38-21.
The Chargers are now 4-0 on the season, while Macomb drops to 2-2.
Charger senior Colin Beals blocked a Bomber punt early in the first quarter, deep in Macomb territory, to set up Illini West's first score.
Fellow senior Kyle Huss plowed into the end zone two plays later to put the Chargers on the scoreboard. Halfback Drake Schumdlach added the two-point conversion for an 8-0 Charger advantage less than three minutes into the game.
The Bombers responded with an 80-yard, 7-minute drive to answer the Chargers first score. The successful Macomb pat kick set the margin at 8-7 in favor of Illini West.
The Chargers came right back to score in only two plays, with the big chunk of yardage coming on Whitakers 63-yard scoring run. The big burst was set up by good blocks on the Illini West left side by tight end Beals, tackle Brian Lafferty, and guard Jack Carlisle. Drake Schmudlach added his second successful conversion run for a 16-7 Charger edge.
Looking to capitalize on the momentum of the big run, the Chargers make their second big special teams play. This time Illini West kicker Jacob Jacoby executed an on-side kick on the ensuing kick-off and then recovered his own well-placed boot.
The recovery not only helped set up an IW score but opened Macomb an opportunity to do the same. Whitaker did the honors again, this time from only 2-yards out. The conversion run was stopped short, setting the score at 22-7 in favor of the visiting Chargers.
Macomb responded with another scoring drive midway through the second period. This allowed the Bombers to close the gap to 22-19 with about 7 minutes left in the half.
Whitaker and the Chargers would respond to the challenge with another big scoring run. This time the senior speedster would race around left end and gallop 66-yards to pay dirt. Drake Schmudlach added another successful conversion run for a 30-14 IW lead.
The score would remain that way until late in the third quarter when the visiting Chargers would put together a nice drive of their own. Mixing all 3 running backs, Illini West would eventually get close enough to pound it in the end zone from 2-yards out by fullback Kyle Huss. Drake Schmudlach would add his fourth successful conversion run for a 38-14 Illini West advantage.
Macomb finally got on the scoreboard again with only about a minute to play. The Bomber TD and PAT kick set the game's final score at 38-21 in favor of Illini West. The inevitable Bomber onside kick was secured by Charger tight end Dylan Pieper to essentially bring the game to a close.
The Chargers amassed 304 yards of offense in this game, all of it coming on the ground. The Bombers picked up 78 yards and 176 rushing yards, for a total of 254 yards. The Chargers only ran 35 total offensive plays to 69 for the Bombers. Each team lost one turnover.
Whitaker led the offensive attack for IW with 188 yards rushing and 3 TD's. Huss added 75 yards on 15 carries, while Schmudlach had 39 yards on 7 attempts. The Chargers did not attempt a pass during this game.
Senior linebacker Jack Carlisle was the leading tackler for IW, while Drake Schmudlach, Kevin Bray, and Jack Bastert were each involved in 8 stops. Chris Beaver, Trey Bartlett, Jacob Jacoby, and Cody Carson were all involved in at least 5 tackles. Others on the Charger tackle chart were Ethan Lillard, Brian Lafferty, Trey Ourth, Erick Klein, Kayden Guymon, Mason Beals, Colin Beals, and Dylan Van Fleet.
The Chargers return to action this Friday night when they travel to Warsaw to face the West Hancock Titans. Kick-off is set for 7:00 p.m.