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Illini West Chargers Shut Out By Bullets 30-0 in Prairieland Football

The Illini West Chargers stepped outside of their regular Prairieland Conference slate to take on Lincoln Trail Conference member Knoxville on the road last Friday night. Illini West’s road woes continued as they lost their third straight road game.

The host Blue Bullets proved to be too much for the visiting Chargers, as Knoxville pulled away in the middle quarters on their way to an eventual 34-0 win over Illini West. The loss drops the Chargers to 3-4 overall, while they remain at 3-3 in the Prairieland.

After a bit of back and forth on early drives by the two teams, Knoxville would eventually find the end zone with 4:03 to go in the first quarter on a 25-yard play-action pass. A successful extra point kick would give the Bullets an early 7-0 advantage.

The Charger defense fought hard to keep the score close as the Charger offense could not find an answer to the stingy Bullet defense. The Chargers looked like they might get out of half down by only that single score. Unfortunately a pair of turnovers by the Illini West offense would pave the way for a pair of Blue Bullet scores in the final three minutes of the first half that would push the Knoxville lead to 21-0 at the halftime break.

The Charger offense would remain stagnant throughout much of the second half, while the Blue Bullets scored a pair of touchdowns early in the 3rd quarter to take a commanding 34-0 lead. The final score would remain at that margin as both teams were unable to find their way into the end zone for the remainder of the game.

The Illini West offense failed to get much positive done in this game, as the Chargers would finish the game with only 34 total yards gained on their 25 total plays from scrimmage. Knoxville would counter with 410 yards gained on their 64 offensive plays. Knoxville would hold almost a 24-minute advantage in time of possession as the Chargers seemed to rarely possess the football in this game,

The Charger offensive cause was further hindered by losing four turnovers, including three lost fumbles and an interception. The Charger defense could merely counter with a single takeaway, that coming on a 2nd quarter interception by Charger defensive back Lukas Finch late in the 2nd quarter to halt a Blue Bullet drive. Unfortunately the Charger offense would fumble the ball right back to set up the final Knoxville touchdown of the first half.

Charger senior quarterback Gannon Bergmann had a tough night as he was under constant harassment from the Blue Bullet front line. He would finish with 4 completions on his 12 pass attempts, although his total was hurt a bit by some drops by his usually reliable receiving corp.

The four catches included 2 by senior Jerick LeMaire and one apiece by senior Drake Mudd and junior Jorge Espinoza. The Charger rushing attack included multiple attempts by seniors Bergmann and Peyton Brown, plus multiple attempts by juniors Thomas Chandler and Ian Bentzinger.

Defensively, the Charger tackle chart was obviously well-filled based upon the large number of plays ran by the Knoxville offense. At the top of the chart were LeMaire with 14 tackle involvements( solo tackles and assisted tackeles), while Bentzinger and Finch were involved in 10 each. Linebackers Brown and Chandler were involved in 7 tackles apiece, while junior defensive tackle Nick Huls and junior defensive end Reese Shoup finished with 5 tackles apiece. Also on the chart for this game were Shawn Watkins, Bradly Miller, Max Ditmer, Tyler Yager, Stephen Sparks, and Aiden Moore

The Chargers will return to action this Friday night when they host Prairieland Conference foe and Hancock County rival West Hancock at Carthage’s Fuzz Bergess Field. The game is set to kick-off at 7:00 pm.