Guilford wraps up playoff berth

By Matt Nestor
Sports Columnist

Two teams heading in different directions met at Auburn High School this past Friday, Oct. 15.

Jefferson was coming off a win after three straight losses to the top three teams in the NIC-10, and with two more wins, could gain a surprising playoff berth.

The Guilford Vikings were still reeling from the previous two losses. Two weeks earlier, the Vikings were minutes away from topping conference favorite Hononegah.

After blowing that lead, the Vikings struggled in a loss to Harlem and needed to find a win either against Jefferson or the next week against Freeport to secure a playoff game.

Dontrel Chance was not going to let the Vikings come up short against the J-Hawks, running for 111 yards and two touchdowns to lead Guilford (5-3) to a 27-8 win over Jefferson (3-5).

“It feels good (winning five games),” Guilford coach Mel Gilfillan said. “We want to get to six, that is real important for us. Win this one. Win the next one. Go into the playoffs on two wins and a good note, that’s our goal.”

Chance was the star of the night. He ran for a 16-yard touchdown on the Vikings’ first drive and set up a third-quarter touchdown run by Gerry Ford with a long run. Chance took an option pitch to start the fourth quarter for the 36-yard, game-clinching touchdown.

Ford ran for 51 yards total, including a 6-yard touchdown in the second quarter after he ran the ball 34 yards inside the Jefferson 15-yard line.

Crissen Murphy led a game effort for the J-Hawks, running for 95 yards and a touchdown. Royce Dixon also chipped in 68 yards rushing and had several good returns in the kicking game.

For Gilfillan, he just wants his Vikings to keep their eyes on the prize. He said that when his team prepares properly during the week, it always leads to good results.

“The key for us is when we have a good week of practice, we play good on Friday,” Gilfillan said. “We told the kids to start playoff mentality right now. We have to keep our focus and finish the game strong.”

In other NIC-10 action:

→ Chase Robinson threw four touchdown passes for Hononegah (8-0) as they cruised to a 48-20 victory over East (2-6). Andrew Lantz continued his strong play for the E-Rabs, throwing for 136 yards and a touchdown, as well as running for another 60 yards.

→ Seven different players scored touchdowns for Boylan (8-0) as they defeated Auburn (0-8) by a score of 63-0 to set up a final-week showdown with Hononegah.

→ Harlem quarterback Brandon Rogers ran for 124 yards and threw for 111 yards as the Huskies (6-2) shut out the potent Freeport offense (4-4) 48-0. A week after throwing for more than 400 yards, Harlem held Pretzels quarterback Alex Bennett to 132 passing yards.

Austin Smaha continued his assault on NIC-10 defenses for Belvidere North (1-7), scoring three times on runs of 60 yards or more on his way to 274 rushing yards. But the Belvidere defense came up with enough stops, and the Bucs (3-5) got 126 yards from Marcus Gooden to top the Blue Thunder 48-29.

From the Oct. 20-26, 2010 issue

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