By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter
Looking at the statistics as halftime approached Friday, Oct. 7, it appeared the Rockton Hononegah Indians were cruising against the Rockford Guilford Vikings.
But with 2 seconds left in the first half and facing a third-and-17 from the Guilford 27-yard line, the Indians were staring at the prospects of going into the half tied at 7.
A hook pattern and a lateral later, Carlos Hendrix was crossing the goal line and giving Hononegah (5-2) a 13-7 lead at the half on their way to a 27-13 victory.
“Everyone always says we have no trick plays up our sleeve, but that play has worked for us a couple of different times,” Hononegah Head Coach Tim Sughroe said of trickery before the half. “That was huge. That was a game-turner right there.”
This was after starting quarterback Justin Studler exited the game with a knee injury, not to return. Penalties had wiped out several scoring plays for the Indians already, but after a perfect strike from their backup quarterback, Joey Welsh, the Indians found their stride.
“It raised our spirits a lot,” Welsh said about the late touchdown. “The penalties were killing us. To get one right at the very end like that really raised our spirits a lot.”
From there, Hendrix and Blake Dieterman did the heavy lifting on the ground while Welsh put the Vikings (4-3) away.
Hendrix continued his standout season, rushing for 106 yards, catching two passes for 23 yards and even completed a pass for 22 yards.
Dieterman gave the Indians a second 100-yard rusher, running for 119 yards, including the opening score on a 17-yard touchdown following a Guilford turnover.
After the two backs put Hononegah into position, Welsh delivered the final blows to the Vikings, scoring touchdowns from 18 yards and 2 yards after Guilford tied the game at 13.
The Vikings’ defense did their best to keep them in the game, and Justin Carroll tied the game at 13 early in the second quarter on a 1-yard touchdown.
But star Dontrel Chance had trouble getting started. The senior did run for 78 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown. Fifty-two of those yards, however, came on two carries, and he only gained 4 yards after the touchdown.
In all, the Indians managed 298 yards on the ground and held the Vikings to 130 total yards of offense, including a game-clinching interception late.
“They really came out and played inspired football,” Sughroe said of his defense. “It was a more physical style, as opposed to the spread-out style, and our kids came out and did a good job.”
In other NIC-10 action:
• Machesney Park Harlem (6-1) became officially eligible for the playoffs, putting up 38 unanswered points and holding on for a 38-16 win over Rockford Jefferson (2-5). Kevin Witcik scored two touchdowns for the Huskies on his way to 148 yards. Josh Woodford ran for 114 yards for the J-Hawks, while teammate Kenyatter Larkins led the team with 125 yards.
• Six different players scored as Belvidere (4-3) kept their playoff hopes alive with a 50-6 win over Rockford East (1-6). Quarterback Troy Vandenbroek completed only three passes, but all went for touchdowns, including two to Kane Steger. Filling in for injured starter Andrew Lantz, Davonte Williams threw for 96 yards for East.
• Lamont Toney threw for 187 yards and four touchdowns as the Rockford Boylan Titans (7-0) knocked off Belvidere North by a score of 47-9. Blue Thunder quarterback Justin Ellingson threw for 173 yards and a touchdown.
• Rockford Auburn was a fourth-down conversion away from a chance at breaking their losing streak. But Freeport (3-4) was up to the task, stuffing the Knights (0-7) deep in Pretzels’ territory to hang on for a 27-20 victory.
From the Oct. 12-18, 2011, issue