MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U.COM GAME OF THE WEEK (Oct. 12–19)
PREP FOOTBALL: River Ridge 25, #9 Black Hawk/Warren 0
By A.J. Gates Herald Independent/Tri-County Press
PATCH GROVE — The River Ridge Timberwolves had all the motivation they needed last Friday night when hosting league-leading Black Hawk/Warren in a Six Rivers conference football battle to conclude the 2021 regular season schedule.
Having not won a conference football title since 2004, coach Wade Winkers and his Timberwolves could create a three-way tie for this year’s league crown with an upset win over the visiting Warriors.
Executing great game plans on both sides of the ball, the Timberwolves (7–2), in all respects, dominated the #9-ranked Warriors Friday night to the tune of 25—0, finishing 5—1 in league play and handing Black Hawk/Warren (6–3, 5–1 SRC) its first loss by a conference opponent since Sept. 2, 2016. Prior to Friday night’s win, the Timberwolves had lost their last 10 meetings against the Warriors, dating back to 2010.
With River Ridge having lost to Potosi/Cassville, Potosi/Cassville having lost to Black Hawk/Warren, and Black Hawk/Warren having lost to River Ridge, all three teams finished conference play with 5–1 records to create a three-way tie for the 2021 Six Rivers conference title.
“It’s pretty exciting for our kids, for our program, and for our coaching staff, to finally get to the top of this extremely tough league,” said Winkers. “You definitely have to earn it here, and we’re proud that we were able to accomplish it.”
When formulating their game plan against Black Hawk/Warren, Winkers and his coaching staff wanted to take away the Warrior’s inside run game with their defensive tackles, close out the veer with their defensive ends, and protect their linebackers enough for them to clean up.
Offensively the Timberwolves wanted to establish their run game with hard physical blocking up front, while sprinkling in some deep pass plays to keep the defensive backs from loading the box.
With 264 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 43 attempts, River Ridge was able to establish its run game, while also adding 136 yards and one touchdown through the air on just three completions.
Senior quarterback Logan Drone may had solidified his bid for the conference player of the year award, by rushing for 176 yards and three TDs on 19 attempts, while also completing 3-of-9 passing attempts for 136 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Drone rushed for scores of 2, 3 and 74 yards, while also hooking up with junior wideout Braden Crubel on an 89-yard TD strike in the second quarter.
“The offensive line did a really good job up front,” said Winkers. “Black Hawk has always given us some problems with our flex bone offense. They took away our fullback, but Logan ran well as far as making some nice cuts and getting North and South right away.”
Drone first found the end zone midway through the first quarter to give the Timberwolves a 6–0 lead. His long bomb to Crubel down the right sideline early in the second quarter put River Ridge up 13–0, which held going into the second half.
Drone then added a 74-yard TD run on River Ridge’s first possession of the second half, and capped off the scoring with a two-yard TD plunge in the fourth, for a 25–0 final.
Senior running backs Will Cooley and Owen Hamilton combined for 85 rushing yards, with Cooley running for 45 yards on 10 carries, and Hamilton 40 yards on 12. Crubel finished the night with two receptions for 126 yards and one touchdown, while senior Ian Adrian hauled in one reception for 10 yards.
Defensively, the Timberwolves not only held Black Hawk/Warren scoreless, but they also limited the Warriors to 115 yards rushing on 28 attempts, while giving up just three pass completions for 34 yards.
“We played well and we executed the plan that we put together,” Winkers said of his team’s defense. “The guys aren’t selfish, they did what their role was as far as playing within the system. I think our defensive line played real well, specifically our defensive tackles, Anthony Davis and Brody Kielley, who were both phenomenal.”
In charge of clogging up the middle, Kielley concluded the game with a team-high nine tackles, including one sack, while Hamilton also had nine stops from his linebacker position. Drone had eight tackles and Bryr Clark six.
This Friday night, coach Winkers’ fourth seeded Timberwolves will host fifth-seeded Potosi/Cassville (8–1), whom the Timberwolves lost to during the regular season by a score of 30–26.
“Obviously, playing a team that beat us two weeks ago to take away our opportunity to win the conference title outright, left a sour taste in the mouths of our guys, and they’re going to have a sour taste in their mouths having to come to our place,” said Winkers. “We will have to find a way to motivate our guys, because they’re going to be mad because their not playing at home,” Winkers said of Potosi/Cassville.
“We’re happy with the conference title obviously, we’re happy to be in the tournament, and now it’s survive and advance. We know we’ve got a team that can play with anybody. We just have to play well on Friday, and on each Friday after that if we want to make a run,” Winkers concluded.
Kickoff for Friday night’s D7 playoff opener is slated for 7 p.m. at Patch Grove.
River Ridge 25, Black Hawk/Warren 0
(from Friday, Oct. 15, at Patch Grove)
BH/Warren...0 0 0 0 - 0
River Ridge...6 7 6 6 - 25
RR - (7:01) Logan Drone, 3-yard run (kick failed)
RR - (10:48) Braden Crubel, 89-yard pass from Drone (Jayden Barragan kick)
RR - (8:18) Drone, 74-yard run (kick failed)
RR - (7:31) Drone, 2-yard run (kick failed)
First downs - BH/W , RR 13. Rushing - BH/W 28-115, RR 43-264. Passing yards - BH/W 34, RR 136. Passes - BH/W 3-15-1, RR 3-9-1. Fumbles-lost - BH/W 3-2, RR 0-0. Penalties-yards - BH/W , RR 3-20.
BH/W: Lucas Milz 15-59, Landen Mahoney 6-28, Brayden Bohnsack 6-28.
RR: Logan Drone 19-176, Will Cooley 10-45, Owen Hamilton 12-40, Braden Crubel 1-2, Ian Adrian 1-1.
BH/W: Brayden Bohnsack 3-15-1, 34.
R: Logan Drone 3-9-1, 136.
BH/W: Alex Marsden 2-22, Lucas Milz 1-12.
RR: Braden Crubel 2-126, Ian Adrian 1-10.