DARLINGTON – There was hardly a cloud in the sky at Martens Field on Friday afternoon, but Darlington still had a storm waiting for Boscobel– Storm Wiegel that is.
The speedy senior rolled up 191 all-purpose yards in the first half alone, including a 52-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage, to help the Redbirds pour down on the visiting Bulldogs, 41-0, in a SWAL prep football game on Sept. 14.
The Redbirds (2-2 overall, 2-1 in SWAL) have had some trouble getting their offense started this season, scoring no points in the first quarter so far all season; but Redbird head coach Scott Zywicki stressed to his team how important it was to get out fast against the lowly Bulldogs (0-4, 0-3).
Wiegel wasted no time giving his coach what he wanted by returning on the opening kick to the Redbirds; 48-yard run and on the first snap he took the hand-off from quarterback Cole McDonald and raced 52 yards to paydirt to put the ‘Birds up just 22 seconds into the game.
Hayden Black’s first of five extra points made it 7-0.
“Today I challenged the kids to come out of the blocks early, shut them down and get more than one score on the board,” stated Darlington head coach Scott Zywicki about his team’s fast start. “The kids did an excellent job getting themselves ready. They were loose. They believed in what they were doing. And, I thought they were physical up front. We certainly moved them off the football.”
Sophomore fullback Myles Leahy capped the Redbirds’ next two drives with touchdown runs to extend the lead to 20-0 by the end of the first quarter. His 23-yard jaunt capped a five-play, 74-yard drive, and his two-yard blast closed an eight-play, 44-yard scoring march.
The ‘Birds kept up the high-octane attack in the second quarter with McDonald scoring from three yards out and junior Tanner Wiegel sprinting in from 14 yards out to open up a 34-0 advantage.
With time running down in the opening half, S. Wiegel found his way back into the end zone with a spectacular 70-yard punt return for a touchdown. The return probably covered more than twice that amount of actual yardage as Wiegel wove his way all around the field from sideline-to-sideline and back again before reaching the goal line.
“We have some very gifted running backs. They’re very nifty and have excellent speed. They’re certainly not afraid to stick their noses in there,” said Zywicki.
With a continuous, 35-point clock running the entire second half, the Redbirds had just two possessions over the final 24 minutes of play, but the Birds’ back-ups were able to move the ball well against the Bulldogs’ first-team defense while holding the Bulldogs’ offense off the scoreboard for the team’s second shutout of the season.
The reserve Redbirds used more than nine of those minutes on an impressive drive at the start of the fourth quarter, which saw them drive from their own 2-yard line and the Bulldogs’ 37 before turning the ball over on downs with just three minutes remaining to play.
“That’s a nice thing about a game like this. We have kids that work extremely hard in practice, but they may not get to see the field much. This is their reward. Their parents, family and friends can see them out there and that’s nice because they are an instrumental part of our team. This gives them confidence that they can play well,” Zywicki added.
Darlington finished with 347 rushing yards and 47 passing yards for 394 yards of offense on just 42 total plays.
S. Wiegel ran six times for 97 yards and a score, T. Wiegel rushed four times for 70 yards and a score and Leahy added 59 yards on nine carries with two TDs. Jason Singer (4-for-31), Dane Siegenthaler (4-for-27) and Cruz Bahena (5-for-22) all had good days off the bench.
McDonald toted the ball four times for 41 yards and a TD, and he hit on all five of his pass attempts for 47 yards.
Boscobel was limited to 46 yards on the ground, but quarterback James Marks completed 12-of-25 passes for 142 yards although he did throw three interceptions. McDonald, Singer and Dylan Nyffenegger each picked off a Marks’ pass.
Darlington hosts Mineral Point (1-3, 1-2) at Martens Field on Friday, Sept. 21. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. Former Redbirds’ offensive coordinator Andy Palzkill has taken over the Pointers head coaching duties of his alma mater this year, which should add a little more flair to the annual rivalry game.
“Every game is vital for us because we already have a loss. Any other loss takes us out of contention for at least a share of the conference championship,” said Zywicki. “We don’t control our own destiny, but at least we can have a say in things.”
Boscobel…. 0 0 0 0 - 0
Darlington... 20 21 0 0 - 41
D – Storm Wiegel, 52 run (Hayden Black kick)
D – Myles Leahy, 23 run (kick failed)
D – Leahy, 2 run (Black kick)
D – Cole McDonald, 3 run (Black kick)
D – Tanner Wiegel, 14 run (Black kick)
D – S. Wiegel, 70 run (Black kick)
Team Stats: First Downs- B 8; D 13. Rushing- B 17-46; D 38-347. Passing- B 12-25-3, 142; D 5-5-0, 47. Fumbles-Lost- B 0-0; D 2-2. Penalties- B 4-33, D 6-51.
Darlington Leaders: Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)- Storm Wiegel, 6-97-1; Tanner Wiegel 4-70-1; Myles Leahy 9-59-2. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)- Cole McDonald, 5-5-0-0, 47. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)- Michael Ruf 2-30-0.