LANCASTER – Anytime a defense can hold an opposing team to no points, it takes a lot of pressure off the offense.
Such was the case last Friday night when the Lancaster Flying Arrows held visiting River Valley out of the end zone in a 40-0 victory in a much-anticipated Southwest Wisconsin Conference match up.
Both teams entered Friday night’s contest with unbeaten conference records of 4-0, both beating Dodgeville, Richland Center, Platteville and Prairie du Chien.
River Valley acquired their unbeaten record mostly behind the running success of Jake Radlinger and Wyatt Schauf.
Coming into Friday’s game, coach John Hoch knew exactly who the defense had to stop.
“I thought our defense played exceptionally well,” said Hoch. “We held them in check rushing, and we wanted to force them to pass, which we thought was not their strength, and we did that.”
Radlinger finished the night with 31 yards on 15 carries, while Schauf chipped in 26 yards on eight carries.
What hurt River Valley’s rushing average the most were three sacks and eight tackles for loss, leaving the Blackhawks with 35 total yards rushing on 30 attempts for an average of 1.2 yards per carry.
The Lancaster defense was so dominating that the only time the Blackhawks had the ball past the 50-yard line was when they recovered a Lancaster fumble at the Arrow’s 44-yard line early in the third quarter.
Even then they turned the ball over on downs at the 37-yard line.
The Blackhawks only converted 2-of-13 third-down attempts, and were 1-of-4 on fourth downs, compared to the Arrows who were 5-of-11 on third down and 3-of-3 on fourth.
Through the air, River Valley completed just 10-of-23 passing attempts for 80 yards, giving them a total of 115 yards of offense on 53 plays.
Leading the Arrow defense with six tackles each were Andy Ryan and Mitchell Schildgen, Schildgen also having two tackles for loss.
Trenton Cornell finished with five-and-a-half tackles, while Lucas Vincent had one-and-a-half sacks, Tyler Glass one sack, and Alex Withey half a sack.
“Individually, we thought Trenton Cornell had one of his best games he’s every played for us,” said coach Hoch. “I think everyone played really well, he just had one of his best games that he played as far as reading the run versus the pass.”
Lancaster’s offensive domination was somewhat established on its first play of the game, when junior fullback Tyler Glass took the hand off and sprinted 75 yard to the end zone virtually untouched.
“We blocked that play extremely well,” Hoch said. “We showed up in a little different formation than what we normally do with a double tight end on one side. We just kind of created a wall, and (Glass) ran through a tackle, and pretty much when he gets out in the open he’s not going to get caught.”
Glass had proven hard to catch throughout the entire game, as he ran for 207 yards and one touchdown on 29 carries, while catching three passes for 40 yards and two more TDs.
In all, Glass accounted for 247 total yards of offense and three TDs.
Junior quarterback Nate Tranel rushed for 75 yards and two TDs on eight carries, while also completing 6-of-11 passing attempts for 108 yards and two more scores.
Tranel is certainly making a case for the SWC Offensive Player of the Year honors, as he has completed 31-of-52 passing attempts for 712 yards and 10 touchdowns, while also rushing for 336 yards and eight TDs on 35 carries this season.
In all, Lancaster finished the night with 430 total yards of offense, 322 on the ground and 108 through the air.
This Friday night the Arrows welcome Prairie du Chien, whom they defeated 49-7 on August 30.
Taking the week off to recovery from some injuries may be Hunter Budack, Andy Ryan and Ethan Soderstrom.
Budack sustained a foot injury last Friday night, while Andy Ryan is dealing with a pulled groin. Soderstrom has a shoulder injury, which kept him out of last week’s game.
Likely to fill in at safety for Ryan will be Jay Mezera, who has already played linebacker, halfback and fullback during portions of the season.
“He’ll do just about anything,” Hoch said of Mezera. “He just wants to play, and that’s great to have.”
Kick off for Friday night’s Homecoming game is 7 p.m., as Prairie comes into the game with a conference record of 0-5, and an overall record of 0-6.
River Valley 0
(from Friday, Sept. 27)
River Valley 0 0 0 0 - 0
Lancaster 14 7 12 7 - 40
L - Tyler Glass, 75-yard run (Hunter Budack kick)
L - Glass, 19-yard pass from Nate Tranel (Jake Taylor kick)
L - Nate Tranel, 22-yard run (Budack kick)
L - Tranel, 1-yard run (kick failed)
L - Glass, 6-yard pass from Tranel (pass failed)
L - Jay Mezera, 3-yard run (Taylor kick)
First downs - RV 8, L 14. Rushing - RV 30-35, L 45-322. Passing yards - RV 80, L 108. Passes - RV 10-23-0, L 6-11-0. Fumbles-lost - RV 3-1, L 1-1. Penalties-yards - RV 1-10, L 6-55.
Rushing - RV: Jack Radlinger 15-31; L: Tyler Glass 29-207, Nate Tranel 8-75, Brett Snider 4-34. Passing - RV: Beau Solomon 10-23-0, 80; L: Nate Tranel 6-11-0, 108. Receiving - RV: Alex Shifflet 3-44; L: Tyler Glass 3-40, Brett Snider 1-42, Abe Thompson 1-23.