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Broncos 42, Indians 14
Cerro Gordo is certainly good
CERRO CORDO - Lawrenceville High School's football team saw a stellar season come to a disappointing end Saturday afternoon, as the squad failed in its bid to win the school's first ever playoff game.

Host Cerro Gordo kept its record perfect at 10-0 and had the Illinois High School Association's 40-point mercy rule in effect by halftime, on the way to a 42-14 route of the Indians (7-3) in the opening round of the Class 2A tournament,

"We hadn't played like this since week 3 (a 20-0 loss to Robinson), but my hat's off to Cerro Gordo," LHS coach Greg Wood said at the conclusion of his season at the helm. "They're a solid football team. We didn't tackle well today. Mix that up with a great back and you're going to have problems. We sure did today."

The "great back" Wood was referring to was Steve Isbell, a 5-9, 175-pound junior who gained 237 rushing yards on just 12 carries. Isbell scored touchdowns on runs of 20, 56, 44 and 74 yards, helping the host team to a 42-0 lead at halftime.

"He was a tough runner," Wood said. "He kept his legs churning. I think he probably set a world record for tackles broken. We worked on it all week long, and we knew exactly what they were going to do. They did exactly what they'd been doing all year long. They really took it to us."

The Indians finally put up a pair of touchdowns on the Broncos' reserves in the final eight minutes. Cole Hulen scored first on a three-yard run with 7:33 to play. Zach Shoulders scored three minutes later on a 12-yard jaunt. A long touchdown run by Shoulders on the final play of the game was nullified by a penalty. Shoulders finished with 131 rushing yards for LHS, while Hulen closed out his career by carrying for 104.

Isbell wasn't the Broncos' only weapon. Quarterback Cole Blickensderfer, a 6-0, 175-pound junior, completed five of eight passes for 190 yards and a pair of scores.

Isbell's 20-yard run three minutes into the game put Cerro-Gordo, which has a cooperative agreement with Bement and De Land-Weldon, on top.

A flat pass from Blickensderfer to junior fullback Dee Woods (6-1, 215) served to let the Indians know fully what they were up against. Woods took the pass and proceeded down the right sideline. About 25 yards from paydirt, he hurdled an Indian defender and coasted the rest of the way into the end zone.

The fifth-seeded Broncos put the final nail in the coffin of 12th-seeded Lawrenceville just five seconds prior to halftime, when a 57-yard strike from Blickensderfer to C.J. Somers stretched the lead to 42-0 at halftime.

Wood said the Broncos were "a lot" better than he thought they were.

"Film didn't do them any justice at all," he said. "I thought we'd win the battle up front. I really did. We failed to do that today. It might have been some of us, it might have been some of them, but they were awfully good. And with those two backs, that's a lot of firepower coming at you."

This year's Indians were just the fourth in school history to reach post-season play. The previous three all suffered first-round losses by at least nine points.

The game marked LHS's first visit to the post-season since 2004, and the Indians had their first winning season since finishing 7-3 under Jerry Phillips 10 years ago.

Wood said that in time, the Indians will be able to reflect on their accomplishments this fall.

"You don't want a result like this to end the season," he said. "But unless you win a state championship, you're going to lose somewhere along the way. This just happened to be our day. But this team put Lawrenceville football on the map. We have to continue to work hard and keep it there."

Cerro Gordo, which is in tournament play for the 22nd time, now has an all-time post season mark of 18-21. The Broncos will travel to play fourth-seeded Camp Point (10-0) in the second round.

The Indians' loss was part of a weekend that saw teams from the Little Illini Conference's Egyptian and Eastern Divisions combine to win two of six games.

In Class 4A play Friday evening, Olney opened the tournament with a 29-23 victory over visiting Breese Mater Dei. The Tigers (9-1), LIC Egyptian champions, will attempt to knock off another parochial school in the second round when they travel to Alton Marquette (9-1).

In another Class 2A game Saturday, third-seeded Casey skunked visiting Carmi, 45-0. The LIC Eastern champion Warriors (10-0) will host Carlinville (9-1) in round two.

In the Class 3A tournament, Robinson fell short in an opening round game at Benton, 28-24. The Maroons finished with a 6-4 record.

Also, LIC Eastern teams Oblong and Cumberland fell in opening round games on Saturday. Oblong, playing in the tournament for the first time, fell at Sidell-Salt Fork, 27-6, and finished with a 6-4 record. In what was likely the final game for Cumberland coach Todd Butler, the Pirates lost at Carrollton, 35-0, and finished 6-4.

Broncos 42, Indians 14

Score by quarters

Lawrenceville 0 0 0 14 - 14

Cerro Gordo 21 21 0 0 - 42

L CG

First downs 10 17

by rushing 8 10

by passing 1 6

by penalty 1 1

Rushes-yards 35-142 30-329

Passing (C-A-I) 3-9-0 5-8-0

Passing yards 30 190

Total yards 172 519

Penalties-yards 3-20 12-75

Punts-average 5-25.4 2-30.5

Fumbles-lost 2-2 5-3

Possession 20:19 27:41

Scoring summary

CG- Steve Isbell 20 run (pass failed) 8:57 1st qtr. CG 6, L 0.

CG - Dee Woods 42 pass from Cole Blickensderfer (Isbell run) 5:22 1st qtr. CG 14, L 0.

CG - Isbell 56 run (Jensen Bailey kick) 2:02 1st qtr. CG 21, L 0.

CG - Isbell 74 run (Bailey kick) 8:35 2nd qtr. CG 28, L 0.

CG - Isbell 44 run (Bailey kick) 3:49 2nd qtr. CG 35, L 0.

CG - C.J. Somers 57 pass from Blickensderfer (Bailey kick) :05 2nd qtr. CG 42, L 0.

L - Cole Hulen 3 run (run failed) 7:33 4th qtr. CG 42, L 6.

L - Zach Shoulders 12 run (Hulen run) 4:38 4th qtr. CG 42, L 14.

Individual statistics

Rushing - Lawrenceville: Hulen 14-104 (TD), Shoulders 15-131 (TD), Evan Staggs 3-6, Austin Wanke 3-1. Cerro gordo: Isbell 12-237 (4 TDs), Woods 9-45, Jordan Crist 4-6, Gage Fowler 1-15, Calin Shonkwiler 3-7, Blickensderfer 1-8, Chase McNamara 5-1.

Passing - Lawrenceville: Shoulders 3-9-0, 30. Cerro Gordo: Blickensderfer 5-8-0, 190 (2 TDs)

Receiving - Lawrenceville: Staggs 1-30, Hulen 1-0, Thomas Grove 1-0. Cerro Gordo: Somers 2-105 (TD), Woods 2-71 (TD), Ethan Morton 1-14.

Punting - Lawrenceville: Shoulders 5-127, 25.4. Cerro Gordo: Morton 2-61, 30.5.

Punt returns - Lawrenceville: Staggs, 1-4.

Kickoff returns - Lawrenceville: Gage McIntosh 3-59, Staggs 1-22, Hulen 1-12. Cerro Gordo: Morton 2-61.



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