|10/7/2013 1:32:00 PM ||Email this article Print this article |
|Olney 21, Lawrenceville 14|
Tigers derail Tribe's Egyptian Division hopes
OLNEY - Lawrenceville High School's football team will be denied in its quest for its first conference championship since 1979, but nobody can say the Indians don't have the hearts of champions.
Thanks in large part to a bogus penalty that nullified a 75-yard touchdown run by the Indians' Wyatt Rinsch, host Olney gunned down the Tribe Friday night, 21-14.
The win virtually assures that the Tigers (5-1) will win the Little Illini Conference's Egyptian Division for the second straight season. Olney is 4-0 in league play and needs only to defeat Newton (2-4, 2-2 LIC Egyptian) this week to finish unbeaten in the division.
The Indians (4-2, 2-2 LIC Egyptian) will likely finish third in the league, behind the Tigers and Robinson (5-1, 3-1 LIC Egyptian). LHS will conclude league play by hosting Marshall (2-4, 1-3 LIC Egyptian) Friday.
"Nobody can say this team doesn't have character," third-year LHS coach Greg Wood said. "Nobody can say we don't have a championship-caliber team. We have to prove it, though, by winning the next three games and making some noise in the post-season."
All of the Friday's scoring occurred in a highly entertaining second period.
The Indians used a 1-yard run by junior quarterback Zach Shoulders to take the first lead, then a 56-yard pass from Shoulders to senior Brandon Bilohlavek down the right sideline to knot the game at 14 with 5:08 to play in the opening half.
Olney quarterback Nolan Shan scored on runs of 41 and 30 yards, and in between caught a 67-yard TD pass from Klayton Craig on a trick play.
Neither team seriously threatened to score in the second half, as the teams combined for six punts and two turnovers. Both teams also turned the ball over once on downs after halftime.
Without question, the game turned late in the third period, when a Lawrenceville touchdown was wiped out due to a blocking-in-the-back penalty.
Rinsch raced 75 yards off tackle for what should have been a score. A successful two-point conversion would have lifted the Indians into a 22-21 lead in the final minute of the third stanza.
The touchdown was wiped out, however, when sophomore end Jacob Seed - running stride-for-stride with Rinsch - was called for blocking Olney defender Derek Diemel in the back. The call was obviously a bad one, and photographs of the play prove as much.
"It's just one of those things," said Wood. "A flag happened to land on the field. It's too bad. We're very disappointed but it's one of those things that happen in football."
The resulting penalty gave LHS the ball on the Olney 40, and the drive eventually ended when the Tribe fumbled the ball away.
The Indians then stopped the Tigers on four downs and later forced a punt, but were unable to move the ball on their final two possessions.
LHS took over for the final time with 1:23 remaining at the Olney 32. The Indians managed to gain their 16th and 17th first downs of the game and moved to the midfield area, but the Tigers' Ian Miller intercepted a Shoulders pass in the waning seconds to erase all LHS hope.
"We played our butts off," said Wood, whose team held a 346-331 advantage in total offense. "We did some things tonight on both sides of the ball that nobody had been able to do against Olney all season. You can say they're explosive or whatever you want to call them, but the only time they scored tonight was in the second quarter."
Rinsch was the Indians main weapon as he ran 20 times for 130 yards, mostly on off-tackle plays. Shoulders (20 carries for 76 yards) and Austin Wanke (seven carries for 53 yards) also gained ground behind solid blocking.
Shan's athleticism proved to be the difference for Olney. A 6-1, 165-pound senior, Shan carried 13 times for 89 yards, completed 10 of 22 passes for 91 yards, caught the 68-yard touchdown pass and scored all of his team's touchdowns.
The LHS defense was especially impressive in the early going, twice stopping Olney as it threatened to score.
On Olney's first possession, the Tigers moved from their 27 to the LHS 17 in nine plays. Faced with a fourth-and-five, Olney elected to attempt a 33-yard field goal, but kicker Chance Madden's boot was wide.
Olney took over at midfield after LHS punted, and gained one first down before the LHS defense forced a fumble.
"I'm going to pat our kids on the back even though they lost the game," Wood said. "They played a solid football game all the way through. Olney's going to remember us, I'll guarantee you that."
The Indians entered with hopes of winning their final two league games to tie Olney and Robinson for the league crown. The Indians' last league title was in 1979, when they were still playing in the now-defunct North Egypt Conference.
On the other hand, the Indians still have a chance to be the first team in the history of the school to earn back-to-back playoff berths. Wins in two of their final three games would assure LHS of its second post-season spot in as many years.
Tigers 21, Indians 14
Score by quarters
Lawrenceville 0 14 0 0 - 14
Olney 0 21 0 0 - 21
First downs 17 12
by rushing 15 6
by passing 1 6
by penalty 0 0
Rushes-yards 54-284 31-174
Passing (C-A-I) 2-9-1 11-23-0
Passing yards 62 158
Total yards 346 331
Penalties-yards 7-50 5-30
Punts-average 4-49.8 4-32.3
Fumbles-lost 4-2 2-1
Possession 23:21 20:19
L - Zach Shoulders, 1 run (Jacob Seed pass from Shoulders), 9:58, 2nd qtr. L 8, O 0.
O - Nolan Shan, 41 run (Pass failed), 8:05, 2nd qtr. L 8, O 6.
O - Shan, 67 pass from Klayton Craig (Craig pass from Shan), 6:37, 2nd qtr. O 14, L 8.
L - Brandon Bilohlavek, 56 pass from Shoulders (Run failed), 5:08, 2nd qtr. L 14, O 14.
O - Shan, 30 run (Chance Madden kick), 1:46, 2nd qtr. O 21, L 14.
Rushing - Lawrenceville: Wyatt Rinsch 20-130, Shoulders 20-76 (TD), Austin Wanke 7-53, Dalton Vories 7-15. Olney: Shan 13-87 (2 TDs), Gus Lathrop 10-46, Tony Kihlig 4-27, Carson Waggoner 2-12, Ian Miller 2-4
Passing - Lawrenceville: Shoulders 2-9-1, 62 yards (TD). Olney: Shan 10-22-0, 91 yards, Craig 1-1-0, 67 yards (TD).
Receiving - Lawrenceville: Bilohlavek 1-56 (TD), Wanke 1-6. Olney: Ryan Eagleson 4-23, Carson Waggoner 3-40, Nolan Shan, 1-68 (TD), Derek Deimel, 1-23, Gus Lathrop, 1-3, Craig, 1-2.
Punting - Lawrenceville: Bryce Winningham, 4-163, 40.8 avg. Olney: Nick Dobbs 4-129, 32.3 avg.
Punt returns - Olney: Waggoner 1-13.
Kickoff returns - Lawrenceville: Winningham 2-41, Rinsch 1-15, Seed 1-0. Oley: Shan 2-41, Miller 1-12.
Interceptions - Olney: Miller 1-5.