By Chris Johnson


The Winnebago Indians got a much needed win on Friday night, Sept. 2, as they defeated the Stillman Valley Cardinals, on the road, a rarity in itself, 30-20.

It would be a night that featured a consistent offense for Head Coach Mark Helm, as Winnebago found ways to cross the plane and enter the end zone in each frame. The scoring began with a touchdown run by Austin Leitzenger, from two yards out, with 1:39 to go in the first quarter, giving the visitors the 6-0 edge. The pass attempt for two points after score failed.

Stillman Valley got the ball back and put together a drive that ended with a scoring strike from quarterback Andrew Wilhite to Harrison Morphey, from 26 yards away. The extra point kick attempt was good, as Emmit Ugalde gave the hosts the 7-6 lead, with 10:25 to go in the first half.

Less than two minutes later, the Indians responded as Leitzinger found running room around the edge and blazed to the corner of the end zone. The two-point run attempt by Justin Whitehouse came up short. The Indians claimed the 12-7 lead, with 8:26 to go in the period.

The Cardinals would respond. Following the Indians score, Stillman Valley began working on another drive, as they took time off the clock, ending after Wilhite took the ball in himself from one-yard out. With 3:14 to go in the half, the Cardinals had retaken the lead, 14-12.

The third quarter would start quietly for both teams, as exchanges were stalled from enhanced defensive efforts.

After getting the ball back with around seven minutes to go in the third quarter, Whitehouse found a seam and broke through the line, scoring from a yard away. Once again, the Indians went for two. Once again, they came up short.

Following the Indians’ score, Stillman Valley got the ball back and began working it down the field.

It wouldn’t take long before the Cardinals would strike again. At the 4:35 mark in the third, Jared Van Vleet ran away from the pack, scampering 20 yards for the Stillman Valley score. The two-point try was tipped away. As the third quarter expired Winnebago trailed 20-18.

A little over a minute-and-a-half into the final period, the visiting Indians broke through. Quarterback Jess Smith found Kenzell Jones on a slant, with the play ending with a Winnebago touchdown. Winnebago reclaimed the edge at 24-20. The two-point conversion attempt, on a pass play from Smith to Jared Roberts fell away, incomplete. Stillman Valley got the ball back, with just over ten minutes to go in the game.

Miscues and broken plays greeted the host Cardinals as they attempted to reclaim the advantage. Try after try failed, as Winnebago got the ball back and worked it down the field.

With the clock under 2:00 to go in the game, the Indians still clung to the four-point advantage. At the 1:47 mark Leitzinger scored his final touchdown of the night, as he followed his blockers in from five yards away. Once again the Indians’ extra point attempt was no good. However, Winnebago’s lead jumped to ten points, 30-20 following the score.

Stillman Valley ran out of time as the Indians moved to 1-1 on the season and remained just one game back of the Big Northern Conference leaders, Genoa-Kingston, Dixon and Byron.

The Cogs knocked off the North Boone Vikings, 36-20. Dixon defeated Oregon, 24-7 and Byron beat back the Rockford Lutheran Crusaders, 35-22, on Friday night.

Austin Leitzinger led Bago’s running attack with 108 yards and 3 touchdowns. Winnebago’s quarterback, Jess Smith, went 11-14 passing for 156 yards. This was the first time Bago has beaten Stillman at Stillman since 1989 according to Coach Murphy.

This Friday night the Cardinals have a chance to knock their archrivals, the Byron Tigers, out of the top spot, as they play host to the Big Northern Conference co-leader.

Winnebago will have to deal with the Mendota Trojans, who just scored 48-points in a five-point loss to the Rock Falls Rockets on Friday night.

The over 100-points scored between the Rockets and Trojans on Friday night is one of the highest point totals from a single game in Big Northern history.

Following this week’s matches, Winnebago prepares for a road game against Genoa-Kingston, on Sept. 16.

Stillman Valley will travel to Johnsburg next Friday night and follow that up with another road match at Genoa-Kingston, on Friday, Sept. 23.

9-2-16 Bago vs SVHS 1

DOUG SCHRODER PHOTO The Gazette Indian Kenzell Jones (22) hurdles over Cardinal Chase Wood (23) to gain extra yards after a huge first-down pickup in ‘Bago’s victory over Stillman on Friday, Sept. 2.

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.