Football Playoffs Heat Up In The NUIC
By Al Zipsie
Aquin playing without the NUIC's leading quarterback with 30 touchdowns passes, pulled out a big win Saturday.
The Bulldogs had some others players step up big to knock off Stockton 21-14 in the 1A playoffs second round. They avenged a close loss to Stockton in an Upstate game earlier in the season.
Aquin now without Diemer host powerful Lena-Winslow in the quarterfinal Saturday.
Diemer, broke his collarbone during the week. In stepped senior Cooper Arndt a capable quarterback but who has played behind Diemer. Arndt moved from receiver. And he got off to a rough start but started clicking with three touchdown passes all in the second half. He ended up completing 10 of 13 passes for 162 yards.
Aquin trailed 6-0 at halftime. Then Arndt hooked up twice for touchdown passes with his replacement at receiver in freshman Ty Stykel. The second one was set up by an interception and a 40 yard gain by another freshman who came up big in William Gustafson.
Stockton trailing 14-7 answered back as quarterback Luke Huschitt found pay dirt scoring a TD after a long drive. The two-point conversion tied the score at 14 all. With 1:20 left in the game it looked like the battle may be headed for overtime.
However, Arndt then tossed a pass to Bryce Carlson who took it 80 yards to the end zone. Jackson Holder then intercepted a Stockton pass with 1:00 left to seal the win.
Colin Dvorak had 182 yards rushing for Stockton who bowed out at 8-3.
Forreston held Fulton to only seven yards rushing for the game in a 30-6 win. A.J Christensen and Garrett Badertscher had two touchdowns each in the first half for the Cardinals. Forreston now hosts Princeville in the 1A quarterfinals.
In 2A West Carroll lost to Gibson City 24-6 to finish the season 7-4. They trailed only 9-6 heading into the final quarter before GCMS pulled away.
Lena-Winslow the top-ranked team in the state in 1A from the NUIC Northwest rolled over Milledgeville from the NUIC Upstate 49-16. Gaige Schwartz led the Panthers with 155 yards on ten carries and TD runs of 42 and 17 yards.
Lena-Winslow senior running back Rahveon Valentine went over the 4,000 career rushing mark in the opening game of the playoffs. He came in with 4,008. He padded it including å 67-yard touchdown run. Jake Apple of Dakota is the last player from the NUIC to go over 4,000 rushing yards for his career. Apple in 2011 ended up with 4,201 rushing yards.
Apple holds the 1A record for rushing yards in a state title game. He had 373 yards in a win over Tuscola in 2011.
The Stateline Sports Hub would like to thank our ten member media panel who participated in our NUIC picks this past season. It was all for fun and was a four-way tie for first at 72-9 with Cody Cutter of the Sauk Valley News. Kyle Kampmier of the NUIC Football Fanatics. Mike Buda of WIFR TV and Shane Klever of the NUIC Football Fanatics. Cutter won the score tiebreaker in the Aquin and Milledgeville game.
Others members of the panel were Terry Werntz Former Dakota and Freeport football coach. Scott Leber of WTVO TV. Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star/Freeport Journal Standard. Joe Dredge of WROK Radio/Stateline Sports Hub. Pete Leinweber of Deep Dish Football and Al Zipsie of the Stateline Sports Hub.
Fun facts. John O'Boyle the Stockton Hall of Fame football coach with 279 wins, once played in the NBA. He played for the 1952 Milwaukee Braves after being on the team that won the ABL Championship. And Adolph Rupp the Hall of Fame college basketball coach at Kentucky once was the coach at Freeport high school.
Stateline Sports Hub. NUIC Rankings.
- Lena-Winslow. 11-0.
- Forreston. 10-1.
- Aquin. 9-2.
- Stockton. 8-3.
- West Carroll. 7-4.
- Dakota. 7-3.
- Milledgeville. 8-3.
- Eastland/Pearl City. 5-5.
- Orangeville. 5-5.
- Polo. 5-4.