Prairie Ridge's ground game gives West Aurora fits
When Prairie Ridge's offense is clicking, there's not much a defense can do to stop it.
That was the case Friday, as the Wolves ran wild for 481 yards on 39 carries in a 63-14 nonconference win against West Aurora in the teams' final game of the COVID-19-shortened season.
Prairie Ridge averaged 12.3 yards a carry and had only eight carries go for 4 yards or less.
"Running our option, it always works," senior two-way lineman Andrew Renteria said after the Wolves' dominating performance. "Running a few 38s, it always works. Getting our blocks, getting to the first level, the second level, it works every time. We're always bursting up the middle of the field."
Senior running back Carter Evans, an Eastern Michigan commit at defensive end, gashed the Blackhawks' defense for 237 yards on 24 carries and four touchdowns, while senior quarterback Taidhgin Trost ran six times for 161 yards and three scores.
Trost also completed 2 of 4 passes for 49 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown strike to freshman Drake Tomasiewicz, to finish with 210 total yards. About the only thing Trost didn't get many yards on was in the return game, as West Aurora chose to kick away from the Wolves' speedy playmaker.
Trost, who will play next year at Washington University in St. Louis, credited the play of his offensive line -- Jack Schnoor, Sam Schultz, Ryan Pearson, Renteria, Matt Nygren and tight end George Bieschke -- for the Wolves' big running day.
"I was watching clips, and this was the best we played all year," said Trost, who had touchdown runs of 48, 32 and 52 yards. "It was the perfect time to do it. We were quick off the ball, pushing guys down. Even if we get tackled, we're getting tackled for three yards, and that's what we like. It was really important for us to come out here and work hard."
Prairie Ridge (3-3), which had lost three straight games for the first time since 2012 before Friday's win, started the week thinking it was going to end its season against Belvidere North. When North had to cancel, Prairie Ridge was able to find another opponent in West Aurora (1-5).
"We had a game, we didn't have a game, and we had a game," Prairie Ridge coach Chris Schremp said. "Just to let these guys compete for six games, that was the biggest thing. I'm so happy we got this last game in.
"Everything was clicking tonight the way we wanted. When those two guys [Evans and Trost] are doing their thing, that means the O-line is doing their thing, and that's what I really saw more than anything, was those guys firing off the line and taking control."
Junior running back Zach Bentsen (55 yards rushing) added a 30-yard touchdown run on a pitch from Trost in the fourth quarter to finish the scoring for the Wolves, who outgained West Aurora, 530-186, in total yards.
West Aurora's Blake Huberty finished 10-of-20 passing for 94 yards and one touchdown, a 10-yard pass to Matthew Brown. Brown led all receivers with 66 yards on six catches. Running back Savion Little led the Blackhawks' rushing attack with 30 yards and a touchdown.
Prairie Ridge's Zach Lindquist, Matt Fryer and Marko Mancini each had an interception against Huberty. Colin McAllister added a fumble recovery on defense.
The Wolves will miss the playmaking abilities of Trost behind center next year, but Prairie Ridge's quarterback doesn't see the team missing a beat.
"It starts with [sophomore] Tyler Vasey, probably going to be the quarterback. The kid's elusive," Trost said. "A lot of our O-line were juniors, and they're putting it together now, so next year they should be scary. On defense we have a lot of guys who can step up and make plays. It will be exciting to see what they can do next."
Evans, who had touchdown runs of 14, 4, 5 and 37 yards in his last high school football game, was thankful to get one last season, even if it was for only six games.
"All of my brothers, we just put in so much work this year," Evans said. "It wasn't always the results we wanted, but finishing on a strong note, that's all we can ask for at this point with all of the adversity and injuries we've been through. It's just great to be out here one last time with these boys."