Cavaliers overpower Purple Panthers in Litchfield
Carlinville’s Reid Kleeman blocks a defender during the Cavies’ 68-6 win at Litchfield Oct. 25. Enquirer Democrat photo by Denise Simpson.
Carlinville finishes regular season 6-3
By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
The Carlinville High School varsity football concluded the regular season with a convincing 68-6 win at Litchfield Friday, Oct. 25.
The Cavaliers’ defense collected five interceptions, recorded seven sacks and held the Purple Panthers to 98 yards of offense en route to victory.
Colton DeLong provided 219 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 13 carries.
Carlinville is now 6-3 overall and 4-1 on the road.
Although the Cavies were the obvious favorites to take the win, head coach Chad Easterday was still quite impressed with how well the team was able to set the tone heading into the postseason.
“It was nice to see us score in all facets of the game,” complimented Easterday. “Throwing the ball, running it, special teams, adjustments, stuff like that. Those are all the things you work on throughout the week. I also thought our kicking was excellent. We spotted the ball well and didn’t grant them any field position. Some plays are in your control while others aren’t, but it’s great to see all that come true.”
The Cavies’ defense caught a break on the second play of the game. Litchfield quarterback Clayton Walsh had a wide open target down the field on a hail mary, but overthrew John Corso to bring up third-and-10 at the Litchfield 29. The Panthers were forced to punt following a four-yard carry from Drew Hartzell.
DeLong took the ball from the Carlinville 40 to the Litchfield 46, then broke loose on a second-and-six push up the gut for a 42-yard touchdown. Rosentreter missed the extra point but the Cavies had an early 6-0 lead just two minutes into the game.
On the Purple Panthers’ next possession, Chase Michaelis sacked Walsh nine yards behind the line of scrimmage to make it second-and-19 at the Litchfield 26. Michealis then collaborated with several Cavalier blitzers in flushing Walsh out of the pocket on a pass play, which led to a T.J. Sims interception at the Litchfield 39.
DeLong moved the chains on an 18-yard carry to the 21. Dustin Roberts followed with a first down run of his own, setting up a first-and-goal for the Cavies at the six-yard line. DeLong carried the ball again and found the end zone, completing a one-minute, four-play scoring drive. Rosentreter adjusted and regained his kicking momentum on the extra point. Carlinville led 13-0 with 8:20 left in the first quarter.
The Cavaliers brought more defensive pressure and caused Walsh to threw another interception from his own 35 into the hands of Jack Kessinger at the Carlinville 40 on the first play of the Panthers’ next drive.
Michael Byots executed a quarterback keeper and took the ball 13 yards for a first down at the Litchfield 47. Five plays later, the Cavaliers were celebrating another touchdown courtesy of a six-yard carry from Colton Robinson with 5:10 on the first quarter clock. Rosentreter kicked the extra point through and extended the Carlinville lead to 20-0.
Walsh attempted to restore momentum on a nine-yard keeper from his own 33, but was pushed back by Ethan Trimm on a four-yard sack on second-and-1. Litchfield lost five additional yards on a false start, then turned the football over on downs.
Byots hit Rosentreter with a 34-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the ensuing drive. This made the score 26-0 with three-and-a-half minutes remaining in the first quarter. Rosentreter’s extra point attempt ended up ricochetting off both goal posts and missing.
Litchfield injected life into its home crowd with a touchdown just over a minute into the second, but DeLong thundered down the sideline and scored on a 45-yard touchdown carry 13 seconds later. Rosentreter connected on the extra point and gave the Cavies their biggest lead of the night, 33-6, with 10:19 to go in the half.
The Panthers had possession at their own 24, but not for long. Walsh had another pass attempt picked off on the first play of a drive, this time by Mason Duckels.
A personal foul infraction caused the starting placement to be pushed back 15 yards, but even that wasn’t enough to cool off a red hot Carlinville offense.
Robinson gained seven yards on a carry to the Litchfield 33. DeLong then took the reigns for the last time in his regular season career and ran in for a 28-yard score after setting up another first down. With 8:48 to go in the quarter, Rosentreter buried the point after to make it 40-6.
Starting from his own 40, Walsh was met at the line of scrimmage by Rayme Lewis on a quarterback keeper. A holding penalty made it third-and-20 and Michaelis took down Walsh for another loss, forcing the Panthers to surrender the football back to the Cavies at the Litchfield 29.
Carlinville was put in a fourth down situation due to a five-yard penalty and fumbled snap, but Byots regrouped and twirled a 24-yard touchdown pass to Kessinger out of a timeout. Rosentreter booted another extra point through the uprights. Carlinville now had a 47-6 advantage and was less than five minutes away from triggering a second half running clock.
The Cavies tacked a couple of defensive scores on to the lead heading into halftime.
With 4:11 remaining, Kessinger came away with his second interception of the day and turned it into a 45-yard pick-six.
Rosentreter pinned the Panthers at their own 13-yard line for a second consecutive time on a perfectly-executed kickoff.
Walsh was then brought down by Hunter Robinson and Tyler Emmons on a pair of hits, giving Litchfield no choice but to attempt a desperation punt from the back of its end zone. The kick was muffed and returned three yards by T.J. Sims for a touchdown. The extra point was no good.
Carlinville took a 60-6 advantage into the locker room.
The junior varsity Cavaliers kept the Panthers off the scoreboard for the remainder of the game and Mason Duckels added more insurance to the Cavalier lead with a three-yard rushing touchdown six minutes into the third. Ayden Tiburzi converted a two-point conversion attempt on a pass to Luke Daugherty in the back corner of the end zone.
Carlinville, an 11-seed in the IHSA Class 3A playoffs, will play at No. 6 Mt. Carmel (8-1) in first round action Saturday, Nov. 2. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.