DeLong, Cavaliers spoil Miners’ homecoming
conclude season with pair of wins over Southwestern
By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
Friday’s homecoming football game at Gillespie High School had an ‘old school’ feel to it. The running game was a norm, the clock was ticking at a rapid pace and there was a low number of points on the scoreboard.
As he did the previous week against Staunton-Mt. Olive, Colton DeLong ensured that the Carlinville High School varsity football team would obtain bragging rights against a long-time Macoupin County rival.
The Carlinville senior running back carried the football 37 times and rushed for 198 yards while scoring a pair of touchdowns in a 21-7 Week 6 victory over the Gillespie Miners at Don “Duke” Dobrino Field.
Both teams are now 3-3 overall.
“This offense is not new to Carlinville tradition at all when you have a back like him who can wear on you,” Carlinville head coach Chad Easterday said of DeLong. “It’s about survival. We have a different face than what we did last year. People aren’t used to that but they lose track of the Tunde Ridleys and Brendan Stewarts of the world. The kids get the credit. They stayed true to the game plan, they didn’t panic, stayed the course and prevailed at the end.”
“You got to give credit to their offensive linemen,” Gillespie head coach Jake Bilbruck said in respect to Carlinville. “They pushed us around a little bit in the second half. Nothing we really did was enough to counter that. We’ve just got to make some changes and get better.”
Early on, the Cavies moved the football from their own 37 down to the Gillespie 29, but Michael Byots was intercepted by Gillespie’s Anthony Kravanya after a six-and-a-half minute opening drive.
Both defenses traded three-and-outs on the next series of possessions en route to a scoreless first quarter.
Lonny Rosentreter sent a punt attempt out of bounds and gave Gillespie possession at its own 43.
The Miners moved the chains for the first time in the game on an 11-yard Frankie Barrett completion to Dillon Lewis. Barrett then took a shot downfield to Kravanya, who reeled in the pass with a sliding grab at the Carlinville 24. Three plays later, on third-and-nine, Barrett found Jake Carter in the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown. John Berry kicked the extra point through the uprights and gave Gillespie a 7-0 lead with 10:12 remaining in the first half.
The Miners’ defense kept Carlinville off the scoreboard until the third quarter.
Gillespie began the second half with the football and a chance to take control of the game, but Carlinville prevented further damage from happening and forced a turnover on downs at its own 40.
The Miners committed a penalty that gave the Cavies a first down at the Gillespie 47. Colton Robinson, who ended the day with 44 yards on nine carries, was stuffed on first down at the line of scrimmage. However, DeLong followed up by covered the remaining 47 yards on a string of eight consecutive rushes to the end zone, setting up an equalizing extra point from Rosentreter.
The game was tied at seven with 4:05 left in the third.
After moving the ball from their own 35 to midfield, the Miners got a 15-yard strike from Barrett to a lunging Carter. Things began to spiral downhill from that point on. Gillespie lost a yard on a mishandled snap, then committed an offensive pass interference penalty that moved the football back to midfield en route to a third-and-25. Barrett’s pass fell incomplete to a double-covered Kravanya and the Miners were forced to punt. Colton DeLong returned the kick 27 yards to the Carlinville 37.
Bobby Seal gained three yards and DeLong added four on the next carry to set up a third-and-short. The Miners stuffed DeLong and forced fourth down to open up the final quarter, but made it a wasted effort by jumping offsides prior to the next snap. DeLong broke free and carried the ball 12 more yards to the Gillespie 37. The Cavies lost minor distance – four yards – on a holding penalty, but Byots connected with Robinson on an 11-yard completed pass at the 30. DeLong zipped down to the 21 for another first down, then Robinson busted up the middle and put Carlinville on top with his only touchdown rush of the evening. Rosentreter executed another successful extra point and made it 14-7 with 7:54 remaining in the game.
With 6:13 to go, Carlinville regained possession at the Gillespie 45 and ate more than five minutes off the clock before punching in the dagger – a five-yard touchdown run by DeLong on a fourth-and-one play. A third extra point in as many attempts for Rosentreter etched the 21-7 victory in stone for the Cavaliers with 1:33 left.
Carlinville hosts its Senior Night football game against Hillsboro (0-6) Friday night. Gillespie will travel to Roxana (2-4). Both games are at 7 p.m.
Junior Football League
The Carlinville JFL Cavaliers ended their season by taking two of three against Southwestern.
The fifth graders started off rusty and fell behind 20-0 heading into halftime, but got a pair of touchdowns from Rylan Wise in the fourth quarter. Carlinville finished 4-5 with a 34-12 loss.
The sixth graders concluded their season last week in Hillsboro and ended at 6-1.
The seventh grade game was tight throughout, but the Cavies prevailed 26-24 and managed to get to 7-2.
Noah Byots led the way for Carlinville with four touchdowns.
It had been a rough year for the Carlinville eighth grade team. Numerous injuries and close losses had been quite common, but the Cavies exited with a bang and victoriously paid tribute to one of their fallen fans, Dale Chapman, who passed away earlier in the week.
Carlinville blanked the Jr. Birds 28-0.
Devon Iller found the end zone twice, with one of his touchdowns coming on a 70-yard play.
Jack Rouse and Cole Sullivan collaborated for a 10-yard score on a halfback option.
Tristan Keller also got into the act with a 25-yard touchdown rush.
The Cavies concluded the year 3-6.