Jefferson runs down Evansville
JEFFERSON After moving to the Rock Valley Conference last season, Jefferson High football coach Steve Gee admitted it took a year to get acquainted with the new competition.
Gee and the Eagles pretty much have it all figured out now.
Jefferson stormed out to a 20-0 first-half lead and never looked back, cruising to an impressive 41-19 victory over perennial power Evansville in a Rock Valley North opener here Friday night.
The win lifted Jefferson to 3-0 for the season, while Evansville fell to 1-2.
Senior running back Mike Stellmacher ran for two touchdowns and added a 17-yard pass reception to help Jefferson avenge last year’s 20-14 overtime loss to the Blue Devils.
“Our guys believe in owning the ball and controlling the clock and wearing them down,” Gee said. “It’s taken a little while, but we are all on the same page, and tonight was a great example of that.”
The Eagles’ symmetry was exhibited during the opening drive. They had 14 straight running plays, capped by Stellmacher’s 2-yard touchdown run with 3:40 left in the first quarter.
After an Evansville punt on the ensuing possession, the Eagles added two more running plays before Lucas Smillie lobbed a 72-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Tyler Tomczak, giving Jefferson a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter.
Jefferson made it 20-0 on a Smillie 17-yard touchdown pass to Stellmacher midway through the second quarter.
“They had lots of big plays,” Evansville coach Ron Grovesteen said of the Eagles, who rushed for 336 yards. “On fourth down and whatever, or third down and whatever, they got first downs on running plays.”
The Blue Devils finally started making big plays of their own.
Evansville quarterback Adam Stamm’s 27-yard touchdown pass to James May cut the Jefferson lead to 20-6 with 2:29 to play in the second quarter.
After a Jefferson punt, Colin Benedict capped a 7-play, 39-yard scoring drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to pull Evansville within 20-13 with 13 seconds left in the first half.
But the Blue Devils couldn’t capitalize on their momentum in the second half.
Jefferson took its opening second-half possession 69 yards en route to a 1-yard Stellmacher touchdown run and led 27-13.
Nathan Lipperer and Jake Wayland then blew the game open with 7-yard touchdown runs, giving Jefferson its commanding 41-19 lead in the final period.
“We had to do something the first drive in the second half, and we didn’t do anything,” Grovesteen said. “We give the ball back to Jefferson, and they controlled the clock with the running game, and you only have so many plays to make it count.”
JEFFERSON 41, EVANSVILLE 19
Evansville 0 13 0 6—19
Jefferson 14 6 7 14—41
Scoring summary: J—Mike Stellmacher, 2 run (Tyler Tomczak kick). J—Tomcazk 72 pass from Lucas Smillie (Tomczak kick). J—Stellmacher, 17 pass from Smillie (kick failed). E—James May, 27 pass from Adam Stamm (kick failed). E—Colin Benedict, 1 run (Ryan Weaver kick). J—Stellmacher, 1 run (Tomczak kicjk). J—Nathan Lipperer, 7 run (Tomczak kick). J—Jake Wayland, 7 run (Tomczak kick). E—Dylan Erickson, 20 pass from Stamm (kick failed).
Statistics: First downs—E 8, J 18. Rushing—E 16-50, J 59-336. Yards passing—E 162, J 90,. Passes—E 24-12-1, J 5-2-0. Fumbles—E 1-1, J 2-0. Penalties—E 2-25, J 7-70.