Bulldogs stay perfect behind stout defense
STANFORD — It was a dogfight from start to finish, but fourth-ranked Mahomet-Seymour (Class 4A) escaped with a 21-6 win against Olympia on Friday night. The Bulldogs (6-0, 5-0 Corn Belt) overcame a sluggish start and relied on their rock-solid defense to hold off a spirited effort by the Spartans (1-5, 1-4).
M-S coach Keith Pogue said it was “the most physical” game the Bulldogs had played all season. “I was worried about this game all week. Olympia is young, but they have some tough kids,” he said. “We came out flat, and they took advantage of our lack of emotion. They hit us in the mouth pretty good in the second half, but we got through it and did what we needed to do to win the football game.”
M-S started in style when it marched down the field on its first possession and scored on a nifty 27-yard TD run by Tyler Francisco. Matthew Prather’s PAT made it 7-0 Bulldogs, and it appeared the Bulldogs were on their way to another one of their patented routs.
But Olympia had other plans. Led by sophomore quarterback Collin Miller and a bruising running game, the Spartans’ offense played keep-away most of the first half.
Early in the second quarter, M-S struck again when Daniel Roberson bolted 21 yards for a TD to make it 14-0 Bulldogs.
Olympia made it close when Ethan Schmidgall recovered an onside kick to start the second half. Seven plays later, Garrett French plowed into the end zone from 16 yards out. But the Spartans missed the extra point to keep the Bulldogs up 14-6 with 9:10 to play in the third quarter.
Both teams traded possessions deep into the fourth quarter until M-S was able to lock down the victory on a nine-play, 72-yard drive that culminated in an 18-yard TD pass from Joe Kenney to Bradley Gleason. Gleason, who became Kenney’s primary target due to the Bulldogs’ top pass catcher, Cully Day, being sidelined with a shoulder injury, finished with eight catches for 91 yards and a TD.
“We’re not at all surprised that Bradley did what he did (Friday night). He’s an outstanding receiver,” Pogue said. “He runs great routes and he has sure hands. And Joe put the ball right on the money.”
Kenney finished with 12 completions on 22 attempts for 138 yards. Francisco continued his assault on the rushing books with 120 yards on 19 carries, and he had a key fourth-quarter interception.
TEAM CONF. OVERALL
Mahomet-Seymour 5 0 6 0
Normal U-High 5 0 6 0
Bloomington CC 4 1 4 2
Pontiac 2 3 3 3
Prairie Central 2 3 2 4
Eureka 1 4 1 5
Olympia 1 4 1 5
Rantoul 1 4 1 5
NEXT FRIDAY’S GAMES
Bloomington CC at Mahomet-Seymour
Olympia at Eureka
Prairie Central at Pontiac
Normal U-High at Rantoul