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Carlinville’s potent running game proved to be too much for the Vandalia defense, as the Cavaliers ran away to a 32-14 win last Friday in a game that was marred by downpouring rain in the second half.
In one of the premier games on the Vandals’ schedule this season, Carlinville showed its offensive might on its second possession, when Brendan Stewart carried the ball 77 yards for a touchdown, breaking several tackles along the way.
It was the start of one of Stewart’s finest games of his career, as he rushed for 246 yards on 13 carries. He later added a touchdown run of 65 yards in the third quarter and had a 1-yard leaping score in the second quarter.
“Stewart is a good back, and he’s been that way for three years,” said Vandalia coach John Stout. “Everything they do goes through him, and when you overscheme to stop him, their other threats get open.”
Last Friday, it was Tucker Clinton who tended to gash the Vandals the worst when they tried to stop Stewart, as Clinton carried the ball 16 times for 102 yards.
As a team, the Cavaliers rushed for more than 400 yards.
“We have to do a better job defensively,” Stout said, “but the silver lining is that that’s the best backfield we’ll see all year, and they proved it tonight.”
Carlinville (2-0) had the first two scores of the night, with Stewart’s run 3:06 into the game, and a 10-yard run from Cory Farneti with a 4:38 left in the opening quarter.
The Cavaliers missed the point-after kick on the first touchdown and failed to convert a 2-point conversion after the second to go ahead, 12-0.
Vandalia (1-1) then had one of its best drives of the game to close out the first quarter, moving the ball 65 yards in 10 plays to lead to a 2-yard touchdown run for senior Luke Smith.
Included in the drive was a 17-yard run by senior Tim Ritchey on 4th-and-4, one play before Smith’s score.
Stewart got another touchdown with 7:22 left in first half, but that would be the final score before a nearly 90-minute rain and lightning delay that began just as halftime was ending.
A light rain began to fall at the end of the second quarter, but shortly after the third quarter would have begun at about 8:20 p.m., a torrential downpour pounded Vandalia for about an hour, driving most of the fans from the game, which resumed at about 9:50 p.m.
The Vandals drove 80 yards to open the second half, with Ambuehl carrying 55 of his team-high 107 yards on one play to put Vandalia in the red zone.
Ritchey would complete a 10-yard pass to Ambuehl for the team’s first passing touchdown of the season, and his only completion of the night.
Stewart scampered 65 yards on the first play of Carlinville’s next drive to squash Vandalia’s momentum and put the Cavaliers ahead, 26-14, and Clinton scored on the sixth play of the fourth quarter to make the final margin.
Vandalia is 1-9 all-time against the Cavaliers.
Friday, Aug. 31
Rushing: Ambuehl, 10-107; Ritchey, 12-64; Alex Newsom, 13-41; L. Smith, 11-29, TD.
Passing: Ritchey, 1-9, 10 yards, TD.
Receiving: Ambuehl, 1-10, TD.
Defense: Ambuehl, 8 tackles, tackle assist; Newsom, 5 tackles, 3 tackle assists, fumble recovery; Chase Woolsey, 3 tackles, 3 tackle assists, pass deflection; C.J. Runkel, 4 tackles, tackle assist, fumble recovery; L. Smith, 3 tackles, TFL, 3 tackle assists; Levi Carroll, 2 tackles, TFL, 2 tackle assists; Ritchey, 3 tackles; Ryan Schmollinger, tackle, 2 tackle assists; Wade Cowger, tackle, tackle assist; Jeff Lucken, tackle; Tristin Long, tackle; Jake Stone, tackle.