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The Vandalia Vandals almost shut out the Southwestern Piasa Birds, 42-6, in winning a homecoming victory last Friday night. The win clinched a playoff berth for the Vandals, who are now 6-1 on the season, and face Litchfield and Greenville in their final two games of the regular season.
The Vandals cannot rest however, as they remain in contention for a portion of the conference title, but their rest hopes on a little help from other teams to achieve that goal.
The Vandals will need to improve on their record to insure a first round home game in the playoffs, and should get a victory at Litchfield this weekend, and will play Greenville, in what should be a battle in their last game of the regular season, here, the following week.
In the homecoming game, it was all Vandals through the end of the fourth quarter as they tallied two scores in each of the first three quarters. Kanon Wollerman was perfect on the night, successfully completing all six of the extra point attempts.
It took the Vandals just more than seven minutes to get on the board, as Matthew Hagy took the ball in from three yards out at the 4:55 mark, for a 7-0 lead.
Within the next two minutes, Hagy again took the ball into the endzone, from 25 yards out, to make the score 14-0.
Eric McKinney broke through the Birds defensive line less than two minutes into the second quarter, for a 45-yard scoring run, the momentum began to build, and the Vandals led 21-0. That score was followed by another Hagy run into the endzone from 50-yards out, as the Vandals steamrolled the Birds, 28-0
McKinney again got the call with a one-yard touchdown run at the 9:42 mark, for a 35-0 advantage, and for the final score of the contest, Hagy connectd with Reid Well on a 15-yard pass at 6:32.
The Birds finally managed a score late in the fourth quarter on a 21-yard pass with 1:13 left on the clock, for the 42-6 final.
The Vandals were set up on their scoring opportnities by catches by Carson Ruot, Connor Ray and Preston Nestrick. McKinney, Hagy and Nestrick also aided the offense with rushing yards.
Hagy lead in rushing, with 12 carries for 175 yards including three touchdowns; McKinney, 10 carries for 87 yards, and two touchdowns; Nestrick, 2 carries for 14 yards;, Ryan Kaiser, had 1 carry for no gain; Andrew Kelley had 3 carries for no yardage, and Landon Christian had one carry for a one-yard loss.
Hagy completed half of his passes, hitting on 9 of 18 attempts for a total of 154 yards, including the one to Well for the score.
Ruot had 3 receptions for 42 yards, Ray had 2 for 42 yards, Nestrick had 2 for 41 yards, Well had the one for 15 yards, and McKinney had 1 for 14 yards. Kelly also had a pass interception on the night.
The defense has gotten into their groove on the year and now seeks to improve their game.
Ruot had 1 solo tackle and 2 assists, McKinney had 2 solo and 4 assists, Well had 2 solos and 2 assists, one for a loss of five yards; Hagy, one solo; Ray, 2 solo, 1 assist; Cody Rosenberger, one solo and two assists, one for a six-yard loss; Conner Thierry, 1 assist; Kelly, 1 solo and two assists; Kaiser, 1 solo, 6 assists, one assist for a 3-yard loss; Chase McNary, 1 solo and 1 asisst; Garrett Meyers, one assist; Nestrick, 1 assist;
Christian DuPlayee, 4 assists, one for a six-yard loss; Nick Clark, one solo; Logan Nance, 1 solo and 4 assists, one assist for a three-yard loss and one for a sack for a loss of one-yard; Justin Proctor, 1 assist; Lane McCormick, 1 solo, 3 assists, one of the assist for the sack; Jaydon Lotz, 1 solo, 3 assists, one assist for a two-yard loss; Braiden Overbeck, 2 assists; Eric Barenfanger, 1 solo, 4 assists, one assist for a 2-yard loss; Logan Meyer, 1 assist; Wollerman, 1 assist; Pierson Wilkerson, 1 solo and 1 assist, and Tristan Eller, 1 assist.
The Vandals travel this Friday, Oct. 15 for a 7 p.m. clash with the Litchfield Purple Panthers on the cats’ home field.