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With the guarantee of post-season play, the Vandals will face Greenville in their final game of the season on Friday night, Oct. 22.
The Vandalia Vandals have clinched a playoff berth, and at 7-1, is looking to improve to 8-1 to try to secure a home game in the first round with a victory over Interstate rival Greenville Friday night. The Vandals defeated Litchfield this past Friday night, 49-6, to go to 7-1 on the season.
This week’s game went similarly to the last, against Piasa Southwestern, in that it was all Vandals on the scoreboard until the final minutes of the game, when Litchfield scored.
In a rain soaked, mud-caked game, the Vandals scored seven unanswered touchdowns in the first half to take a commanding lead in the game. Wollerman was once again perfect on his point after kicks, going 7 for 7 on the night.
Matthew Hagy took the ball in on a keeper from 26 yards out at the 8:21 mark to put his team on the scoreboard first, 7-0. The Vandals moved the ball downfield on their next possession, setting up a 13-yard connection from Hagy to Carson Ruot, his fourth touchdown reception of the night, making the score 14-0.
Ruot’s four touchdown receptions on the night was the first time that happened since Zach Schaeffer completed the feat in October 2003 against Staunton.
Vandalia’s third score came at the 1:29 on the clock in the first quarter, as Hagy again ran the ball in from the 25-yard-line, to make the score 21-0 at the end of the first.
The Vandals continued their scoring run through the second quarter, as the next three scores were from passes to Ruot, from 19-yards out, 16 yards out, and 32 yards out respectively, as the lead widened to 42-0, and set up a running clock for the remainder of the game. Ryan Kaiser picked up a fumble recovery and scampered across the line for a score with 1:07 left in the half.
Litchfield tried repeatedly to reach paydirt during the remainder of the game, and finally did at the 3:15 mark in the fourth, on a one-yard run by Drew Hartzell, with a failed conversion for a 49-6 Vandal victory.
Hagy had 8 carries on the night for 93 yards and 2 touchdowns, followed by Erick McKinney with 6 carries and 41 yards; Preston Nestrick, 1 carry for 9 yeards; Kaiser, 1 carry for 2 yards; Garrett Meyers, 2 carries for -4 yards; Pierson Wilkerson, 3 carries for 8 yards; Conner Thierry, 3 carries for 6 yards, and Andrew Kelly, 2 carries for 111 yards.
Hagy went 6 for 11 on the night, passing for 121 yards and 4 touchdowns. Ruot had 5 catches for 11 yards and 4 touchdowns, and Nestrick had 1 reception for 10 yards.
On the defensive side, Ruot had 3 solo tackles, and 2 assists, one for a one-yard loss; McKinney had 2 solos and 4 assists; Reid Well had a solos and an assist; Connor Ray had 1 solo, and 2 assists; Thierry had 3 solo, and 4 assists, one for -2 yards; Kelly had a solo and an assist, for a two-yard loss; Kaiser had 3 solos, and 5 assists; Meyers had a solo and 2 assissts; Christian DuPlayee had a solo and 5 assists; Nick Clark had 3 solo and 6 assists; Logan Nance had 2 solo and 2 assists; Justus Larimer had 2 solos and 2 assists; Lane McCormick had 2 solos and 3 assists, two for a combined ten-yard loss; Jaydon Lotz had a solo and 4 assists, with one sack for -2 yards; Gage Chapman, Dalton White and Braiden Overbeck had 1 assist; Meyer had 2 assists, and Wollerman had 3 assists.
Thierry also had a fumble recovery for the Vandals.
Friday night was the Vandals seventh straight win after their opening game loss to Pana.
“I’m proud of they way we handled business Friday night with the tough conditions. We played pretty well in all three phases of the game,” said Vandal Head Coach Jason Clay. “It was good to get some younger players extended playing time in the varsity game.”
Looking ahead to this week’s game, Clay says, the team is looking forward to the challenge ahead playing a rival.
“They come in needing a win to keep their season alive so we expect them to play extremely hard and pull out all the stops. Defensively we will need to be able to stop their short passing and screen game. The defensive line needs to put pressure on their QB and remain tough on the run game.”
Offensively, Clay says, the team will have to stay balanced and take what the Comets hand over to the Vandals.
“We expect to see an odd front with mixtures of zone and man coverage. I think the team that settles in first and takes care of the football will have the upper hand.”
The Vandals are also hoping to clinch a portion of the conference championship this Friday night with a win over Greenville, however this will be depending on Carlinville to upset the Pana Panthers on the Cavies home field. If Carlinville wins, there will be a 3-way tie for the championship. Currently, Carlinville is 7-1 as well, and Pana remains undefeated at 8-0.