PLAINFIELD – Almost everything you need to know about Plainfield North’s 31-3 victory over Yorkville on Friday night came on the opening kickoff in the Southwest Prairie West opener.
The ball was fielded at the Tigers 10 by Anthony Wilson, who promptly bobbled it to the ground as Yorkville defenders swarmed in. At the last second, Wilson scooped up the ball, slipped past several would-be tacklers and sprinted his way for a 50-yard return, setting up the Tigers first touchdown and setting the tone for the rest of the night.
That opening drive also included a 17-yard fourth-down run from quarterback Harrison Klein, who finished with 66 yards rushing and 117 yards passing with two touchdowns.
“That was kind of symbolic for how the night went for us,” Yorkville coach Dan McGuire said. “We had an opportunity to back them up, we had the wind to our backs and felt like we could pin them (deep). And we just didn’t take advantage of that opportunity.”
Klein was instrumental in the Tigers (4-1, 1-0 SPW) offense throughout the game. On North’s second possession, he completed passes of 45 and 9 yards to Grant Zak before Jared Gumila sped in for a six-yard scoring run – his second scoring run of the game – that put the Tigers ahead 14-0 midway into the second quarter.
Klein later completed three passes to move the Tigers into field goal range at the end of the half. His best play on that drive was a 21-yard scamper just after a holding penalty and sack had made it seem like the Tigers would miss out on a scoring opportunity. Instead, Klein’s run – his longest of the game -- set up a 41-yard field goal from Devin Collier, giving them a 17-0 halftime lead.
“We love to pound the rock, set up the play-action pass or the deep pass,” Klein said. “It works well when we run the ball a lot and bring the DBs down so we can complete the passes for touchdowns.”
Which is what Klein did in the second half, capping his night with a pair of second-half scoring passes – a 17-yarder to Zak and an 18-yarder to Wilson. Gumila finished with 73 yards on 16 carries before exiting early in the third with leg cramping.
As well as the offense played, the Tigers defense was even more impressive. The Foxes (3-2, 0-1) managed only one yard of total offense in the first half and only five first downs the whole game.
“Our D-line had good penetration and getting through their offensive line really disrupts their playmaking and really leaves them with nothing they can do,” Tigers linebacker Justin Yeazell said. “That helps our linebackers get through there and make a play.”
Yorkville opened the second half with its best drive of the night, picking up four of its first downs. One of those came on a fake punt when Andrew Garton took a direct snap and bolted for a 29-yard run to the Tigers 22.
A personal foul two plays later pushed the ball to the 11, but the Foxes couldn’t get into the end zone, settling for a 41-yard field goal of their own from Hudson Fiene.
The Foxes only other scoring chance had come in the first half thanks to a blocked punt by Garton. But despite getting into the red zone for the only time in the half, Yorkville came away empty that time.