Prairie Ridge scores 35 unanswered to put away Crystal Lake South

CRYSTAL LAKE – What looked like a classic shootout turned into another typical night for Prairie Ridge.

The Wolves scored 35 unanswered points in cruising to a 56-21 victory Friday over Crystal Lake South on senior night.

Led by a 243-yard, three-touchdown performance from Nathan Greetham, Crystal Lake South (4-4, 4-4 Fox Valley Conference) simply had no answer for the Wolves’ generally potent rushing attack. Prairie Ridge (6-2, 6-2) never punted and amassed 604 yards of total offense, including 580 yards on the ground.

Greetham was a major part to that, especially in the beginning. He gashed the Gators for three huge plays in the first quarter on his way to totaling 201 yards in the first 12 minutes.

He scored on a 69-yard run to start the scoring. His 36-yard run set up a short 3-yard score on Prairie Ridge’s second drive, and he saved the best for last with a huge 82-yard scoring run with 49.7 seconds left in the period to make the score 21-7.

“I told Tyler (Vasey), ‘I felt like you for a second,’” joked Greetham of his big 82-yard run. “Tyler’s so fast and I’m the fullback. I felt like him. But Tyler had an amazing block.

“Mentally I was really going into the game and really wanted to have a great game for the seniors. It was senior night, so I really wanted to show out for these guys. I love them. These guys are like brothers to me.”

But believe it or not, this was a game for the better part of two quarters. South managed to absorb the blow of that big opening quarter and pull even at 21 with 6:38 left in the half following two scores by quarterback Justin Kowalak, the first on a 12-yard pass and the second on a 16-yard run.

From that point on though, it was all Wolves.

After the dominating start from Greetham, Prairie Ridge had an opportunity to showcase other weapons. Five different players wound up scoring touchdowns for the Wolves, including two from Vasey, who totaled 103 yards on just five carries. Mason Loucks had 102 yards on 15 carries with a key touchdown late in the first half following a turnover to make it 35-21 going into the locker room.

Turnovers played a big part in South’s demise as it also fumbled on the first possession of the second half, allowing Prairie Ridge a short field. Vasey closed that short drive with a 27-yard touchdown run to make it 42-21 with 7:19 left in the third quarter.

Noah Solis added 65 yards rushing and a touchdown in the second half as Prairie Ridge clinched a playoff berth once again. Zach Bentsen also scored.

“That’s the hard part with all these option teams is you can get the answer and they always have the counter to it,” South coach Rob Fontana said. “We wanted to make an adjustment at halftime and have them beat us a different way, and they were still able to make their way down the field. We had a few blown assignments. That 82-yarder was a blown assignment that we knew. But we have to be able to tackle, and we tell our guys all the time if we tackle, we win. And we struggled to tackle today.”

Kowalak finished 13-of-19 passing for 177 yards for the Gators. Cooper LePage caught a 54-yard touchdown pass while Michael Prokos had six receptions for 58 yards. Nathan Van Witzenburg had 54 yards on 10 carries.

Prairie Ridge held South to just three first downs and 51 yards of offense in the second half.

“We were just doing things a little more consistently on the defense,” Prairie Ridge coach Chris Schremp said. “It was just executing and finally getting a consistent push up front. When you’re facing an offense like that it takes some time to get acclimated.”