Illinois High School Football News

Sterling takes control early to defeat Galesburg in Western Big 6 opener

Sterling Golden Warriors logo

GALESBURG – A big pass play set Sterling up for an early score against Galesburg on Friday night in the Western Big 6 opener for both squads.

But it was the Golden Warriors’ ground game that was working against the Silver Streaks, leading the way to a 48-21 Sterling win.

The Golden Warriors ran two offensive plays to open the affair, and senior running back AJ Kested scored on the second one.

After senior quarterback JP Schilling connected with junior wideout Isaiah Mendoza on a 30-yard pass, Kested scampered into the end zone from 44 yards out with 11:38 left in the first, and freshman Ryan Gebhardt made the extra point kick to put Sterling ahead 7-0.

The Silver Streaks’ Tristan Legate connected with Mikey Eiker for a 35-yard TD with 4:22 left in the first. Sam Satisky made the extra point kick for Galesburg, and the contest was tied up at 7-all.

The Golden Warriors scored three straight rushing touchdowns from there – a 2-yarder from Schilling, a 5-yarder from Ryan, and a 22-yarder from Kested – and Sterling was ahead 28-7 with 6:11 left in the second quarter. The Golden Warriors extended the lead over the Streaks to 35-14 at the half with a 9-yard Ryan scoring run.

Sterling racked up 267 yards on the ground and 96 passing yards in the game.

“The first play of the game we were able to throw the ball down the field, and we had some completions through the air, but we’ve got to get better in the pass game,” Sterling coach Jon Schlemmer said. “We’ve got to clean it up, and we will with our pass pro.

“When you’re able to push the ball vertically and connect on some passes, it kind of opens things up on the ground.”

Sterling moved to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in league play with the victory, and will hit the road yet again next week to face Rock Island Alleman.

“You come on the road and win in this league, then it’s a big win,” Schlemmer said. “There’s some things we’ve got to clean up and get better at, but overall I’m happy. I’m proud of the kids, and we’ve got another big one on the road next week.”

Kested ended up with 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns on seven carries. Schilling had six rushes for 19 yards and scored twice. Senior Kael Ryan, who splits the quarterback duties with Schilling, had 16 carries for 87 yards and scored twice.

With eight minutes left in the game, junior Cale Ledergerber (7 rushes, 54 yards) had a 40-yard TD run for the Golden Warriors, who allowed the Streaks to accumulate 273 total offensive yards, but also forced three fumbles and recovered them all.

Legate completed 11 of 27 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns. Legate, who was picked off once and sacked three times, left the game with a right foot injury with 9:32 left in the third quarter after Eiker had a 9-yard TD grab, and Legate didn’t return. Eiker, a senior, had four catches for 93 yards and was the only player who found the end zone for Galesburg.

Junior Gino Williams replaced Legate, and he ended up with 11 passing yards, but had 43 yards on the ground. The other three Streaks ball carriers finished with negative rushing yards.