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The Illini West Chargers scored first last Friday night in their West Central Conference football match-up with the visiting Illinois Valley Central Grey Ghosts, but the Ghosts would tally 6 of the next 7 touchdowns in posting a convincing 40-12 victory over the Chargers.
The Chargers got on the board early on a 2-yard run by junior halfback Nolan Ard, capping the first IW drive of the game. The key play of the drive was a 17-yard sweep by Ard after a nice 35-yard kick-off return by junior Kaden Huston set IW in IVC territory after the Ghost's opening kick-off. The conversion pass fell incomplete, leaving IW up 6-0 barely 3 minutes into the game.
IVC took advantage of an IW mistake on a punt return to help set up their first score early in the 2nd quarter. A fumble of the punted ball by the Chargers kept an IVC drive alive, and the Ghosts took advantage by scoring on a 10-yard run up the middle by the IVC quarterback. The point after kick failed leaving the score knotted at 6 all.
IVC would score again 6 minutes later, following a 21-yard run by halfback Blake Strebel. The score would be part of a huge 242 yard rushing night by the Grey Ghost senior running back. It would also be the first of his 5 rushing touchdowns. This time IVC's conversion run was successful and the visitors took a 14-6 lead.
The Chargers would answer 4 minutes later on a 10-yard touchdown by junior halfback Austin Curfman. The key play of the scoring drive was an earlier 49-yard run by Curfman. The conversion run failed and the Chargers would go in at the half down, 14-12.
The 2nd half would prove to be all IVC, as mistakes by the Chargers soon led to multiple IVC scores. Poor tackling, penalties, and blown assignments soon put the game out of reach for the beleaguered hosts. The visiting Grey Ghosts would eventually pull away for their 5th win of the season against 3 losses. The Chargers would drop to 5-3 as well, following the tough loss.
IVC outgained Illini West 343 total yards to 208. The Grey Ghost total included 335 yards rushing on 43 carries as IVC pounded the Charger defense both inside and out. The usually potent Charger ground attack was held to 161 yards on 42 carries.
The Chargers will return to action this Friday night when they travel to Pittsfield to face the Saukees. This game will be the second of the two between these rivals this season. A scheduling quirk caused by an unbalance in WCC schools forced the teams to meet also in Week #1 of this season. The Chargers won that match-up 38-12, but that as 8 long weeks ago. Illini West needs a 6th win to secure a play-off berth, while the Saukees would like nothing better than to spoil the Chargers post-season hopes. The game is scheduled to kick-off at 7:00 p.m.