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Wolfpack maul Musketeers for first win


August 27, 2008
After failing to win a game in their first varsity season last year, the Crawford County Wolfpack began their second season with a 39-13 mauling of visiting Eastern (Pekin). It was a game where the Wolfpack was ready to go at minute one.

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Crawford County senior quarterback Daniel Allen (12), here throwing to Jonathon Bowles, was 12 of 15 passing for 244 yards, including four touchdowns, against the Musketeers in Crawford's 39-13 win. (Photos by Wade Bell)
"I attribute it to the boys," Crawford coach Brian Ruble said. "It's the boys. Every since that end of the game last year after Corydon in the sectional, we made a commitment that we would be in that weightroom the entire winter, the ones that (weren't) in a sport. A lot of our linemen were not in a sport, because they're not basketball players.

"They were there the whole time. They were there in the spring. They were there in the summer. They had made the commitment to be in the weightroom in the summer to get stronger. We dominated in that scrimmage (at Tell City) and tonight, we dominated the line of scrimmage. That's the difference."

Using both a ground and air assault, the Wolfpack put their first score on the board with 8:13 remaining in the first quarter, when Daniel Allen threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Bowles, sending the Crawford bleachers into a frenzy.

Eastern, however, quickly silenced the Crawford crowd when Jash Hidgon returned the ball 80 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 6-6 just 14 seconds later.

"They're stepping up and they didn't drop their heads," Ruble said. "I told the team, 'You could have easily dropped your heads and said, "Uh-oh, here we go again." ' No, they're persevering. They know they can persevere and they know they can do it."

Andrew Douglas gave Crawford good field position, running back to the Crawford 43-yard line on his kickoff return. Kaleb Wyman ran to midfield, then Jesse Allen got a first down to the 42-yard line. Crawford ran two more ground plays, then Daniel Allen threw to Bowles and Wyman. Jesse Allen got the next two calls and ran in from eight yards for a touchdown and a 12-6 lead with 3:40 to go in the period.

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Crawford County receiver Kaleb Wyman had two catches for touchdowns in the second period, this one for 45 yards.
"We have the skill players," Ruble said. "We've always had the skill players."

The Musketeers gave up the ball on downs on their next possession. Crawford ran three ground plays, then Daniel Allen threw to Nick Cotner for a first down. Crawford moved the ball down to the Eastern 16, but the Musketeer defense held, the Wolfpack giving up the ball on downs, as well.

Crawford kept Eastern from gaining any ground on the Musketeers' next possession and took over near midfield. A holding penalty set Crawford back to first-and-20, then Daniel Allen was hit for a loss for second down and 26 yards to go. Allen then launched the first of two cruise missile passes, hitting Kaleb Wyman for 66 yards and a 19-6 lead, following Andrew Douglas's extra-point kick.

"It made me so proud," Allen said, crediting his front line for giving him time to throw. "Our offensive line was real good. Our offensive line has got way better than last year. We start four seniors and one junior, and we've been working on it all summer. We've got a whole lot better."

Crawford's defense forced Eastern to kick the ball away, and Wyman weaved his way through the Eastern defense back to midfield. Andrew Douglas got five yards on the ground, then Allen found Wyman again for a 45-yard passing touchdown. Douglas got his second straight extra point and Crawford took a 26-6 lead to the locker room at halftime.

Ruble said Daniel Allen's passing game set the tone early.

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Crawford County's C-Club, above, gets both the student body cheer section and the Wolfpack fired up before Crawford's 39-13 mauling of Eastern (Pekin) Friday night for their first varsity football win.
"We've been working on the passing game all year," Ruble said. "(Assistant coach) Greg Gogel has worked with Daniel and Isaac Bowles tremendously to get them prepared. Daniel has just come so far. He's had the range since the end of the season last year and from here on out.

"He's been preparing for that, and he's been our senior leader. He's done a good job to keep things calm, and he puts balls on the money. We've worked on reads and, in this case, on the linebackers. He doesn't have to worry about these guys coming through and killing him. He's working and looking downfield. He knows what he has to do with the ball. Last year, he was running for his life sometimes. This year, it's a different story."

The Musketeers gave themselves something to cheer about less than a minute into the third period when Ryan Tandy broke through a big hole in the middle of the field and ran 65 yards for a touchdown. Zack Alberton got the extra point, and the Crawford lead was cut to 26-13.

Crawford gave up the ball on its next possession, but kept the Musketeers off balance, with Eastern's frustration showing in an unsportsman penalty and the ball being turned over to the Wolfpack.

Crawford pushed the ball down to the 1-yard line, and Jesse Allen ran in for the score and a 32-13 lead. The Wolfpack kept Eastern scoreless through the rest of the game and Daniel threw one more touchdown to Bowles to score for the 39-13 final.

"We've got a motto, 'Do what we do best,' " Ruble said. "Things will take care of themselves, It's a totally different attitude. The boys have a total commitment."

Daniel Allen led the team, hitting his receivers 12 times in 15 attempts for 244 yards and four touchdowns. Wyman caught three of those for 117 yards and Jonathon Bowles caught five passes for 40 yards and two touchdowns. Jesse Allen carried the ball 22 times for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Douglas had eight carries for 37 yards and Evan Crecelius carried seven times for 25 yards. Wyman also had two carries for 21 yards.

"We were going to go in there and shove it down their throats," Daniel Allen said. "We made a few mental mistakes on an option pitch and a kickoff return, but we could have changed that. It was just the luck of the draw, I guess."

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Crawford County coach Brian Ruble gets a dousing from his team following Crawford's first varsity win.
Allen said he felt comfortable on the field as soon as the game started.

"That's because our line blocked so good," he said. "They protected me real well. I'm real confident in my passing. I have confidence in my receivers. My reads have got a lot better."

Crawford finished with 183 yards rushing and 244 passing yards for 427 offensive yards. The Wolfpack had 19 first downs to Eastern's five, and Crawford kept its penalties to just five for 55 yards. Defensively, Gary Nale had five tackles and Douglas and David Schwartz had four tackles each.

"He had one time where they got to him, but besides that, nothing," Ruble said of Daniel Allen. "He put balls right on the money. We told our boys, we told Kaleb, we told Nick Cotner, we told Bowles, we told all of them, we dropped some passes last week in the scrimmage and that didn't matter. They came back and came through. Our senior leaders there, they just came through and kept it up."

The Crawford defense held the Musketeers to just 79 yards rushing and 50 yards passing for a total 129 yards.

"I knew we had the potential to score 40 or 50 points," Ruble said. "I knew that against them. I know we can do that against a lot of teams. This year, the difference is, last year, with the inexperience, even though we had seniors, we didn't have experienced seniors. This year, they're experienced. They've got a year under the belt and know what to expect."

Ruble said he expects to compete with every team on the Crawford schedule.

"We've been preaching to them from day one that there's not a game on our schedule that we cannot win or compete in," said the Crawford coach. "We've got a lot of teams we're going to face that are very good. Overall, we're going to compete. We're going to step out on that field and give it our all for four quarters, and that's what I'm proud of these boys about."

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