By Tony Hooker
With the 2020 football season being pushed back to spring, I’m continuing my look back at teams of the past.
The defense, led by Paul Wilhelm, who picked off a pass and recovered a pair of fumbles, including one that he returned 63 yards for a score, held Arcola to minus three yards of total offense in a 60-0 pasting of the Purple Riders. Dale Patton, whom Coach Ghere referred to as the best lineman he ever coached, blocked a Rider punt to aid the Grover effort. Offensively, the Blue Devils were led by Rick Carr, who rushed for 148 yards and passed for 85, including a 50-yard strike to John Beccue, who ended that particular drive with a seven-yard TD run. Austin Rund added 105 yards on the ground, and Steve Melton had a pair of TD runs. Randy Stillman added a 60-yard touchdown run late to cap the scoring.
Kenny Schwengel’s last minute pass to a backpedaling Paul Arnold sealed an improbable 14-7 comeback win over a very formidable Tuscola Warrior 11. VG found themselves down 7-0 with 5:14 remaining before Arnold, who led VG in rushing with 80 yards on 10 carries, scored from 24 yards out. The extra point failed, and it was 7-6 Warriors. Tuscola, led by QB Steve Kalmar, moved to the VG 25-yard line before Paul Turner sacked Kalmar for a 12-yard loss, eventually forcing the Warriors to give up the ball on downs with just 1:05 remaining. From there, Schwengel went to work, hitting Brent Shunk for a big 11-yard completion. He then found Shunk again, this time to the TCHS 43, with just over 30 seconds remaining. Improbably, he then floated a pass over the Warrior defense that Arnold cradled in his arms in the endzone with just 29 seconds remaining. Mike Mayes pounded over the two-point conversion to give the Blue Devils a 14-7 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Mayes had a huge game defensively, pilfering three Kalmar passes and adding 12 solos and 6 assists. Steve Waymire totaled 13 solos and 7 assists from his middle linebacker position.
Eric Sigler rushed for 126 yards on 8 carries, Aaron Johnson added 74 yards on the ground, and Chris Vandeventer added a pair of touchdowns as the Blue Devils throttled Tuscola 30-8. The defensive line, anchored by senior David Beesley and juniors Danny Norris and Howard Kiser, stifled the Warrior attack all game long, which allowed big middle linebacker Carl Brown to roam all over the field, making 14 tackles, and Vandeventer picked off a pair of errant TCHS passes.
The Blue Devils defeated Arcola 20-6 as Justin Carr scored a pair of touchdowns. The defense, led by Rod Alexander, was outstanding, holding the Purple Riders to just 149 total yards. Alexander had 15 tackles and JR Wilcoxen, Steve Tarter and Justin Prosser each made over 10 stops. David Piercy led a VGHS secondary that didn’t allow a completion all night, with 8 tackles and an interception. Ryan Parsley, Vinny Thomas and Justin Carr also contributed to the pass defense from their DB positions.
Earvin Westray caught a 23-yard scoring toss from Eric Douglas and returned an interception 35 yards for another score as Villa Grove blasted Bismarck Henning 35-7. Jesse Shrum, who rushed for 107 yards on 27 carries, had a three short TD runs for VGHS. Cody Deppe led the Devil defense with 6 tackles and a QB sack, and Jason Deedrick added 5 stops and a pair of QB sacks. Thomas Albin helped out with 5 tackles, Cody Miller added 4 solos, and Travis Arnold had 2 solos and 2 assists for Villa Grove.