By Tony Hooker
When two teams are evenly matched, mistakes will determine the outcome.
Unfortunately, the Villa Grove Heritage Blue Devils found that out in a 34-0 whitewashing at the hands of Cumberland.
The Pirates used a bad exchange on a punt attempt to score their first touchdown, taking a 7-0 lead in the first quarter that would stand up until the fourth quarter, when the wheels fell off for VGH.
With 8:47 left in the game, Cumberland returned an Elijah Kiesel punt 48 yards to set the score at 14-0. Then, with 5:24 remaining, a Blake Smith pass was intercepted and returned for another score to make it 21-0. After an 11 yard touchdown with :57 remaining made the score 27-0, a Pirate defender picked up a Parker Stevens fumble and returned it 34 yards on the last play of the game to set the final margin.
Statistically, the two teams were nearly identical, with VGH accounting for 161 yards of offense and Cumberland racking up 185. Jack Benschneider led the way, rushing for 91 yards on 19 carries. Luke Zimmerman contributed 37 yards on five attempts to help the cause. Blake Smith finished 4-16 for 19 yards and an interception passing, and also rushed for 15 yards on four carries.
Defensively, the Blue Devils were led by Luke Zimmerman, who had eight assists and two solo tackles. Benschneider helped out with six solos and an assist, Daelin Price had three and three, Tyler Wilson had two solos and two assists, Carson Howard had three assists and a solo, Deandre Reinhart totaled four tackles, as did Parker Stevens. The Blue Devils return to action on April 9 with a home contest versus Sangamon Valley.