By Tony Hooker
The Villa Grove Blue Devils football team kicked their season off in style by going on the road and defeating the Fisher Bunnies 26-14 on August 27.
Villa Grove got on the scoreboard first when Parker Knierem drove his blocker into the path of the Fisher punter, causing a zero-yard punt and giving VG possession at the Bunnies 15-yard line. A Zimmerman TD was called back because of a hold, but it didn’t faze the Blue Devils as they continued to chip away until Liam Barr took it over on a keeper for the first of his two touchdowns in the contest, near the end of the first quarter. Daelin Price’s extra point made it 7-0 in favor of the visitors.
Fisher responded by putting together a lengthy drive for the score and tacked on a two-point conversion with a fake extra point to make it 8-7, early in the second stanza.
Villa Grove wasted little time on their ensuing drive however as Barr (7-15 passing for 101 yards and a touchdown) found Brady Clodfelder (four catches for 68 yards, one TD for 34 yards to move deep into Fisher territory. After trying the running game, Barr went back to the air and again found Clodfelder, who juked his defender and rumbled into the endzone from 12 yards out. The extra point failed, and the score stood at 13-8.
This time, it was the Bunnies’ turn to respond, and they did in a big way, completing a 54-yard pass to move to the VG eight before a series of short runs found the endzone. Their two-point conversion attempt failed, and the score stood at 14-13 at the half.
Villa Grove’s fortunes, and likely the games’ outcome switched on the opening kick of the second half when Luke Zimmerman alertly pounced on the pigskin after the Fisher returner coughed it up, setting up VG at the Bunny 28. After a six-yard completion from Barr to Clodfelder, Zimmerman (29 carries for 148 yards, one TD) took it to the house from 22 yards out. Elijah Kiesel’s two-point conversion attempt failed, and the score stood at 19-14 Villa Grove. Fisher refused to go down quietly however, as a big first down pass moved the Bunnies to midfield. From there, however, the Blue Devils defense, led by Daelin Price (13 tackles) and Luke Zimmerman (nine and a half tackles, three for loss) took control forcing a Fisher punt. VG couldn’t get the offense revved up and had to punt back to the Bunnies. Once again, the VG defense stood tall and the Blue Devils took over on downs as Fisher’s QB, facing tremendous pressure from the Blue Devils’ Kyle Krause (two and a half tackles, one sack) unloaded a wobbler that fell harmlessly to the grass. The Devils then methodically utilized their running game to march down the field before Barr once again took it over. Price’s extra point try was true, and the score stood at 26-14, where it would remain until the final horn sounded.