Winning streaks, conference title streak continue for PC football
PLUM CITY - Thirty-two points by Plum City High School's football team in the second quarter went unanswered by Clayton Thursday as the No. 5 ranked Blue Devils won 46-15 to secure their sixth straight Lakeland South Conference title.
Clayton scored first in the first quarter as quarterback Tyler Ketz tossed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Taylor Bergmann. It was the first time all season Plum City was scored on in the first half.
But the Bears' lead didn't last long. PC responded with a scoring drive on their next possession, capped off by a two-yard TD run by Ryan Gillman. The play was set up by a 10-yard run for first down by quarterback Alex Gilles on a fourth down and nine play at the Bears' 19 yard line.
"Obviously you don't want be behind but it wasn't the worst thing in the worst to trail that early," Plum City head coach Troy Ingli said. "We needed to know we could respond if it happened and we did."
The first quarter came to an end tied at 7-7. The second quarter was all Plum City. The Blue Devils forced five turnovers, three fumbles and two interceptions, one by Lance Von Holtum and another by Chase Luebker, which help translate to 32 points. Gabe Rodriguez scored on touchdown runs of 24 and five yards and caught a 63-yard scoring pass from quarterback Alex Gilles just before halftime. Luebker scored on a 28-yard run and Von Holtum scored on a 20-yard run.
"We were really fired up in the second quarter," Gillman said. "Everything was connecting for us and we were really playing with a lot of intensity, especially on defense."
Plum City's defense practically assaulted Ketz throughout the second quarter, bringing pressure on him inside from lineman Tyler Klinski and from the edge from end Tyler Churchill. Too much Plum City speed led too many hits and too many sacks which put Ketz out of the ballgame with an injury and the Bears were forced to use his sophomore back-up Kyle Larson the rest of the ballgame.
Larson did lead Clayton on a scoring drive early in the third quarter, connecting with Bergmann on a big pass play that set-up Bergmann's second touchdown of the game on a one-yard run. Plum City mistakes such as fumbles and penalties in the second half nearly brought Clayton back in the game but the Devils were able to score their final touchdown early in the fourth quarter on a three-yard run by Bryan Larson, set-up by a 59-yard pass from Gilles to Churchill.
"We played sloppy in the second half but again we met their challenge to us by keeping them from scoring again and scoring ourselves to put the game away," Ingli said. "We had a lot of kids play the whole game who hadn't in a while due to all the blowouts we had so it was a good game to prepare us for the playoffs."
Plum City finishes another regular season undefeated at 9-0, 7-0 in the Lakeland South. The loss was the Bears' only one in conference play and they finished 7-2 overall. Plum City find out their playoff pairing Friday afternoon but more than likely the Devils will play their Level 1 match-up Tuesday evening at home, which will be Fuller-Symes Field in Ellsworth.