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L-S holds off New London for seventh straight win (Hometown Press article)

posted Oct 12, 2017, 9:49 PM by webmaster@lshawks.org

L-S holds off New London for seventh straight win

“It was another crazy game versus New London this year.”

That’s what L-S Coach Mike Parkinson said after the Hawk football team traveled to New London to take on the Tigers last Friday night.

The Hawks were in a dog fight all game long and pulled off the win, 20-14. This was the second straight year L-S slipped past New London as the Hawks won last year’s game 17-14.

Senior Carson Dunsbergen inter-cepts a New London pass in Friday’s 20-14 victory.

“Just like last year, we proved why you can't give up. Why trust is a key factor in a team sport. We put our trust in our teammates, and they came through big time,” Parkinson said.

The Hawks started the game off strong and scored on their first drive. Junior Gage Vander Leest busted through the middle of the Tiger defense for a 43-yard touchdown. The Hawks would hold the Tigers scoreless in the first quarter.

The L-S boys were driving late in the first quarter and early second quarter when the game was delayed for over 40 minutes due to lightning.

When the game resumed, the Hawks had third down and eight on the New London 16-yard line. Senior Elijah Collins connected with senior Drake Ehresman on a 16-yard touchdown pass to go up 13-0.

The Hawks would struggle offensively for the rest of quarter and not score again. Still, they led 13-0 going into halftime.

“The weather definitely played a factor in the game. Both teams had to adjust to the weather. We came together as a team and got the win,” said Collins.

Right after a 40-minute lightning delay, senior Drake Ehresman catches a 16-yard touchdown pass from classmate Elijah Collins to put L-S up 13-0.

After halftime, New London came out a different team than the first half and was able to move the ball on the Hawk defense. The Tigers scored twice in the third quarter and would take the lead, 14-13, in the third quarter. The Hawks had trouble moving the ball offensively and were in need of players to step up.

That’s exactly what the Hawk defense did in the fourth quar-ter, scoring on a 50-yard fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by senior Sage Zylstra. This put the Hawks up 20-14 with only 4:16 left in the game. The Hawk defense would stop New London on fourth down and run out the clock to win the game, 20-14.

“The fumble recovery was just one way for us to score, but it will go down in history as one of the great L-S plays as it was the game-winner,” Parkinson said. “It wasn't luck, though, as good teams who are prepared make their own breaks. We practice those types of plays each week on Thursdays, and we're all thankful that Sage worked on our scoop-and-score drill 24 hours earlier. This win isn't about one play though, it was a collection of great efforts by a team who was not willing to give up even when the chips seemed down.”

Vander Leest led the team in rushing with 76 rushing yards on six carries and one touchdown. The Hawks rushed for 179 yards on 36 carries.

Senior Elijah Collins pitches the ball to junior Evan Squires at New London last Friday, Oct. 6.

Collins passed for 91 yards and one touchdown on nine completions.

The Tigers rushed for four yards on 29 carries but passed for 161 yards on four completions and one touchdown.

Senior Kemper Lukehart led the L-S defense with seven tackles, followed by Vander Leest with 5.5, Zylstra with five, and junior Grant Wehrle with 4.5.

The Hawks improved to 7-0 on the season while New London fell to 6-1 on the season.

“Sometimes when you face a challenge, it seems so uphill. But when you call on your brothers in a time of need, they will come through for you. That is why we must trust each other, trust the plan, and believe,” Parkinson said after the win.

The L-S boys will now have a bye week this week because Danville forfeited their football season this year. The Hawks need one more win to have a perfect regular-season record and look to do so against Montezuma on Oct. 20. New London will travel to Pekin next week to take on the Panthers, whom the Hawks beat 35-7 earlier this year.

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