Re-energized by Giles, CG-B football team bounces back from defeat by rolling past Random on Parents Night
With the sting of an upset loss at Ozaukee the previous week still fresh in their minds, members of the Cedar Grove-Belgium football team had a simple goal last Friday: redemption.
Bolstered by a huge game from a sophomore running back, the Rockets had little trouble steamrolling Random Lake in a 33-7 win that re-established their footing and evened their Central Lakeshore Conference record.
Alex Giles, a transfer student whose family moved to the Cedar Grove-Belgium district from Manitowoc, provided most of the spark by rushing for 180 yards and four touchdowns on 16 carries. His prolific effort in a Parents Night game fueled a ground attack that piled up 264 yards.
Giles’ performance also helped offset the absence of junior back Hunter Buechler, who was sidelined with an injury.
“Alex did a phenomenal job,” said Rockets coach Chris Zablocki, whose team improved to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in CLC play.
“He’s an extra-hard worker who’s started to get comfortable with our system. He reads his blocks well, runs hard and is capable of making big plays.”
Cedar Grove-Belgium wasted little time shackling the usually tough Rams. Giles’ first touchdowns — on runs of 44 and 54 yards — gave the Rockets a 13-0 lead in the opening period.
The advantage ballooned to 33-0 by halftime after Giles added two more scores, on runs of three and nine yards, sandwiched around a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown by Nick Peterson.
Cedar Grove-Belgium’s defense, which allowed just 122 yards, pitched a shutout until the fourth period when Rams quarterback Brady Schmidt threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Tim Grimes.
“I was anxious to see how our kids would respond after losing to Ozaukee,” Zablocki said. “Random Lake has played us tough in the past, so I wasn’t expecting it to be like this. But the kids came out and took care of business.”
Mental mistakes, turnovers and missed tackles plagued the Rockets against Ozaukee, which handed them their first conference loss since 2007. However, Cedar Grove-Belgium cleaned up its act against the Rams, committing only one turnover and playing penalty-free football.
“We had a few missed tackles, but not many,” Zablocki said. “We were determined to get back to basics and executing fundamentals, and we did that.”
Besides Giles’ big night, the Rockets got workmanlike efforts from running backs Andrew Brisley (28 yards on six carries) and Justin Keller (35 yards on 13 rushes). Quarterback Travis Obbink complemented the ground game by completing six of nine passes for 58 yards.
More importantly, the win kept Cedar Grove-Belgium in the thick of the conference title chase, one game behind co-leaders Ozaukee and Oostburg (both 2-0).
“It’s a wide-open race that anyone can win,” Zablocki said. “We’re going to take it step by step, week by week.”
The Rockets’ next step will be this Friday when they travel to Sheboygan Lutheran for a 7 p.m. contest.
ALEX GILES pulled away from a Random Lake tackler as he found an opening in Cedar Grove-Belgium’s 33-7 win last Friday. Giles, a sophomore, finished the night with 180 yards and four touchdowns on 16 carries. Photo by Sam Arendt