Giles’ 227-yard outburst in road win helps propel CG-B to postseason berth
In a season marked by peaks and valleys, the Cedar Grove-Belgium football team took a definite upturn last Friday.
Riding an explosive offensive performance by running back Alex Giles, the Rockets flattened Elkhart Lake, 35-0, for a Central Lakeshore win that assured them of a postseason berth.
Giles, a sophomore, rushed for 227 yards and four touchdowns on only 18 carries, as Cedar Grove-Belgium rolled to a homecoming victory — and bounced back from a shutout loss to Oostburg on Oct. 1.
“The kids worked hard after that loss to come back,” said Rockets coach Chris Zablocki, whose team improved to 3-2 in CLC play and is guaranteed at least four league wins due to a pending victory Oct. 21 against Stockbridge, which has forfeited its season.
“We got a stellar effort from our defense, and Alex Giles did a great job of reading his blocks. Our offensive line opened some big holes, and he took advantage of his opportunities.”
Elkhart Lake, which fell to 1-5 in the conference, was no match for the Rockets on either side of the ball. The Resorters managed just 154 yards of total offense and couldn’t put the brakes on Cedar Grove-Belgium’s rushing attack, which gobbled up 299 yards.
Giles gave his team all the scoring it needed when he broke free for a 78-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
He followed that effort with scoring runs of three and 70 yards in the second period and a 4-yard touchdown burst that made it 28-0 in the third quarter.
The Rockets’ final touchdown came on Justin Keller’s 2-yard run.
Cedar Grove-Belgium’s impressive running game overshadowed a productive effort through the air.
Quarterback Travis Obbink completed eight of 14 passes for 157 yards. His top target was tight end Chris Peszko, whose two catches were good for 66 yards.
Although the Rockets’ win came against a decided underdog, their determined play impressed their coach.
“With our injuries and a young team, we’ve had a lot of ups and downs this year,” Zablocki said. “The kids have had to overcome a lot of adversity, and we’ve had different players step up for us.”
Giles helped pick up the offensive slack left with the loss of injured fullback Hunter Buechler, who was also Cedar Grove-Belgium’s top linebacker.
Junior Darren Koopman has taken over for Buechler as the Rockets’ defensive signal caller and joined Jonathan Herzog as the team’s leading tacklers, Zablocki said.
Zablocki also praised the play of his defensive line, which was sparked by Jake Weyker’s three sacks and helped pressure quarterback Kyle Rentmeester into throwing four interceptions.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Zablocki said of his team’s injury problems. “What it did was open the door for other people to contribute.”
The Rockets, who improved to 4-3 overall, have won three of their last four games after losing two of their first three this season. They will try to stay on a roll this Friday when they travel to Howards Grove for a 7
p.m. game that will mark the end of their regular-season schedule.
Both teams are tied for third place in the CLC race. Howards Grove (3-2) needs another win to clinch a playoff spot.
Cedar Grove-Belgium will then be idle until opening postseason play Oct. 26.
QUARTERBACK TRAVIS OBBINK broke free on a short run during Cedar Grove-Belgium’s playoff-clinching win over Elkhart Lake last Friday. The junior completed eight of 14 passes for 157 yards to complement his team’s high-powered rushing attack. Photo by Sam Arendt