Written by STEVE OSTERMANN
Wednesday, 19 October 2011 17:52
Tailback Alex Giles has been the main go-to man on the Cedar Grove-Belgium football team all season.
It was no surprise, then, that Howards Grove focused its defensive game plan around containing the fleet-footed junior when it faced the host Rockets in a Central Lakeshore football finale last Friday night.HUNTER BUECHLER broke through the line for yardage in Cedar Grove-Belgium’s win over Howards Grove. Photo by Sam Arendt
Although Howards Grove had little success stopping Giles, Cedar Grove-Belgium had another weapon to unleash in a 49-8 win that clinched on outright CLC title.
Senior fullback Hunter Buechler rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries and intercepted a pass as the Rockets finished the regular season 9-0.
“Hunter definitely stepped up for us,” said Cedar Grove-Belgium coach Chris Zablocki, whose team won its third league crown in the last four years.
“He runs hard, and it was nice to see him come through like that. He and Alex have kind of been thunder and lightning in the backfield for us this season.”
The Rockets had little trouble powering their way past another CLC foe, this time building a 42-0 lead by halftime. In addition to dominating the line on both sides of the ball, Cedar Grove-Belgium received extra motivation from an injured player.
Senior guard Brandon Miles, a two-year starter and one of the Rockets’ top offensive lineman, broke his leg in the first quarter and will be lost for the season.
“It’s a big loss for us. Brandon is one of our senior leaders and will be missed,” Zablocki said.
“The kids were inspired and really pulled together when he went down. They exploded with some big runs and pass plays.”
In the second quarter, the Rockets turned the game into a rout by scoring five touchdowns.
Buechler found the end zone on runs of 21 and six yards, sandwiched around a 54-yard touchdown run by Giles. After linebacker Jon Herzog returned an interception 15 yards for a score, quarterback T.J. Obbink tossed a 64-yard touchdown pass to Giles.
The scoring pace slowed in the second half when reserves for both teams took over.
The Rockets’ final touchdown came on a 30-yard run by Justin Keller in the third period.
Howards Grove averted a shutout when Ashton Holzman caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Noah Steines.
Cedar Grove-Belgium finished with 362 yards of total offense to just 177 for the Tigers (4-5 overall, 3-3 in the CLC).
The win gave the Rockets their third undefeated regular season in four years and plenty of momentum heading into this week’s WIAA playoffs (see related story).
The game also continued a dominant statistical showing by Cedar Grove-Belgium, which has outscored its opponents, 425-55. The senior-heavy Rockets have posted four shutouts and not allowed a rushing touchdown.
“With all the kids we’ve had return this year, it’s a tribute to how hard they worked in the off-season,” Zablocki said.
“They knew they had to make the most of their final year, and they put in all the time in the weight room and at camps to get ready.
“We still have some goals to meet, but I’m really proud of what they have accomplished so far.”