CRYSTAL LAKE – Prairie Ridge felt like it was time for a test.
The Wolves’ big wins in the first four games of the football season were nice, but Friday’s matchup against Crystal Lake Central enticed them. Prairie Ridge was ready to face a stout defense, a running back like Gage Harrah, and evaluate whether it is, in fact, a truly special team this year.
The Wolves are.
Prairie Ridge held the Tigers to a shocking 76 total yards of offense, while the Wolves rolled up 378 to win, 29-0, in a Fox Valley Conference crossover at Prairie Ridge Athletic Stadium on the Wolves’ homecoming night.
“Those 48-point games, yeah, that’s nice to read in the paper and stuff, but for our team, we needed a game like this to make sure we’re [where we need to be],” Prairie Ridge coach Chris Schremp said. “We’re learning how to play against a tough defense.”
It was the first game this year that Schremp’s first string offense spent an entire game on the field, but his defense really shined. The Wolves (5-0 overall) set the tone early, forcing Central (3-2) to go three-and-out on its first possession of the game.
The Tigers earned just four first downs the entire game, and did not earn their first until their second possession of the second quarter.
“It was all our [defensive line] tonight,” said linebacker Brad Simms, who recorded a safety in the fourth quarter. “Everyone got to their spots, and we were able to shut things down.”
Prairie Ridge’s offense got going late in the first quarter when quarterback Nick Nissen hit running back Jordan Getzelman (14 carries, 101 yards) on a 40-yard pass for a touchdown.
Nissen added two rushing touchdowns of his own and running back Connor Greenwald scored two field goals to round out the offensive effort.
Central’s offense never quite clicked. Harrah, one of the area’s top 10 rushers, was limited to 21 yards on 18 carries and left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury.
Harrah was on crutches after the game and said the athletic trainers suspect he sprained his medial collateral ligament. Harrah will get an MRI on Monday.
To hold the Wolves’ explosive offense to three touchdowns was a success in itself, and Central coach Matt Fralick was pleased with that effort.
“We played great defense,” he said, “but we left our defense out there for the whole game. We couldn’t get anything open.”