ALBION — Edwards County has had its fair share of issues in the 2021 high school season. The Lions started off their first two weeks of the season with forfeit losses against Johnston City and Flora.
In the two games they did play in, the Lions could not gain any offensive momentum at all. They were shut out in Week 3 30-0 by Hamilton County/McLeansboro. They only managed to score once in Week 4 against Sesser-Valier/Waltonville. Unfortunately, the Red Devils were too much for the Lions, losing in blowout fashion 61-7.
Meanwhile, Nokomis has recovered from their Week 2 loss against Central A&M. In Week 3, a second-half rally led the Redskins to victory against East Alton-Wood River, 24-20. A strong offensive corps, along with effective defensive, led to the domination of Litchfield in Week 4, 62-20.
It’s a tale of two schools with completely different records for this road game in Albion. So will Nokomis advance one game close to playoff glory? Could Edwards County attempt an upset and score their first win of the season? However, in the latter, the win was just out of reach.
Nokomis made most of the game impact in the first half
While the two-and-a-half-hour commute to Albion was the Redskins’ longest of the season, the game took things much further. In the big picture, this game took Nokomis one game closer to advancing to the playoffs.
With the 59-3 win, Nokomis would need to win only two games to advance.
“We have a couple [of] big games coming up with Alton Marquette, Gillespie, and Pana,” said assistant coach Ben Tarter. “Props to Mr. Reedy for getting us a game, or we’d be sitting at home with no playoff points. Every point is crucial right now going into the playoff weeks.”
While points for playoff inclusion are crucial and difficult to come by, the Redskins had very few problems offensively.
Jake Watson took in the first six points of 19 in the first quarter through a 67-yard run on their first offensive play of the game. Edwards County, which received the kickoff, was not able to take advantage of their first drive, held to a three-and-out.
Brief hiccups for Nokomis, but continue to blaze forward
The Nokomis squad had some hiccups when receiving the ball after the Lions’ second three-and-out. A fumble, unfortunately, gave the ball right back to Edwards County.
It would appear Edwards County had something going for them as sophomore quarterback Max Gerlach was connecting with senior wide receiver Dylan Rhodes with a 20-yarder, marking the team’s first overall first down.
The Lions’ stay in Redskins territory was ultimately brief, as Craig Bertolino made a fumble recovery on the next play.
Nokomis hit the field running on that drive, with Watson running 29, Matthew Hill running 37, and Hill running the remaining six after an illegal motion penalty. That drive would result in a 13-0 score with 5:16 remaining in the first quarter.
Watson made his second touchdown of the day, set up by a 43-yard run from Hill to the two-yard line. That made the score 19-0, and that’s how the first quarter concludes.
Edwards County couldn’t gain any significant ground
The Lions had their fair share of issues in the second quarter, despite some brief flashes.
While Edwards County was able to secure their second first down of the game via a 27-yarder from Gerlach to Rhodes, it was short-lived. They made it to the Redskins’ 34-yard line and could not push any further, turning the ball over on downs.
Nokomis would continue to capitalize on the Lions’ shortcomings.
A 23-yard run from Jake Johnson and a penalty moved the ball to the Lions’ 28-yard line. Johnson would break through on the next play for another touchdown to make it 27-0.
Things would continue to get better for Nokomis, as Isaac Satterlee recovered their own kickoff to put Nokomis back on the offensive. Connor Overby connected with Johnson and Cooper Bertolino on a pair of 13-yard shots. Overby would then score his first touchdown on a five-yard quarterback sneak. A good extra point kick from Ryan Quinn made it 34-0.
The Redskins made one more scoring run with a 72-yard offensive drive. Johnson ran the ball 17 yards, followed by an Overby 21-yard shot to Satterlee. The drive would conclude with a 34-yard touchdown run to make it 41-0. That score would remain intact for the remainder of the half.
The second half blew by faster for Nokomis and Edwards County
The game in the second half would breeze by quite quickly. Similar to the first half, Nokomis scored on their first offensive drive, a 60-yard run by Hill.
Both teams were held to three-and-outs, with a high snap giving the Lions their best field position of the game. However, they could not advance beyond that six-yard line. The Redskins defensive corps managed to keep Edwards County out of the end zone, breaking the shutout with a 25-yard field goal from Preston Wright to make it 47-3.
And that was what the scoring was limited to in the third quarter: nine points between the two teams.
Nokomis JV squad scores final two touchdowns
Similar to last week, the junior varsity squad had their opportunities in the fourth quarter. Brenton Lyons scored the penultimate touchdown on an 18-yard run to make it 53-3.
In the final minute of the game, Skylar Pavolko got the call and scored the final touchdown of the game to make it 59-3.
While not exactly the 62 points racked up against Litchfield last week, there were several opportunities where the Redskins could have surpassed that total.
Overall, it was a productive trip for Nokomis, rushing for 492 yards on 33 carries. Watson joins Matt Hill in the century club with 160 yards on eight carries.
With Overby’s 3-for-4 for 50 yards, this marks the Redskins’ first 500+ yard offensive stat sheet this season.
With back-to-back wins, the schedule begins to increase its difficulty. Next week, Nokomis takes on Alton Marquette at home. While the Explorers are 0-5 so far this season, they have been historically a thorn in the Redskins’ side. Nokomis’ last win against the Explorers was in 2014 in a 15-14 affair. Since then, Alton Marquette has won five straight. Neither team played each other in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite that history, Nokomis will be ready when the Explorers come to town on Friday, Oct. 1.
“We’ll ramp it up next week and work on our blitz packages and on containing the quarterback. We know he likes to scramble a lot,” Assistant Coach Tarter said. “I told the guys earlier that every week is going to get harder and harder with our big games coming up. This is our big stretch to get those wins and become playoff eligible.”
Nokomis offensive stats
|1||Connor Overby (Sr)||3||8||2.7||4||1|
|8||Garret Engelman (Fr)||1||5||5.0|
|8||Skylar Pavolko (So)||4||31||7.8||22||1|
|11||Jake Johnson (Sr)||4||56||14.0||23|
|28||Jake Watson (Sr)||8||160||20.0||67||3|
|29||Matt Hill (Sr)||5||180||36.0||60||3|
|36||Craig Bertolino (Jr)||3||13||4.3||7|
|41||Brenton Lyons (So)||4||40||10.0||19|
|44||Ryan Quinn (So)||1||10||10.0||10|
|6||C. Bertolino (Sr)||1||16||16.0||16|
|11||Jake Johnson (Sr)||1||13||13.0||13|
|13||Isaac Satterlee (Sr)||1||21||21.0||21|
|1||Connor Overby (Sr)||50||8||58|
|6||C. Bertolino (Sr)||16||16|
|8||Garret Engelman (Fr)||5||5|
|8||Skylar Pavolko (So)||31||31|
|11||Jake Johnson (Sr)||56||13||69|
|13||Isaac Satterlee (Sr)||21||21|
|28||Jake Watson (Sr)||160||160|
|29||Matt Hill (Sr)||180||180|
|36||Craig Bertolino (Jr)||13||13|
|41||Brenton Lyons (So)||40||40|
|44||Ryan Quinn (So)||10||10|
Nokomis defensive stats
|#||Athlete Name||Solo||Asst||Tot Tckls||TFL|
|1||Connor Overby (Sr)||1||1|
|3||Nolan Ernst (Sr)||1||1||2|
|6||C. Bertolino (Sr)||1||2||3|
|8||Garret Engelman (Fr)||1||2||3|
|8||Skylar Pavolko (So)||2||2|
|13||Isaac Satterlee (Sr)||1||1|
|14||Kolin Reynolds (Jr)||1||1|
|19||Zaylon Sisk (Jr)||3||3|
|28||Jake Watson (Sr)||2||5||7|
|29||Matt Hill (Sr)||2||2|
|36||Craig Bertolino (Jr)||2||3||5|
|46||Kaeden Loafman (So)||2||2|
|52||Ryan Eisenbarth (Jr)||1||1|
|55||Jaxson Batty (So)||2||2|
|56||Mason Morris (Jr)||1||1|
|57||Jackson Kirk (Jr)||1||1||2|
|59||Kaden Cook (Sr)||3||3|
|66||Glenn Goodin (So)||1||1|
|72||Kendall Coss (Jr)||1||1|
|74||Tanner Woolard (Sr)||1||1|
|78||Wyatt Dooley (Sr)||2||2|
|#||Athlete Name||Int||Int Yds||Avg||PD|
|13||Isaac Satterlee (Sr)||1|
|41||Brenton Lyons (So)||1||44||44.0|
Fumbles and blocks
|#||Athlete Name||Fmb Rec||FR Yds||Caus||Blk Pnts||Blk FGs|
|36||Craig Bertolino (Jr)||1|
Nokomis special teams stats
|7||Ryan Eisenbarth (Jr)||7||202||28.9||40|
|44||Ryan Quinn (So)||1||32||32.0||32|
Edwards County stats
There is limited information available on the stats for the Edwards County Lions.
However, a recap video from Nokomis reveals that the Lions were held to 64 total offensive yards. The breakdown comes to 61 yards passing and three yards rushing.
Preston Wright was responsible for the Lions’ only score of the game.
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.