“It was a wonderful win,” stated senior center Chris Uecker. “We came out and we were ready to play and played hard. It feels pretty awesome being the first undefeated team here at Busco.”
The Eagles went to work on defense first shutting down the Laker attack forcing them to punt on the opening series. Churubusco’s offense moved quickly as Alex Zolman gained six yards to midfield and Jason Nicodemus ran for 11 yards. Two plays later Nicodemus broke tackles and ran through the Lakeland defense for a 41 yard touchdown run. With the point after by Aaron Zolman it was 7-0 Eagles just four minutes into the contest. But the Lakers answered right back as they got inside the ten on a run by Cory Troyer and an Eagle penalty. Dustin Wolheter carried to the three and the defense held on the next two plays before Wolheter plunged in from inches out, 7-7 is now what the scoreboard read. Both teams went for it and failed on fourth down tries to wrap up the first quarter.
“They are an extremely talented and dangerous football team,” said Coach Etzler of the Lakeland team. “They always pose trouble for us on the defensive side of the ball and it was a struggle to move the ball.”
On Busco’s next drive Josh LeFever ran for 17 then Nicodemus for five and LeFever picked up eight more to the Churubusco 44 yard line. Following a time out by the Eagles Zolman hit LeFever over the middle and LeFever worked his way through the Laker defense for a 56 yard pass play for a score. An offside penalty against Lakeland on the point after try gave the Eagles the ball at the one and a half yard line. Coach Etzler decided to go for two points and called LeFever on a sweep and he found the end zone for a 15-7 Churubusco lead.
“We were fortunate to hit a couple big plays early,” recalls Coach Etzler. “Even when we didn’t score we maintained the football a little bit that helped our defense out a lot. We had a few players that I don’t think left the field all night.”
The Eagles stopped the Lakers’ big runners but Troyer again found daylight down the sidelines to the ten yard line. The Eagle defense dug in and they pushed the Lakers back forcing them to attempt a field goal. On fourth and 13 Marco Olivares connected from 30 yards out making it 15-10 Eagles.
“They have a very good football team and they are very physical upfront,” commented defensive Coach Zach Dock, when asked about Lakeland. “That was what we talked about to our kids all week was about being physical and our kids responded. They played really hard and played well.”
Churubusco opened the second half with a nine play drive but it stalled out at the Laker 34 yard line. Lakeland came out giving the ball to Wolheter ten times out of the thirteen plays, in a drive that took six and a half minutes. The Lakers went for it on fourth down resulting in a quarterback sack by Brient Hicks.
“Hitting hard was one of the keys to the game tonight,” stated Jason Nicodemus. “We won the physical battle, we out hit them tonight and that was a big factor in us winning here tonight. The offensive line did a great job especially when things got tough.”
The Eagles went to work on the clock taking six minutes off during their next drive. A thirteen play venture was halted at the Laker 22 yard line on a missed fourth down try. The defense rose to the occassion as the rain hit the field. The Eagle defense rained on the Laker offense forcing them to fumble and a bad snap on the punt attempt gave Busco two points on a safety as Hicks and Teegan Brumbaugh tackled the punter in the end zone, 17-10 Eagles with 5:48 remaining. The defense shut down the last Laker attempt and Zolman took a couple of kneel downs to end the game. “Ladies and Gentleman, the Churubusco Eagles are your 2011 NECC Conference Champions and have completed the first undefeated season in school history.”
“That just gave us more motivation,” replied LeFever, when asked about this season’s prediction. “We had a lot of doubters, we lost a lot of good players and we just wanted to prove them wrong. And we did that from game one to this game and now it’s on to Woodlan.”
“We are really proud of the way our kids stepped it up tonight and were able to play a physical contest,” added Coach Dock. “This was by far the most physical game we have played this season.”
Next up for Churubusco is the Woodlan Warriors at Woodburn this Friday. Time for the Sectional games have changed. The kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. instead of the usual 7:30 p.m. starting time. Our Eagles are on a roll so come on out and support them on their quest for perfection.