Samson Evans’ sparkling moments of football brilliance happen so often that it is possible the Fox Valley conference crowds are starting to take them for granted.
The Prairie Ridge quarterback opened the game with a 70-yard touchdown run. Ho hum, he does that all the time. It barely turned any heads.
So Evans upped the ante in the third quarter. His hole up the middle was stuffed, so he bounced out to the left sideline for twenty yards, then made an insane cut across the field to the right sideline. It was a jaw-dropping, 68-yard touchdown run.
“It was definitely one of my better runs,” Evans said. “I was watching the Ohio State game last night with J.K. Dobbins. I saw him do that cut and knew I needed to try it out. When I saw them over pursuing I knew I could do it.”
That score put the visiting. Wolves ahead for good. No. 14 Huntley made a game of it in the end, but No. 2 Prairie Ridge held on for a 51-43 win.
“That run was unbelievable,” Prairie Ridge coach Chris Schremp said. “[Evans] is a fun player to watch. That was one of his better ones without a doubt. A lot of that was just on his own. They have a fast team, to be able to do that against those guys, that is impressive.
Evans had 29 carries for 245 yards and five touchdown runs. The Iowa recruit finished 4-for-7 for 113 yards passing, including a 63-yard touchdown pass to Zach Gulbransen.
“After the first week we knew we had to come out and make a statement and that’s what we did,” Evans said. “Our offense didn’t execute last week. We had chances to score last week and we didn’t and we knew that couldn’t happen again.”
The Red Raiders (1-1, 1-1) had a disastrous stretch in the third quarter that included two interceptions and three consecutive penalties that gave the Wolves 49 yards. Prairie Ridge (2-0, 2-0) led 48-28.
“We made mistakes and lost the turnover battle,” Huntley quarterback Eric Mooney said. “We will fix that, it happens. We had some bonehead penalties. We rallied together though and made it close. We just have to learn from it.”
Mooney is one of the area’s breakout stars after two weeks. The senior rushed 11 times for 92 yards and one touchdown. He has a rocket arm, finished 18-for-30 passing with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
“Offensively they are one of the best teams in the state,” Mooney said. “We knew it was going to be a shootout.”
Red Raiders receiver Ryan Antonsen was Mooney’s favorite target, he caught every ball in his direction, finishing with 11 catches for 91 yards and two touchdowns.
Mooney connected with Antonsen for a score with 1:23 to play to pull the Red Raiders within eight, but time expired on the comeback.
“I wasn’t worried,” Evans said. “Our offense was executing too well.”
Prairie Ridge, the defending Class 6A state champions, entered on a 15-game winning streak, tied with East St. Louis, Forreston and IC Catholic as the state’s longest. The Wolves were the preseason top-ranked team, but fell to No. 2 after Maine South posted a terrific win against Glenbard West last week.