Running game opens up offense for RCHS

By HARLEY TOMLINSON

RCHS junior running back Addison Wilmington had his second 100-yard rushing game in three weeks with his 154 against Twin Lakes.

Rensselaer Central’s 35-0 disposal of Twin Lakes last week was the Bombers’ best performance to date.

In fact, it was RCHS’s most impressive performance in five years and hearkened back to how the 2014 state championship team thrashed many of its opponents.

Senior quarterback Eli Hickman was flawless behind center, completing 6 of 8 passes (could have been 8 of 8 if not for a couple of dropped passes) for 193 yards and three touchdowns. Junior teammate Addison Wilmington totaled 154 rushing yards on just 11 carries with a 66-yard scamper to open the game’s scoring.

The defense, meanwhile, allowed Twin Lakes to get a sniff of the end zone on a couple of occasions only to afflict pain by stopping the Indians on fourth down both times. The Bombers delivered a series of body blows with their defense, which continues to mature even as they recover from a couple of key losses.

Rensselaer was so efficient that by the midway point of the third quarter with the score 35-0, officials called for a running clock per IHSAA rules. A new rule this year, when a team has a 35-0 lead at any point of the second half the clock will continue to run and will only stop for injuries, timeouts and point-after kicks when a score is made.

Hickman said later he would have preferred to keep playing at the normal pace.

“I don’t really like it because I like playing,” he said. “It really goes too fast for me, but you deal with it.”

Twin Lakes had the ball just once in the fourth quarter when the Bombers ran off over 10 of the quarter’s 12 minutes. Bombers coach Chris Meeks was able to make substitutions as the time ticked down.

“It was a very, very quick second half,” he said. “I thought our kids executed very well and we had a nice efficient game.”

Meeks was pleased with all three phases of the game: offense, defense and special teams.

“No penalties tonight,” he said after the game. “And hats off to (kicker) Kaden Pinkerman. He was perfect on his PATs tonight like he was last week.”

The Bombers punted just once in the game and had eight offensive series in all.

Bombers face biggest challenge

With a 4-0 start, the Bombers have put themselves among the best Class 2A teams in the state. They are currently ranked fifth in both the AP and coaches polls.

On Friday, they will travel to West Lafayette, which has rebounded nicely from its opening-season loss to Lafayette Jeff. The Red Devils hammered Lafayette Central Catholic, 50-0, last week and moved into the No. 3 slot in the state’s Class 3A poll.

The ideal scenario for RCHS would be to be competitive against the best team on its schedule and come away injury free.

“We’re going to go after them,” Hickman said. “Nobody’s going to pick us. We have nothing to lose.”

Twin Lakes, meanwhile, will get conference doormat Benton Central this week for homecoming. The Indians should be able to snap their two-game slide.

“We take nothing for granted,” Indians coah Scott Mannering said. “Just because they’re a little bit down, we are too right now. We need to pull ourselves up by the boot straps and get back to it.”

KVHS gets first win on turf

Kankakee Valley’s 13-12 win over North Newton last week was the Kougars’ first win on its new turf field and first at the newly minted Fred Jones Field.

It wasn’t pretty, but the Kougars will bask in the outcome. North Newton actually could have tied the game with two seconds left, but went for two points instead. A pass play at the horn was tipped by a Spartans receiver and the Kougars were able to take a deep sigh of relief.

KV has three more games left on its turf field, including Friday’s conference match-up with rival Lowell. Highland and Munster will also bring their turf shoes in weeks 8 and 9 next month.

WEEK FOUR STARS

• Eli Hickman, Rensselaer Central, sr. QB — 6 for 8 passing for 193 yards, 3 TDs with one rushing TD in win over Twin Lakes.

• Addison Wilmington, Rensselaer Central, jr. RB — 11 carries for 154 yards and a TD.

• Noah Bierma, Rensselaer Central, sr. WR — 4 catches for 106 yards and 2 TDs.

• Kelton Hesson, Rensselaer Central, soph WR — 2 catches, 87 yards and a TD.

• Austin Goddard, North Newton, jr. QB — 10 of 20 passing for 129 yards and a TD with 56 yards rushing on 14 carries in loss to Kankakee Valley.

• Colin Wagner, North Newton, sr. RB — 25 carries for 103 yards vs. KV.

• Vince Taylor, North Newton, jr. WR — 6 catches for 89 yards and a 33-yard TD vs. KV.

• Austin Keefover, West Central, sr. LB — 11 tackles and a forced fumble in loss to Culver Community.