Because heavy rains Thursday night soaked the Carlinville Cavaliers' football field, one of the traditional features of their legendary halftime show wasn't permitted; the Cavalier who graces home games on horseback couldn't appear because of wet field conditions. Sadly, two human Colt(ons) could participate in the game; senior Colton DeLong, a 220 lb. running back with shifty feet and more than adequate power, scored three touchdowns while gaining 251 yards on 29 carries. Sophomore running back Colton Robinson, more of a fullback type, also scored three touchdowns with punishing runs.
The duo kept Carlinville playoff hopes very much alive by leading the home team to a 40-8 victory over the undermanned but spirited Toppers. The Cavalier offensive line was big enough to overpower the Hillsboro defensive line, and quick enough so Topper linebackers Jonah Harkins, Drew Willman, Jackson Hamby, Andrew Law, and Curtis Segrest were under pressure to make tackles for the first three quarters. They responded with impressive tackle numbers (with the help of cornerbacks Joey Lipe and Ben Taylor -- Lipe had seven tackles, three assists, while Taylor recorded five tackles and two assists). Even though the defense as an entity seemed more physical than in past games, the tackles were taking place five and six yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
How dominant was the Cavalier offensive line? They allowed DeLong to stand alone eight yards behind quarterback Michael Byots so he could pick an opening to run through once blocks were executed; when the defense anticipated a carry from DeLong and keyed on him, Byots would slip the ball to Robinson much nearer the line of scrimmage. Byots only passed twice, (the first came late in the third quarter), and he ran only once; credit for the Cavalier success goes to the line that executed so well.
Their first score came on their first possession. DeLong carried seven of the nine plays on the 56 yard drive, gaining 46 of the yards; Robinson carried twice, including the one yard touchdown plunge.
Their second possession began on their 33 (Hillsboro's offense in the first half was hampered by four holding calls). This drive began with 4:05 to play in the first quarter and ended eight seconds into the second when DeLong scored on a 23 yard gallop.
Hillsboro's only score came 90 seconds later. The three play, 70 yard drive featured two long runs, a 23 yarder by Harkins and a 45 yard sprint by quarterback Jace Tuetken. A holding call on the first extra points pass nullified it, but Tuetken's second pass to Lipe added the two points anyway, so the Toppers trailed 14-8. It was downhill from there as the battering ram Carlinville offense hit another gear.
On the ensuing possession, DeLong carried five times for 32 yards; and Robinson carried twice for 15, including the ten yard scoring run. Only a Segrest touchdown saving tackle of DeLong on the Topper 35 delayed the score; the Cavaliers were aided by a 15 yard personal foul penalty on the next play.
The Cavie lead became an imposing 20 when the hosts turned the only Topper turnover (a high snap over Tuetken's head on the Carlinville 46) into their fourth touchdown. On the tenth rushing play DeLong reached pay dirt from the 5.
Carlinville received the second half kickoff. Speedy Jahraven Johnson almost returned it for a score, but he was stopped at the Topper 46 a step away from an open field. DeLong reached the Topper 17 the first time he carried after halftime; Robinson scored from the 6, 90 seconds after the kickoff.
Hillsboro's offensive then became their most effective defense; following the time-proven saying "If we have the ball, they can't score," Tuetken and company ran 18 clock-eating plays, reaching the Cavie 24 before Reid Kleeman sacked Tuetken as he looked for a receiver facing a fourth down and nine situation.
Byots then threw for the first time, for a 25 yard gain to Joe Lewis to ignite their last scoring drive. Byots finished the quarter with his only carry, a six yard bolt to the Topper 19. Five plays later, DeLong finished his productive night with a seven yard burst up the middle.
The Cavaliers won for the third time in a row; one more win makes them playoff eligible. Piasa Southwestern and Litchfield on left are their schedule.
Hillsboro hosts Litchfield for the Toppers' send off of their seniors this Friday; one of the county rivals will gain its first win of the season. Kickoff time is 7 p.m. Hillsboro travels to Pana for the last action of the season on Oct. 25.
October 11 at Carlinville
Hillsboro (0-7) 0 8 0 0 8
Carlinville 7 21 6 6 40
1st: Carlinville - Colton Robinson 1-yard run (Lonny Rosentreter kick)
2nd: Carlinville - Colton DeLong 23-yard run (Lonny Rosentreter kick)
2nd: Hillsboro - Jace Tuetken 45-yard run (Jace Tuetken pass to Joey Lipe)
2nd: Carlinville - Colton Robinson 10-yard run (Lonny Rosentreter kick)
2nd: Carlinville - Colton DeLong 5-yard run (Lonny Rosentreter kick)
3rd: Carlinville - Colton Robinson 6-yard run (kick blocked)
4th: Carlinville - Colton DeLong 7-yard run (run failed)
Passing: Hillsboro - Jace Tuetken 3-13-25; Carlinville - Byots 1-2-25, Tiburzi 1-1-9.
Rushing: Hillsboro - Jace Tuetken 23-99, Jonah Harkins 11-43, Joey Lipe 1-4, Dylan McCammack 1-2; Carlinville - DeLong 29-251, Robinson 12-60, Duckels 6-10, Rosentreter 1-9, Seal 2-6, Johnson 1-5, Daugherty 3-(-2).
Receiving: Hillsboro - Andrew Law 1-14, Jonah Harkins 1-8, Jude Bertolino 1-3; Carlinville - J. Lewis 1-25, Duckels 1-9.
Defense (Solo/Assists): Jackson Hamby 8/4; Jonah Harkins 8/4; Joey Lipe 7/3; Curtis Segrest 5/3; Ben Taylor 5/2; Magnus Wells 3/3; Drew Willman 4/2; Andrew Law 5/1; Jude Bertolino 4/1; Ian Malloy 2/1; Dylan McCammack 1/2; Jace Tuetken 3/0; Maddox Scott 1/1; Brett Cunningham 0/2.