Herald Staff Report
The Clinton Herald
---- — JANESVILLE — Kevin Behr expected a shootout in Easton Valley’s first-round playoff football game. He didn’t expect one with this type of heavy artillery.
In the end, Easton Valley’s ground attack produced just a bit better than Janesville’s passing barrage and the River Hawks knocked off the sixth-ranked team in eight-man football 77-63 on Wednesday night.
“I did not anticipate this many points,” Behr, Easton Valley’s coach, said. “This was two really talented offensive teams slugging it out. We knew it would be a tough game.
“Janesville has a high-scoring offense; they’ve put up huge numbers all year. They have a three-year quarterback, nice receivers and spread it out all over. I said they were going to get their shots.”
But Easton Valley got its shots, too.
Senior running back Andrew Driscoll led Easton Valley (6-3), rushing for a career-high 389 yards and catching six passes for 98 yards. He capped his big night with a 12-yard scoring run as time expired.
“I’d have to say its his career game on offense, for the team, too,” Behr said. “Andy did an awesome job, but you’ve got to give credit to the guys up front — Chayce Meyer and Blake Bormann, the tight ends Jared House and Marshall Driscoll, the guards; and Brett Earles, the center — they have to control the line of scrimmage.”
A two-way player throughout his career, Driscoll accomplished the offensive feet in one of his first games playing on the defensive line rather than linebacker. “We’ve gone to a power tackle and a quicker tackle toward the end of the year to try to get more pressure. He’s so strong and powerful, he does well there.”
Still, the Easton Valley had trouble containing Janesville’s big-play offense.
Janesville quarterback Hunter Meyer completed 17 of 41 passes for 464 yards and six touchdowns. Twice, though, River Hawks players were on the receiving end of Meyer passes, and those made a huge difference.
Easton Valley senior Chase Zaruba returned one interception 34 yards for a touchdown with 46 seconds left in the first half. Blaine Volquardsen picked off the other one in the end zone with about four minutes left and Easton Valley clinging to a 71-63 lead. The River Hawks then went to a ball-control offense and ran down the clock, with Driscoll scoring on the final play.
“We got the pick six, and that was big, and Blaine Volquardsen’s interception in the end zone to stop them,” Behr said. “Our offensive lineman only go one way, and they were fresh and we were able to chew up the clock and run the ball on them.”
The win set up the River Hawks for a rematch at No. 5 Springville in the second round next Monday night. The Orioles defeated Easton Valley 66-16 in the regular season during a three-game skid for Easton Valley.
“I think the kids are sky high,” Behr said. “We had some injuries and weren’t playing real good football in that three-game stretch. The kids are anxious to prove we’re a better team than we were a month ago.”
EASTON VALLEY 77, JANESVILLE 63
Easton Valley 20 7 36 14 — 77
Janesville 13 21 21 8 — 63
EV — Andrew Driscoll 2 run (Blake Bormann kick), 8:03
J — Caleb Rieken 7 run (Hunter Meyer kick), 2:02
EV — Driscoll 60 run (Bormann kick), 1:44
J — Meyer 2 run (kick fail), :14
EV — Chase Zaruba 29 (run failed), :00
J — Nick Nelson 63 pass from Meyer (Meyer kick), 9:31
J — Nelson 60 pass from Meyer (Meyer kick) 4:00
EV — Zaruba 45 pass from Craiton Andresen (Bormann kick), :46
J — Nelson 21 pass from Meyer (Meyer kick), :30
EV — Driscoll 12 run (Bormann kick), 10:23
EV — Zaruba 34 int. ret (Bormann kick), 8:19
J — Nelson 15 from Meyer (Meyer kick), 6:38
EV — Zaruba 76 kickoff return (Bormann kick), 6:27
J — Jack Thode 18 pass from Meyer (Meyer kick), 5:24
EV — Driscoll 36 run (Bormann kick), 2:49
J — Nelson 6 run (Meyer kick), 1:54
EV — Driscoll 75 pass from Andresen (Zaruba run), :19
J — Thode 59 pass from Meyer (Meyer kick), 11:31
EV — Driscoll 35 run (Grant Hinerichsen run), 9:56
EV — Driscoll 12 run (no PAT attempt), :00
EASTON VALLEY INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING — Andrew Driscoll 33-389, Grant Hinerichsen 2-2, Chase Zaruba 10-55, Craiton Andresen 8-34.
PASSING — Andresen 7-13-0-143.
RECEIVING — Driscoll 6-98, Zaruba 1-45.