By Kurt Ritzman
Herald Assistant Sports Editor
PRESTON — Preston knew it had a big challenge Friday night in Gilbertville Don Bosco.
The Trojans scored 41 points — the most Don Bosco has given up this season by 14 — but it wasn’t enough to overcome the fifth-ranked Dons. Don Bosco earned a 58-41 victory over No. 7 Preston.
“It was a heck of a game,” Preston coach Kevin Behr said. “They’re a heck of a team. We knew they were.”
It also took Don Bosco’s highest offensive output of the season to get the win.
“This was a battle of two offenses and ours did its job,” Don Bosco quarterback Jake Hogan said. Hogan, whom Behr called a really nice athlete, gained 329 yards rushing and passed for 107 yards. He threw for three touchdowns and ran for two.
“I have to give a lot of credit to my line,” Hogan said. “Those guys do great.”
Junior Andrew Driscoll led the Trojans with 257 yards — 199 rushing — and five touchdowns.
“I have to give all the credit to the line,” Driscoll said. “They did a good job. They always do a good job. They go hard every play.”
There are a couple of things that could be pointed out as the reason the Dons are 5-0, while the Trojans are 4-1.
Preston scored on the game’s opening possession, forced Don Bosco to punt and was driving again when the Trojans fumbled. That set the Dons up at Preston’s 25, and six plays later Don Bosco had an 8-7 lead.
Later in the first quarter, Preston trailed 14-13 and had the ball in the red zone, when the Trojans lost another fumble. Don Bosco turned that into another touchdown, and Preston couldn’t close the gap after that.
“Turnovers are never good,” Behr said. “There’s a lot more plays in a football game than just those. There’s kids who may have missed a tackle or a block. They capitalized on things. Even though we turned it over, if we would have stuffed them on D, it wouldn’t have mattered. Turnovers are never good, and we’ll correct that, but that wasn’t the difference in the game.”
Another turning point occurred when Preston seemed to have Don Bosco in a bad position. The Dons faced second-and-34 at their own 14, leading 28-19. With three Preston defenders closing in on him, Hogan passed to Dylon Rhoads, who ran a bubble screen route in the middle of the field. That play turned into a 66-yard touchdown and gave the Dons a 36-19 halftime lead.
“We were right there,” Behr said. “They executed one hell of a play there. But that’s kind of been our M.O. this season. We’ve had some growing pains. We’re kind of young, not a lot of varsity experience. Lack of mental toughness, we kind of give up good plays when we shouldn’t. It’s gotten better and it will continue to get better. By the end of the year, we’ll be a much better team.”
Don Bosco scored the first two touchdowns of the third quarter to go ahead 50-19 and looked as if it might run away with the game. But the Trojans didn’t let that happen.
“The first thing I commended them on was their will and their heart,” Behr said. “They never quit, even when it seemed to get away from us.”
Driscoll broke off a 42-yard touchdown run. Preston’s defense then recovered a fumble by the Dons. A 16-yard pass from Colin Larson to Logan Wilhelm and a 16-yard run by Chase Zaruba got the ball to the 3, and Driscoll punched it in from there.
“I like to say Andy runs angry,” Behr said. “I really noticed this summer he worked his butt off. ... He’s got a real low center of gravity and his legs are constantly churning. He doesn’t shy away from contact.”
Each team scored 22 points after halftime.
Preston’s second touchdown in the first quarter came on a pass. Larson scrambled and to buy time and then threw the ball deep to Wilhelm. Wilhelm, who is 6 feet, 7 inches tall, plucked the ball over a leaping defender and ran in for a 55-yard touchdown.
But it was Hogan and the Dons who won the battle of unbeaten ranked teams.
“This is a huge game,” Hogan said. “We might see these guys again in the playoffs. Now we know what they do and who their good players are and stuff.”
But as Behr pointed out, this game doesn’t really affect very much at all.
“The beauty of it is this was a non-district, almost a preseason game,” he said. “We’re still 4-0 in district. We’re going to play Springville next week, who’s also 4-0. We’re going to come back and work even harder. We’re going to get better.
“Nobody hates losing more than me, and we’re going to defend that district crown.”
Next week, the battle will actually mean something and the Trojans will be ready.
“We have to come back better, with a chip on our shoulder,” Driscoll said. “We’ll have a good week of practice for homecoming, come back and win.”
GILBERTVILLE DON BOSCO 58,
Don Bosco 14 22 14 8 — 58
Preston 13 6 14 8 — 41
P — Andrew Driscoll 7 run (Colton Bormann kick), 9:34
DB — Tyler Backes 3 pass from Jake Hogan (Hogan run), 4:57
P — Logan Wilhelm 55 pass from Colin Larson (kick failed), 4:39
DB — Hogan 62 run (run failed), 3:48
DB — Tyler Metcalf 5 pass from Hogan (Travis Havel pass from Hogan), 11:12
DB — Backes 1 run (pass failed), 8:34
P — Driscoll 4 run (run failed), 6:15
DB — Dylon Rhoads 66 pass from Hogan (Metcalf pass from Hogan), 3:41
DB — Hogan 2 run (Rhoads pass from Hogan), 7:22
DB — Backes 7 run (pass failed), 4:56
P — Driscoll 42 run (run failed), 3:34
P — Driscoll 3 run (Chase Zaruba run), 0:58
DB — Backes run 9 (Backes run), 2:34
P — Driscoll 4 run (Driscoll run), 0:36
Rushing — Don Bosco (47-447), Jake Hogan 28-329, Tyler Backes 17-118, Kyle Howe 1-1; Preston (55-296), Andrew Driscoll 32-199, Chase Zaruba 13-70, Colin Larson 5-18, Dalton Milder 5-9).
Passing — Don Bosco (6-10-0, 107 yards), Hogan 6-10-0, 107 yards; Preston (8-15-1, 141 yards), Larson 8-15-1, 141 yards.
Receiving — Don Bosco, Dylon Rhoads 2-79, Backes 3-23, Tyler Metcalf 1-5; Preston, Logan Wilhelm 3-83, Driscoll 5-58.
QB leads No. 5 Don Bosco past No. 7 Preston
By Kurt Ritzman
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