WOODSTOCK – Woodstock North won its fourth straight football game – and more importantly moved one step closer to earning a share of the Fox Valley Conference Fox Division title – by handing Hampshire a 46-14 loss Friday.
The Thunder (6-2 overall, 4-1 FVC Fox) started off strong, scoring on four of its first five possessions in the opening half. Quarterback Brian Loftin set the tone for the evening, scoring untouched on a 47-yard run on the Thunder’s opening drive.
“In the first half we wanted to come out and a send a message that we came to play,” said Loftin, who also threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Shane Zieman on the Thunder’s next possession.
The Thunder dominated the ground game rushing for 385 total yards, compared to the Whip-Purs 173. Woodstock North running back Ryan Wade rushed for two TDs in the first half on runs of 1 yard and 8 yards.
The Thunder also had two 100-yard rushers. Adam Haimbaugh finished as the leading rusher with his 175 yards on 12 carries. He also scored on long TD runs in the second half (69 yards and 45 yards). Loftin ran for 146 yards and scored the Thunder’s last TD on a 58-yard run with 6:14 left in the game.
“Our team picked the best time to play its best game of the season,” Thunder coach Jeff Schroeder said.
The Thunder’s defense forced the Whip-Purs to commit four turnovers, two coming on interceptions by Grant Wade.
“Our defense has been solid all year,” Schroeder said. “Our defense really stepped it up tonight, and Grant’s two interceptions were clutch.”
Nick Kielbasa led Hampshire (3-5, 2-3) with 48 yards rushing. Hampshire running back Phil LaPointe scored the only offensive TD for the Whip-Purs on a 6-yard run with 7:14 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Whip-Purs scored their only first-half TD on special teams as Chris Calvin scored on an 85-yard kick-off return with 6:40 remaining in the second quarter.
With the loss, the Whip-Purs were eliminated from playoff contention. Meanwhile, the Thunder made the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
Woodstock North has a big game looming next week when it hosts Fox Division leader Grayslake North (7-1, 5-0).
“Grayslake North is a good team,” Loftin said. “They gave us problems last year, and we’re going to give it our best shot.”