Crystal Lake South coach Chuck Ahsmann had a special hug for his junior son, Joey, after his Gators ran away from Johnsburg 34-7 on Friday night.
Maybe it was just to celebrate the third win of the season for South. Or maybe for having the sense to not stop running when Joey picked up the ball in the second quarter following a blocked field goal.
Joey Ahsmann was credited with a 70-yard touchdown run following the blocked field goal.
"I didn't know what to do,'' Joey Ahsmann said. "I just picked it up and started running. I didn't think it would be a touchdown. I just waited for the whistle to blow. I really don't know how to explain it. All I know it gave us a lot of momentum."
Momentum is the key word here. South had marched 83 yards with its first possession and chewed up seven minutes of the first quarter clock in the process. However that 7-0 stretched to late in the second quarter. And when Johnsburg set up for a makeable 27-yard field goal, it looked like a competitive game would break out in Crystal Lake.
Instead of a 7-3 lead, Ahsmann's heads-up play gave the Gators a 14-0 halftime lead.
"And my kid scored the touchdown,'' Chuck Ahsmann said.
And the second half belonged to a Gators' receiver named Kyle Bartusch. And he didn't play favorites. He caught his first touchdown pass of the second half from starting quarterback Austin Rogers. The next two TD passes he snared came from backup quarterback Payton Minogue.
"Bartusch had a career day,'' coach Ahsmann said.
The first TD pass measured 55 yards as Rogers found Bartusch over the middle.
"That was the second time we ran that play,'' Bartusch said. "We knew their safety bit on the play. I got behind him and got open."
Two minutes later, with a different quarterback, Bartusch was back in the end zone. The very athletic, Minogue, gave Bartusch his second score, this time from 31 yards out. The junior's third score came after Minogue dodged a few defenders and found Bartusch open from 21 yards out early in the fourth quarter.
"He wasn't our main receiver on two of those,'' coach Ahsmann said.
Rogers scored the game's first touchdown on an 8-yard run. Another athletic quarterback, Johnsburg's Nick Brengman, rallied his club for the game's final score. His 24-yard scamper set up the last march. With nine seconds left on the clock, he connected with Bailey Stefka on a 17-yard scoring play.
"Their quarterback is good,'' coach Ahsmann said. "And Johnsburg plays hard. They also have some size on the lower levels."