A-R comes out firing, runs past Cats

Jamie Theesfeld
AlWood-ROWVA’s Matt Carlson looks upfield during a kickoff return in the first half of Friday’s season opener in Galva-Williamsfield. Giving chase for the host Wildcats is Mitch Kitterman. A-R rolled to a 50-12 triumph over the G-W.

Things started out somewhat promising for the Galva-Williamsfield Wildcats in their season opener at home against AlWood-ROWVA as senior Bryce Glisan returned the opening kickoff 42 yards to the visiting Bulldogs’ 36-yard line.

But things deteriorated shortly after when A-R’s Luke Brandt picked off a pass two plays later. That was followed several snaps later by a 36-yard touchdown run by Devin Pulley.

The Bulldogs would score on five of first six possessions and would go on to cruise to a 50-12 win over the Wildcats. It was the Wildcats’ 15th straight loss and spoiled the debut of the Galva-Williamsfield football co-op.

“We started off real well but Brandt made a great play on the interception and that took the wind out of our sails,” said  fourth-year G-W head coach Jeff Schmulbach. “We weren’t able to really re-group until after halftime.”

By that time, the Wildcats trailed 43-0.

“We haven’t been a team that has been able to rebound after making a big mistake,” Schmulbach conceded. “That still seems to be our biggest problem.”

His coaching counterpart, A-R’s Taul Noard, agreed that Brandt’s pick was a pivotal play early in the game.

“Luke’s interception  gave us the momentum and we had things go our way right off the bat,” Noard said.

While the Bulldogs were having their way offensively most of the whole half, the visitors limited the Wildcats to very little success on their offense.

“Our defense is a lot tougher than it was last year,” Noard said. “I think it’s the year’s experience and the kids our learning the system and gaining confidence. And we think we have people in the right positions now.”

The improved A-R defense got into the scoring act when Tyler Carlson picked up a fumble and returned it 55 yards for a TD in the Bulldogs’ 29-point first-quarter outburst.

Senior Cameron Teel led the Bulldogs’ offense, rushing for 103 yards on nine carries and three TDs. He scored on runs of 4, 5 and 14 yards. Pulley added 68 yards on just two attempts while Brandt chipped in 56 yards on eight carries and two TDs. He went in  from four and 22 yards out.

The Wildcats averted a shutout late in the third quarter on Spencer Clark’s 8-yard quarterback keeper for a touchdown. Clark added a 13-yard TD run with 4:34 remaining in the game.

“Their speed took our guys a little time to adjust,” Schmulbach said. “Once we got used to the speed and settled down, we looked a lot better, but by that time, it was a little out of the control.”

The second half was played with a continous clock and Noard took the opportunity to substitute freely.

“Ir was good to get a lot of guys into the game,” Noard said, whose team was coming off an 1-8 season last year. “We have 12, 13 guys who are fighting for starting spots. The competition will really be good for us.”

Things don’t get easier for the Wildcats as they travel to Wyoming Friday to face Stark County.

The Rebels opened the season by blanking Cambridge, 27-0. A-R will host Peoria Heights in Oneida on Friday,