After his team had given up a long touchdown run and saw the lead cut to six points in the third quarter Friday night, Galva-Williamsfield coach Jeff Schmulbach turned to a sideline newspaper reporter.
“We can never make it easy on ourselves, can we?” he asked.
As it turned out, though, things turned out relatively easy for the Wildcats as they went on to defeat visiting Peoria Heights, 34-14.
The loss snapped the Wildcats’ 17-game losing streak. Peoria Heights also was Galva’s last victim, 26-14, in week four of the 2006 season.
A dazzling 75-yard TD romp by quarterback Brian Bart pulled the Patriots to within 20-14.
But the Wildcats answered on their next possession when Lance Salzmann tallied his third TD of the game ? a 19-yard run ? to extend the lead to 26-14. Nolan Peterson sparked the scoring drive on a 19-yard gain on a fourth-down fake punt.
“Give the kids credit, they came right back and scored,” said Schmulbach. “That was about the only real big play that we gave up.”
The Patriots’ other score came on a 55-yard interception return by Devon Branscumb late in the first quarter.
After falling just inches short of a possible win the previous week at Abingdon, the fired-up Wildcats scored on their opening drive when Salzmann plowed in from a yard out.
Salzmann then gave the Wildcats a 12-6 edge with 3:26 left in the first half on a 4-yard TD run.
G-W pushed its lead to 20-6 early in third quarter on quarterback Spencer Clark’s 12-yard TD run, followed by Salzmann’s conversion run.
Other than Bart’s long TD scamper, the Wildcats’ defense was able to control the speedy Patriots.
“Their speed scared us coming into the game,” Schmulbach said. “We knew we had to control it and we did a great job in shutting down their running game. They were forced to pass and our pass defense was able to shut that down also. Our kids left it all on the field. It was a long, hard-fought game. I couldn’t be prouder of our kids.”
The Wildcats secured the big win on Clark’s 2-yard keeper late in the game.
The Wildcats (1-3) hope to carry the momentum into this Friday night’s homecoming game against winless West Central (0-4).
“We have to make sure our heads don’t swell that big,” Schmulbach said, “Hopefully, we have a similar week of practice as we did last week.
“I think we used the Abingdon loss positively and were ready to go. Now we have to carry the momentum into Friday’s game.”
Mike Landis of Gatehouse News Service contributed to this report.