Orion loses football squeaker to Sterling Newman, gets week off

Mindy Carls
For the Republic
Orion hosted Sterling Newman on Friday, Sept. 9, at Charger Field. As the game gets underway, Charger Luke Dunlap pulls the runner backwards while Lane Johnson (27), Cole Kratzberg (23) and Keegan Blessman (11) converge on the play and Aiden Fisher (30) comes up from behind.

Headline: Orion, Newman game goes down to final minutes

Illinois high school football teams don't have bye weeks, not really, but nevertheless, Orion has a bye in the fourth week of season.

The Chargers will take this Friday, Sept. 16, off since the Riverdale Rams don't have enough boys to field a varsity team. Orion will collect a 2-0 win for the forfeit, leveling its record at 2-2.

After a win the first week, Orion suffered a 60-20 loss at Princeton on Thursday, Sept. 1, and a 13-12 loss to Sterling Newman in Orion on Friday, Sept. 9, the Chargers could use a bye.

Before traveling to Erie to play Erie-Prophetstown at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, Orion will focus on working better up front, coach Chip Filler said. They need to take care of the ball and do the little things better on and off the field.They need to get nasty, too, he said.In the first quarter of the Newman game, the visitors drove to the Orion 23 but the defense stuffed the 4th-and-2 run and forced the Comets to turn the ball over on downs.Late in the period, Charger Luke Dunlap sacked the quarterback for an eight-yard loss that resulted in a punt.The game was scoreless through the first quarter, but a punt return gave Newman a touchdown early in the second. The Comets kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead.Orion's defense forced Newman into a 4th-and-21 hole at its own 31, and the hosts took over the ball on downs at the Newman 25. But Orion couldn't push the ball any closer to the goal line.Near the end of the half, the Comets intercepted a pass and returned it to the Charger 5. A flag for blocking in the back brought the ball all the way back to the Comet 29. The visitors ran one play and picked up six yards as the half came to an end.In the third quarter, Orion's defense stopped Newman at the Charger 37. Cole Kratzberg pushed the ball up the field to the Comet 23. Freshman quarterback Kale Filler threw to Anthony Clark at the 1, and Kratzberg scored from the 2.The kick failed, leaving Orion down a point at 7-6 with 23 seconds to go in the third quarter.Early in the fourth, an attempt to punt from the Orion 23 resulted in a loose ball that Newman recovered at the 1. The Comets ran the ball in for a touchdown, but the kick failed. Newman led 13-6.Orion marched to the Newman 25, only to have the drive stall. The Charger defense led to losses on two plays. Backed up to their own 18, the Comets fumbled. Charger Lane Johnson recovered the ball at the 21.Filler threw a 21-yard pass to Blayden Murdock for a touchdown. The kick failed, leaving Orion down 13-12 with 2:29 to go.