Sports
Rock n' Roll Bingo

by Bruce Hixon
for the Breese Journal

braundmeierPlayoff eligible — Mater Dei junior quarterback Reed Braundmeier runs for a first down in the Knights’ blowout win over Alex Wright and Granite City on Friday. With six wins, the Knights are locked in for a playoff spot. (Photo by Bruce Hixon)    As effective as Zach Napovanice was as a decoy in the first half, the senior running back was even more effective in the second half when he was the centerpiece of the Mater Dei offense. 
    Napovanice rushed for 136 of his 146 yards during the final two quarters as the Knights locked up a playoff berth with a 49-14 victory over the visiting Granite City Warriors on Friday.
    Napovanice had only five carries for 10 yards in the first half, but averaged 12 yards for his eight second half attempts that produced two touchdowns. He also added 59 yards through three pass receptions during the final two quarters. 
    While Granite City (2-5) was locked in on Napovanice, Nolan Foppe made the Warriors pay with 121 yards rushing on 16 attempts as Mater Dei had two backs reach 100 yards on the ground for the first time this season. Foppe had 86 of those yards in the first half.
    “Granite City was so keyed in on Zach in that first half we felt we needed to go in a different direction and Nolan came up big for us,” said Mater Dei coach Jim Stiebel. “The second half we went back to Zach and he had some big plays for us to break the game open.”
    Besides Foppe’s effectiveness, the other key story in the first half was the Knights’ defense. Mater Dei (6-1) surrendered just 19 yards rushing and a modest 79 yards overall to build a 14-0 halftime lead. While Stiebel acknowledged having a two-touchdown lead at halftime was nice, the Knights’ skipper was disappointed the advantage was not more.
    “It should have been more. Our defensive line did a really good job in the first half of controlling things up front. We had good field position most of the first half. The most disappointing sequence came after we recovered a fumble late in the first quarter, drove to their 4-yard line and didn’t score,” said Stiebel.
    Special teams play on both sides led to Mater Dei’s first score. After the Knights’ initial drive stalled at the Granite City 47, Tyler Jasper downed the ensuing punt at the Warriors 1-yard line. Granite City was able to advance the ball only five yards before it was forced to punt from deep in its own territory. Sebastian Turner did not help the Warriors poor field position when his punt attempt traveled just 14 yards.
    Despite two plays that went for losses, Mater Dei needed just five plays to go 20 yards as Reed Braundmeier connected with Mitchell Haake for a 6-yard touchdown strike with 5:33 left in the first quarter. The Knights’ lead remained at 6-0 when Braundmeier’s two-point pass attempt fell incomplete on what turned out to be a fake kick.
    While good field position set up Mater Dei’s first touchdown, the Knights overcame a 45-yard punt by Turner and less than ideal field position late in the first half prior to their second touchdown. Forced to go 76 yards after the kick and a false start penalty, a 49-yard gain by Foppe set up a 27-yard touchdown throw from Braundmeier to Napovanice with 4:18 left in the second quarter. This time Mater Dei converted its two-point try when Braundmeier found Ben Kassen to make it 14-0.

boeschenSecond place — Central senior libero Grace Boeschen and the Cougars claimed second place at last weekend’s Highland Tournament. Both of the Cougars’ losses came to Centralia in tournament play. They are 20-8 on the season. (Photo by Jeremy Chawgo)    The Central Cougars volleyball team had an up and down week as they won a Cahokia Conference match over Freeburg during the week while they claimed second place at the Highland Tournament over the weekend.
    The Cougars stayed perfect in Cahokia Conference with a win over Freeburg last Tuesday.  Central then went 2-1 in pool play at Highland with their lone loss to Centralia while they defeated Highland’s junior varsity team and Roxana.
    Central then took down the host Highland Bulldogs in the semifinal before dropping the title game to Centralia in three games on Saturday afternoon.
    The Cougars are now 20-8 on the season with an 8-0 record in conference play.  They hosted Wesclin on Tuesday and will play in the O’Fallon Tournament over the weekend.
    Centralia 25-22-15, Central 20-25-11:  The Cougars fell to the Orphan Annies for the second time in as many days in Highland on Saturday in the title match of the Highland Tournament.
    After dropping the first game, the Cougars took control in the second game and actually had an early lead in the third game before Centralia sealed the win with a 6-0 run down the stretch.
    Centralia took an early 3-0 lead in the first game with the help of a kill and a block from Rylee Edson.  The Cougars responded with the next four points on kills from senior Abby Johnson and Austyn Jansen.
    Trailing 12-11, the Cougars got a kill from Taylor Pavich to tie the game and spark a 5-0 run that featured two kills from Johnson and another from Pavich as the Cougars led 16-12.
    Edson struck back with two kills and a block that led to a 6-0 scoring run on Jacqueline Grimes’ service as Centralia led 18-16.
    Two kills and a block from Johnson kept the Cougars in the game as they trailed 21-20.  Allie Fults smacked a kill down for the Annies to spark a 4-0 run to end the first game in favor of the Annies.
    The second game was tied nine times early on before the Cougars broke open the game after it was tied 9-9.  Johnson and Emma Szczeblewski smacked down kills to give the Cougars the lead for good.  The run sparked a 7-2 run as Central led 16-11.
    Fults brought the Annies back with three kills later in the game as they got within 22-20.  Szczeblewski ended the run with a kill down the middle to give the Cougars a 23-20 lead.
    A service error by the Annies and a kill from junior Ella Jansen ended the second game in favor of the Cougars.
    “We responded well after the first game and I thought we attacked much better,” said Central head coach Crissy Toennies.  “I think we tipped a little too much in the first game.”

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MLB

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20 October 2019

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