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    FOOTBALL: Indians smash through Panthers, 42-6

    Doug Daniels
    Monday, October 3, 2016


    Du Quoin showed why they’re one of the favorites in the Southern Illinois River-to-River Conference’s Mississippi Division, rolling to 456 yards of total offense while holding Pinckneyville to just 156 yards in a 42-6 thumping to spoil the Panthers’ homecoming at Quillman Field on September 23. Zayne Fornear led a list of six Du Quoin players with at least 30 yards rushing, finishing with 109 on 13 carries including 3 touchdowns.
    “That was the game plan coming in, we really just wanted to execute what we do and establish our run game,” said Indians head coach A.J. Hill. “We said if they’re not going to make us get out of it, we’re just going to stay with it. Our guys were executing, they were getting off the ball.”
    The Panthers’ offense struggled mightily against the Indian defense, picking up just three first downs against DHS’s first-team defense before busting through late in the game for their only score.
    “They’re no joke,” said PCHS head coach Todd Thomas. “I know they have two losses, they’ve been beat by two really good teams. They’re very, very good. They’re extremely physical. They’re not as big as they’ve been in the past, but they flat pin their ears back and get downhill. They’ve got a stable of backs and they’re a handful.”
    “The quarterback is a weapon, he can do a lot of things. (Devin Jones) is going to be an all-state player. They’re very good, and they’re very well-coached as usual. It’s just Du Quoin football.”
    Early on it looked as though the Panthers might make it a game. After both teams went three-and-out on their opening drive, Du Quoin’s punt was a short one, giving Pinckneyville the ball at the Indians’ 33-yard line. Going for it on fourth-and-eight from the 31, the Panthers picked up a first down at the Du Quoin 15 on a screen pass from quarterback Brian Kling to running back Alex Howard, but a fumble gave it back to the Indians at their own 10 moments later.
    From that point on, it was all Du Quoin. Fornear, Bryce Clarry, Donovan Cole and Caleb Vogel each had first down runs on an 8-play, 90-yard drive that ended when Fornear raced in untouched from 17 yards out with 1:01 left in the quarter. Kameron Johnson put in the extra point to make it 7-0.
    “(Pinckneyville) did give us some different looks in those first couple drives, but our guys adjusted well,” said Hill. “When you’ve got a stable of backs like that it’s nice to be able to mix everybody in and get different guys involved because that means they can’t key on one guy. It was a great team effort tonight, everybody got involved. I think we set the tone offensively right away, just establishing the line of scrimmage and controlling it for the rest of the game.”
    “They do a lot of things that make you have to be assignment-sharp on defense, and our kids did a great job. Two weeks ago it might have been a different story with our defense, but they’ve made some nice corrections over the last couple of weeks. Guys have stepped up and bought into what we’re doing and doing their job. It really paid off here tonight.”
    The Panthers’ next drive got as far as the Indians’ 42-yard line, but B. Kling was picked off by Donovan McBride who returned the ball to the Du Quoin 23. Again the Indians didn’t seem the mind the long field ahead of them, going 77 yards on 10 plays setting up Fornear’s second touchdown from 2 yards out.
    The Indians - and Fornear - kept coming after a three-and-out by PCHS, with the senior tailback finding paydirt a third time with 1:26 to go in the half, this time on a 9-yard run.
    Needing a spark, Pinckneyville got one with a fumble recovery on defense by Stetson Lappin to stop Du Quoin’s first drive after the half, but the offense couldn’t do anything with it and punted it away after three running plays.
    Starting from their own 14, Du Quoin chewed up five and a half minutes of game clock with an 11-play drive - all on the ground. Cole ran it in for a 13-yard TD with 10:33 to play.
    The Panthers botched the ensuing kickoff, allowing the Indians to recover it at the PCHS 8, making it far too easy for the Indians to go up 35-0 on a 13-yard pass from Vogel to Anthony Spiller.
    Pinckneyville got a 24-yard touchdown run from Ryan Brueggemann with Du Quoin’s second team defense in the game, and the Indians tacked on a 10-yard touchdown run by Shamar Adams with under a minute to go.
    Johnson’s extra point on Adams’ touchdown made him 6-for-6 on the night after Du Quoin had struggled the first four weeks of the season on point-after tries.
    “Believe it or not it’s been an emphasis at practice,” Hill said. “We really keep trying to hammer that home. We try to make it a game feel in practice as much as we can, try to put a little pressure on them to make sure they execute when there is a little heat on them. It’s easy to make them when you’re up a little bit, but our test will be if we keep getting better on that team and executing it when it matters. We switched the holder, I think (Johnson) feels a little more comfortable with him. Ashton Smith came in as the holder and he’s done a great job.”


    Fornear, McBride (8 carries, 69 yards), Clarry (13-56), Cole (4-44), Vogel (3-35), Spiller (5-33), Adams (1-10), Jaiden Provart (4-10) and Westly Milam (2-8) all got carries for Du Quoin. Vogel was 6-for-8 passing for 82 yards. Spiller (1-13), Jones (1-20), Tevin Lee (2-32) and Will Woodside (2-17) caught passes.
    For the Panthers, Howard led the team with 36 rushing yards on 12 carries. Brueggemann (5-32), B. Kling (8-6), Colton Kling (4-32), and Tyler Rice (1-2) also contributed to PInckneyville’s 139 yards on the ground. B. Kling completed 4-of-6 passes for 45 yards, throwing to Howard (1-17), Dylan Carns (2-22) and Lucas Downard (1-6). Lappin led tackling with 11 total including a sack.
    “I’m not upset with our younger kids,” Thomas said. “We’ve got a kid that stepped up and played Mike linebacker for us, he’s 155 pounds and he’s bringing it all he can. We’re going to get Chase Fulkerson back this week, he’s been released and practicing a little bit, that’s going to be a definite improvement for us. If we can just get back on our feet and stay focused, I think our best football is still ahead of us. We’ve got to keep going, we’ve got to get better, we’ve got to cut down on the mistakes.”
    Thomas is hoping the return of kids like Fulkerson and Rice - who saw some time late in the game against Du Quoin - will help give his team a boost.
    “We’ve got some guys back, they’re gimping a little bit, but they’re out there,” said Thomas. “Tyler (Rice) is getting back, he’s probably the fastest kid in our program. We’re not making excuses, but we have had a lot of guys out. Hopefully we can piece it back together and play respectable football.”
    In week six, Du Quoin (3-2, 2-0) will host Sparta (0-5, 0-2) for homecoming night at Van Metre Field. The Panthers (1-4, 1-1) travel to Anna-Jonesboro (4-1, 1-1). Just two weeks into the conference schedule, the Indians are already the only remaining unbeaten team in conference play for the Mississippi Division.
    DHS has rescheduled the retiring of former Indian and current Southern Illinois University head coach Nick Hill, A.J.’s older brother, for October 7 at the beginning of halftime on senior night against Anna-Jonesboro.


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