After starting the football season with two losses, it appears Sullivan now has things rolling.
Joey Rigdon and Justin Biermann combined to score all seven of the Eagles’ touchdowns in a 51-25 Four Rivers Conference win last Friday at St. Clair.
Ridgon, who returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, found the end zone four times. Biermann scored three touchdowns.
“Our offensive line did a great job against St. Clair. They were getting a great push up front and getting to linebackers. We struggled with that in the first two games,” said Sullivan Head Coach Andy Arnette. “Our running backs did a much better job. I can only remember one fumble, which we recovered. It’s something that has hurt us in previous games. They boys are starting to take pride in limiting those mistakes.”
St. Clair running back Skyler Hutchison did his best to keep up with the Eagles, finishing the game with 30 carries for 215 yards and three touchdowns.
“I know a lot of people talk about Biermann, and for good reason, but I wouldn’t trade Skyler for anyone,” said St. Clair Head Coach Cody McDowell. “He runs the ball hard every week and has given us exactly what we expect from him.”
The Eagles (2-2, 2-0) had too much firepower with their ground attack as the Bulldogs (2-2, 1-1) tried to keep pace.
“We had an opportunity with a 12-7 lead to make it a two-possession game in the first half, but turned it over when our pass protection broke down. They got the ball at the 40-yard line and scored on that possession,” McDowell said. “That turned out to be a big turnover. With what they do offensively, it’s tough for them to play when they’re too far behind. We missed an opportunity there.”
St. Clair accumulated 392 yards, 299 rushing and 93 passing.
Hutchison led the way, rushing for over 200 yards for the second straight week. He has 759 yards on the season.
Quarterback Collin Scott was 9-16 passing for 78 yards and two interceptions. He carried the ball six times for 25 yards and one touchdown.
Paul Armistead rushed for 55 yards on five attempts. Damon Arnold had one carry for four yards.
Alex Miller finished with five receptions for 45 yards. Kevin Cox added two catches for 19 yards. Charlie Fuchs collected one catch for 15 yards. Ian McQueen and Harley Love both had one catch for seven yards.
Defensively, Dalton Ulrich finished with four solo tackles and five assists. Harley Love added three solos and four assists. Cox collected two solos and four assists. Collin Avery and Ryan Alsop both had two solos and two assists.
“We made some mistakes defensively. What they do offensively put us in a bind, especially when you’re going against a player like Biermann,” McDowell said. “They had good field position for a lot of the game. I don’t think the final score was indicative of how the game was played, but a loss is a loss.”
Sullivan accumulated 367 yards, 363 rushing and four passing.
Biermann, the quarterback, carried the ball 15 times for 187 yards and three touchdowns. He was 1-5 passing for four yards.
Rigdon rushed for 119 yards on 10 attempts and scored four touchdowns, including the opening kickoff. He added one catch for four yards.
“Joey had a breakout game. We knew that he could produce those kinds of numbers and that it was just a matter of time before he did,” Arnette said. “Justin is a special player who can put up big numbers on any given week.”
Zach Holtz rushed for 21 yards on seven attempts. Dylan Harmon had one carry for 17 yards. Nathan Johnson (nine yards) and Devin Harris (seven yards) both added four carries. Caden Weigl had two rushes for three yards.
Weigl led Sullivan’s defense with 14 solo tackles and nine assists.
James Sappington added seven solos and seven assists. Rigdon collected six solos, five assists and one interception. Devin Harris had five solos and five assists. Michael McDermott registered five solos and four assists. Brent Davis recovered a fumble. Biermann had an interception.
“The defense played very hard. We struggled in the first quarter, but made some adjustments that helped our run defense,” Arnette said. “There still is work to be done on the defensive side of the ball. We gave up more yards than we have gained the last two weeks. The boys have kept teams out of the end zone and stepped up and made plays when we’ve needed them.”
Rigdon returned the opening kickoff 85 yards to put Sullivan ahead, 7-0.
St. Clair bounced back by scoring two straight touchdowns by Hutchison on runs from 25 and 17 yards out to put the Bulldogs ahead 12-7 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Biermann tallied touchdowns on runs covering 12, 38 and four yards. The Eagles led at halftime, 28-12.
The Bulldogs tried to fight their way back into it at the start of the third period as Hutchison scored on a 20-yard run on the opening drive, making the score 28-18.
Rigdon then put the contest away by netting two touchdowns on four- and 36-yard runs.
After Jake Lochner’s 36-yard field goal at the start of the fourth quarter, Scott scored the Bulldogs’ final touchdown on a three-yard run.
Rigdon answered for the Eagles on a 21-yard scamper to produce the final score.
Week Five Preview
St. Clair and Sullivan both return to FRC competition Friday at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs host Union (2-2, 1-1) while the Eagles visit Pacific (1-3, 0-2).
St. Clair and Union both have beaten Pacific and lost to Sullivan in FRC games.
“Union is a good team with a lot of offensive firepower,” McDowell said. “We have to make plays and limit our mistakes on both sides of the ball.”
Arnette, a Pacific graduate, returns home to lead his Eagles against the Indians.
“I’m excited to go back to Pacific. The last time we played there was in 2011. A lot has changed for me,” Arnette said. “I know that it’s homecoming week. Hopefully there will be a big crowd. It wasn’t that long ago I was playing under the lights on that same field. Our boys will be ready to play. I know that Coach (George) Hinkle will have the Indians prepared. I’m hoping we can keep things rolling.”
St. Clair 12-0-6-7=25
SUL — Joey Rigdon 85 kickoff return (Jake Lochner kick), 11:47
STC — Skyler Hutchison 25 run (kick failed), 8:38
STC — Hutchison 17 run (run failed), 1:45
SUL — Justin Biermann 12 run (Lochner kick), 9:49
SUL — Biermann 38 run (Lochner kick), 4:49
SUL — Biermann 4 run (Lochner kick), 0:18
STC — Hutchison 20 run (pass failed), 5:50
SUL — Rigdon 4 run (Lochner kick), 4:33
SUL — Rigdon 36 run (Lochner kick), 2:31
SUL — Lochner 36 FG, 11:55
STC — Collin Scott 3 run (Hutchison kick), 9:12
SUL — Rigdon 21 run (kick failed), 2:40