PdC Football Advances

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The Prairie du Chien defense stuffs this running attempt by New Glarus-Monticello Friday night. (Photos by Ted Pennekamp)

Tyler Smock had an impressive 301 all purpose yards Friday night.

Prairie's Cory Check (44) locks in on the New Glarus ballcarrier.

Prairie du Chien's defense played well Friday night.


Prairie du Chien beats New Glarus-Monticello

By Zach Mara


The Prairie du Chien Blackhawks hosted a Round 1 playoff contest against the New Glarus-Monticello Knights on Friday night. The Hawks’ (8-2, 3-2) offensive and defensive lines performed masterfully, allowing Tyler Smock and Cory Check to explode through wide gaps and holding the Knights’ (6-4, 3-1) to short chunks of yardage. Backed by Smock’s big night, the Blackhawks defeated New Glarus-Monticello 36-14 to advance to Round 2 of the Division 5 playoffs.

The Blackhawks kicked off to start the game, and New Glarus would start on their own 37-yard line. They drove down the field all the way to the Hawks’ 24-yard line before Carter Pederson broke up a fourth-and-2 pass attempt. 

The Blackhawks took over with 8:25 left in the first quarter. After a penalty sent the Hawks back five yards, the Knights’ defense forced a 3-and-out to give the ball back to New Glarus. 

The Knights marched the field again, pushing the ball down to the PdC 23-yard line before Drake Coleman intercepted a screen pass and ran it 52 yards to the New Glarus 22-yard line.

Two plays later, Tyler Smock punched in the first score of the game on a 22-yard TD run. The Blackhawks faked the PAT, and Traeton Saint ran the ball in for the 2-point conversion. The Hawks led 8-0 with 3:35 remaining in the first quarter. 

After forcing a 3-and-out and watching the shanked punt travel 13 yards out of bounds, the Hawks took over at the Knights’ 46-yard line. Three plays later, Cory Check punched in the 2-yard score after Smock ran 33 yards on the previous play. Check’s PAT was good, giving the Hawks a 15-0 lead nearing the end of the first quarter.

The Knights offense was driving the field once again on the ensuing possession, using a strong running game to gain 50 yards on 8 plays. On the ninth play of the drive, Reid Koenig came from his cornerback position to strip the ball from RB Noah Zimmerman. The Hawks recovered the ball on their own 18-yard line with under 9 minutes remaining in the first half. The Hawks’ next drive ended prematurely, as Gavin Gillitzer’s pass was intercepted, giving the Knights the ball on their own 47-yard line following the enforcement of an unnecessary roughness penalty by the Knights. 

Unable to score, New Glarus turned the ball over on downs, giving the Hawks the ball back on the PdC 35-yard line. Six plays later, Gillitzer found Check open for a 27-yard touchdown with 10 seconds remaining in the first half. The PAT was successful, and the Hawks took a 22-0 lead. Following a Hawks’ penalty that pushed the ball all the way down to the PdC 22-yard line, the Knights lined up to attempt a 39-yard field goal as time expired. The attempt missed wide left, sending the game to halftime with the Blackhawks leading 22-0.

The Hawks started their first possession of the second half on their own 30-yard line. Twenty seconds later, Tyler Smock was outracing the defense for a 70-yard TD run to increase the lead to 29-0 following the PAT. 

It appeared as though the Hawks had forced another 3-and-out on the next possession. However, on fourth-and-6 from the New Glarus 38-yard line, the Knights faked the punt and ran 62 yards for a touchdown. The PAT was good, and the score was 29-7 with 9 minutes remaining in the third quarter. 

The Hawks marched the field before being intercepted once again. The Knights took over on their 1-yard line with 5 minutes to go in the quarter. Ten plays later, the Knights completed a 37-yard TD pass on a trick play. Prairie du Chien now led 29-14 with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter.

For the second drive in a row, the Hawks’ drive ended at the opponent’s 1-yard line following a long drive. This time, however, Carter Pederson intercepted a pass on fourth down to give the Blackhawks the ball back at the Knights’ 33-yard line. Six plays later, Tyler Smock put the dagger in the Knights, scoring from 5 yards out to increase the lead to 36-14 with under 3 minutes to play. 

New Glarus drove the ball down to the Hawks’ 6-yard line but faced a fourth-and-4 from there. The Hawks defense stepped up and stopped the runner short of the first down, giving the Hawks the ball back in victory formation.

Gavin Gillitzer brought his offense to the line, knelt down 3 times, and delivered the Hawks’ crowd a playoff win.

Tyler Smock led rushers with 25 carries for 268 yards and 3 TDs. Smock totaled an outstanding 301 all purpose yards for the game. Gavin Gillitzer was 3 for 7 in the air for 45 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs. Cory Check led receivers with 1 reception for 27 yards and a touchdown. Junior Sam Fernberg led the defense with 9 tackles and ½ sack. Zach Swiggum added 9 tackles, and Ben Riter and Jacob Joy added 8 tackles apiece.

The Blackhawks will travel to #1 seed Clinton to play the Cougars (10-0, 9-0) Friday night for Round 2 of the 2017 WIAA Playoffs. The Cougars’ run-strong offense is reminiscent of conference rival Lancaster, and the Blackhawks will look to move the ball, fill their gaps, and limit the powerhouse Cougars’ running game. 

Come cheer on your Blackhawks as they look to continue their already-impressive season. Game time is 7 p.m.

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