Highland muscles its way past defending MVC champ Jerseyville

News-DemocratSeptember 21, 2013 

— On a Friday night that saw the Highland Bulldogs pile up 514 yards of total offense, the Jerseyville Panthers couldn't withstand a double-dose of Geigers and the Winning connection.

Gage Geiger ran for 149 yards and three touchdowns and cousin Logan Geiger added a 78-yard TD run and two defensive turnovers as the Bulldogs hammered the defending Mississippi Valley Conference champs 45-18.

"I told the boys they're (Jerseyville) still the champs until tonight," Highland coach Jimmy Warnecke said after the state's 10th-ranked Class 5A team improved to 4-0 before a crowd of more than 4,000. "To be the big boy on the block, you've got to beat the big boy on the block and we did that tonight.

"For us right now it's being humble and continue to work harder than we ever have."

Working hard helped the Bulldogs turn the worst field position possible into early momentum.

Seemingly trapped at their own 1-yard line following a 3-yard loss on the first run from scrimmage, Highland's Aaron Winning found a seam and then blazed his way down the field for a 99-yard touchdown run.

"It was just pounding that rock," Warnecke said. "We went with the play we felt best with and Andrew took it to the house. That really started us out of the gate. It was a big play, a very big play."

Winning finished with 162 yards and a pair of TDs as Highland's massive offensive line plowed holes in the Panthers' defense much of the night.

Highland's defense also provided physical play and four turnovers that kept the Panthers in check.

"We would have had to played our best game today and we were just outmanned physically," Jerseyville coach Dave Jacobs said. "I don't think I did a very good job. I don't think I had our kids ready to play. They have a size advantage up front and it's hard to move those guys."

Jerseyville (2-2) answered with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Billy Ritchey to Christian Kimble, but the Bulldogs fired right back.

With Logan Geiger playing quarterback in a Wildcat formation, he ripped his way downfield for a 78-yard TD run with 20 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

"He's a dynamic kid and that's just a change of pace a little bit, just to give them a different look," Warnecke said. "You can't beat speed and Logan's got that 4.5 (second) speed, (so) you've got to give him a shot every once in a while with that."

An interception by Highland's Troy Schneider on a pass tipped by Nick Czar set up a 4-yard TD run by Gage Geiger.

Kimble caught his second TD pass of the night following an interception by Kyle Obertino, this time from 11 yards out, as Jerseyville cut the lead to 21-12.

Highland lit up the scoreboard again before halftime as a 46-yard pass from Mack Waldman to Logan Geiger set up a 1-yard scoring plunge by Gage Geiger with 2:49 remaining.

Highland stuffed Jerseyville's ground game led by all-state running back Austin Lolos, who finished with 23 yards on 10 carries.

A pair of Jerseyville turnovers led to two more Highland TDs in the second half as the Bulldogs pulled away. Ritchey completed 24-of-41 passes for 231 yards.

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, nsanders@bnd.com or on Twitter @NormSanders

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