The Highland football Bulldogs dominated all three phases of the game en route to ringing up a 48-6 blitzing of the host Salem Wildcats last Friday night.
The Bulldogs (2-0) scored on all three facets of the game and were plus-3 on the turnover ratio after forcing four turnovers (three fumbles and one interception), punctuated by an interception return for a touchdown. Highland also had two quarterback sacks. On offense, the Bulldogs pounded the Wildcats on the ground for 252 yards rushing on 30 carries, highlighted by five rushing touchdowns. Highland also scored once on special teams.
Highland senior running back Andrew Winning averaged 10 yards a carry for the second straight game as he toted the ball 14 times for 143 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Winning also added a 35-yard punt return for a TD and had a 19-yard reception. His 374 yards and nine rushing touchdowns through two games rank among area leaders.
“The line, fullbacks and wide receiver corps have been making some running lanes for me to expose,” Winning said. “I just try and cut off their blocks and try and find the end zone. I’m just trying to be more assertive in my running style and causing more people to have to tackle me.”
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Junior Trent Rakers contributed to both sides of the ball for the Bulldogs. He finished with eight rushes for 72 yards to help out Highland’s ground and pound game. On defense, Rakers had four solo tackles.
Highland senior linebacker Seth Levad racked up a team-best 11 total tackles, including six solos. He also contributed a 55-yard interception return for a score and added a fumble recovery.
Also stepping up with big games on the defensive side of the ball were sophomore defensive end Josh Burker with a team-high seven solo tackles, two tackle assists and one fumble recovery; senior linebacker Zeke Kaufman with four solo tackles, three tackle assists, one sack and one fumble recovery; senior defensive end Justin Haase with six solo tackles and one tackle assist; and sophomore linebacker Kyle Lane with five solo tackles, two tackle assists and one sack.
“We still have a lot to improve upon technique-wise, but I think we’re successful, because we like to play physical, and we don’t like the thought of defeat whatsoever,” Haase said. “We do the best we can communication-wise, and we just go from there.”
Highland scored in all four quarters for the second successive game, including 14 points in each of the first three periods.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring on sophomore quarterback Garrett Marti’s 1-yard plunge across the goal line just 3 minutes, 12 seconds into the game. That was followed by Winning’s 7-yard dart to paydirt with 19 ticks left in the first frame.
Winning notched a pair of TDs in the second stanza, sandwiched around Salem’s lone score on a 36-yard pass reception. Winning first scored on a 35-yard punt return just 1:49 after he closed the first quarter with a score. He then took it to the house on a 12-yard scamper with 55 seconds left in the first half.
Winning crossed the goal line for the fourth time in the game on a 5-yard run only 2:01 into the third quarter.
With five minutes remaining in the third quarter, Levad capped off his 55-yard interception return for a score.
With 8:55 to play in the game, freshman Sam LaPorta rushed in from nine yards out to complete the 42-point margin of victory.
Highland hosts Mattoon (0-2) Friday night in another non-conference tilt before kicking off Mississippi Valley Conference action Friday, Sept. 18 at Mascoutah.
Highland 48, Salem 6
Highland — Garrett Marti 1-yard run (Zeke Kaufman kick), 7:48
Highland — Andrew Winning 7-yard run (Zeke Kaufman kick), 0:19
Highland — Andrew Winning 35-yard punt return (Zeke Kaufman kick), 10:30
Salem — 36-yard pass (kick failed), 2:34
Highland — Andrew Winning 12-yard run (Zeke Kaufman kick), 0:55
Highland — Andrew Winning 5-yard run (Zeke Kaufman kick), 9:59
Highland — Seth Levad 55-yard interception return (Zeke Kaufman), 5:00
Highland — Sam LaPorta 9-yard run (pass faield), 8:55
RUSHING — Andrew Winning 14-143, Trent Rakers 8-72, Brock Swearingen 3-13, Dylan Knebel 2-10, Sam LaPorta 1-9, Levi Voss 1-4, Garrett Marti 1-1. Totals: 30-252.
PASSING — Garrett Marti 3-9 39. Totals: 3-9 39.
RECEIVING — Jimmie Smith 2-20, Andrew Winning 1-39. Totals: 3-39.
SOLO TACKLES — Josh Burke 7, Seth Levad 6, Justin Haase 6, Kyle Lane 5, Zeke Kaufman 4, Paxton VonderHaar 4, Trent Rakers 4, Colton VonderHaar 3, Seb Wolf 3, Noah Schmitt 2, Cody Zobrist 1, Derek Ahlmeyer 1, Brett Brown 1, Ian Frasier 1, Josh Janiszewski 1, Dyhlan Shaw 1. TOTALS: 50.
TACKLE ASSISTS — Seth Levad 5, Zeke Kaufman 3, Josh Burke 2, Kyle Lane 2, Cody Zobrist 2, Jimmie Smith 2, Justin Haase 1, Paxton VonderHaar 1, Colton VonderHaar 1, Seby Wolf 1, Jarrett Dubach 1, Justin Twyford 1. TOTALS: 22.
QUARTERBACK SACKS: Zeke Kaufman 1, Kyle Lane 1. TOTALS: 2.
INTERCEPTIONS — Seth Levad 1. TOTALS: 1.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES — Seth Levad 1, Zeke Kaufman 1, Josh Burke 1. Totals: 3.
HIGHLAND DEFENSIVE RETURNS — Seth Levad 1-55. TOTALS: 1-55.
HIGHLAND KICKOFF RETURNS — Seth Levad 1-16.