By Tom Schultz
For the Herald
FULTON, Ill. —
On a hot and humid night, the Steamers came out on top of a 24-20 game against the visiting Riverdale Rams.
The humidity was definitely having its effect on the game, making the ball a bit slippery to hold on to as the quarterbacks from both teams went a combined 2 for 10 with several passes seemingly jumping out of the receivers’ hands. There were also five fumbles on the night by both teams, three of which were recovered by the team that fumbled.
“These jerseys, these guys were just sweaty, and wet,” Fulton coach Patrick Lower said. “I really think that’s why there were same balls on the ground tonight. It’s tough to hang on to the ball when it’s like that, but in the end we made the plays.”
The biggest play of the night came on a 40-yard pass from Ethan Jones to Austin Manon to start the fourth quarter for the Steamers and put them up by 10 points, 24-14. Fulton had ended the third quarter with possession of the ball on a third-and-15 on the Rams’ 40-yard line. They came out firing on the first play of the fourth, taking the lead as Manon outran double coverage to haul in the pass at the 15-yard line and take it in for the 40-yard touchdown and what turned out to be the game’s deciding score.
“It’s a huge play, their thinking pass,” Lower said. “I honestly thought Ethan was going to see some room to run and maybe go for it on fourth down, otherwise I want to pin them deep. Austin Manon is an athlete, and he’s fast, and he got behind them and Ethan found him and we connected. Again we made plays when we had to make plays, and it was a good victory for us.”
While it was the most important score of the night for the Steamers, it wasn’t the only one. On its first possession, Fulton went 76 yards down the field, scoring first on a 27-yard rushing touchdown from Jones and getting the two-point conversion for the 8-0 lead. Another 23-yard rushing touchdown, this time from Austin Regenwether, put the Steamers up 16-0 with 2:10 left in the half.
Riverdale finally broke across the goal line with 1:53 left in the second quarter on the first of two 73-yard touchdown carries from Terry White, cutting the lead to 16-8. The second 73-yard touchdown from White brought the Rams within two points of the Steamers, but a botched conversion kept the Rams from tying the game.
White scored his third and final touchdown on a 7-yard carry, but another missed opportunity on the two-point conversion gave the Steamers the edge They were able to get two final first downs on the final possession to run out the clock and secure the victory.
Fulton (1-1) is on the road next Friday, playing the Amboy Clippers at 7:30 p.m.
FULTON 24, RIVERDALE 20
Fulton 8 8 0 8 — 24
Riverdale 0 8 6 6 — 20
F – Ethan Jones 27 run (Austin Manon run), 6:24
F — Austin Regenwether 23 run (Manon run), 2:10
R – Terry White 73 run (Bart Johnson run), 1:53
R – White 73 run (conversion failed), 3:27
F – Manon 40 pass from Jones (Manon run), 11:51
R – White 7 run (conversion failed), 5:49
Rushing — Riverdale (30-166), Wyatt Klavon 9- -6, Nate Rocker 1-3, Terry White 14-140, TJ Lowe 5-25, Bart Johnson 1-4; Fulton (43-153), Austin Regenwether 22-126, Ethan Jones 8-37, Austin Manon 10-66, Josh Ballard 2-21, Weston Jones 1-3
Passing — Riverdale, Klavon 1-4 27 yards; Fulton, E. Jones 1-6-1 40 yards
Receiving — Riverdale, Johnson 1-27; Fulton, Manon 1-40