BLOOMDALE Elmwood sat in the driver s seat while playing host to Eastwood yesterday in the latest installment of The Battle of the Woods.
The Royals had not lost a Suburban Lakes League game all season and needed only to close out the regular season by getting past the Eagles to claim an outright league championship.
But Eastwood proved to be highly uncooperative. The Eagles made it a long and frustrating Friday night for Elmwood on their way to a 10-0 shutout before a standing-room only crowd.
It was a great team effort, Eastwood coach Jerry Rutherford said. I m really proud of our guys.
The 8-2 Eagles, who entered as three-time league champions, walked away with The Log, the traveling trophy designated for the
More importantly, Eastwood finished the season tied with Elmwood and Otsego at 6-1 in league play to secure a share of the title.
Elmwood coach Dean Zeigler expected a tough test.
It doesn t matter if we re 0-9 or 9-0, it s the Battle of the Woods, Zeigler said. Records don t mean much when it comes to this game. We ve got nothing to be ashamed of because it was a game between two good football teams.
No one had ever won the league four years in a row in the SLL, Eastwood senior Craig Rutherford said. We definitely came in fired up for this game. I don t know if we ve ever been more fired up for a game this season.
Eastwood sophomore fullback Jeremy Foster practically carried the Eagles offense on his back. The 6-foot-1, 187-pounder logged 40 carries for 185 yards, including a five-yard touchdown run in the opening quarter. He had 22 carries for 95 yards during the second half to help the Eagles limit the Royals to only three possessions with two ending in turnovers.
Foster, who entered the game with a league-leading 220 carries through nine weeks, didn t seem exhausted after accounting for more than the Eagles 300 total yards (230 rushing, 70 passing). And he didn t consider his productivity any more significant than his teammates .
It was a total team effort, Foster said. It was our whole offensive line that blocked up front. None of it wouldn t have happened if it wasn t for my line.
Eagles kicker Jack Schemenauer provided the only other points in the game when he kicked a 23-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Eastwood s 10-point halftime lead held up thanks to the work of the defense.
Elmwood quarterback Al Tyson, who entered the game having thrown for more than 2,000 yards this season, was limited to 126 yards on 16 completions out of 25 attempts. Tyson also threw two interceptions during the second half.
Eastwood s Trey Hunter picked off a Tyson pass at the Eagles 8 to halt Elmwood s first possession with 8:29 left in the third quarter. Matt Dennis picked off another near midfield with 6:28 left in the game, the Royals final possession.
That s what they ve done all year long and they definitely controlled us this week on both sides of the ball, Zeigler said. They just beat us up up front. They took it to us.
Zeigler said the Royals season was still a success by claiming a share of the SLL title.
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