- Scott Powers, Reporter
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Prairie Ridge coach Chris Schremp believed on his defense’s best day, it could hold Peoria Richwoods star running back Kendrick Foster to around 100 yards.
Foster had rushed for 2,362 yards, a 181-yard per a game average, this season entering the Class 6A state championship on Saturday, so holding him to 100 yards would have been unheard of.
His team's defensive performance went well beyond Schremp’s expectations.
The Wolves defeated Richwoods 35-14 for their first state championship by limiting Foster to 59 yards on 18 carries.
“I never would have thought we would have kept him to that,” Schremp said. “He’s a great player. Our defense really played hard.”
Prairie Ridge’s defense did its part, and its offense came through in the second half.
After rushing for 140 yards and a touchdown in the first half, the Wolves’ option offense found its rhythm in the final two quarters. With Jordan Getzelman, Nick Nissan, Connor Greenwald and Steve Bashor each taking their turn running the ball, they added 217 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the second half.
“We came in [the locker room at halftime], and we all looked at each other,” said Getzelman, who rushed for a game-high 175 yards and two touchdown. “We knew we had two quarters left to put everything on the line.
“We knew what we wanted to do. We wanted to wear them down with Prairie Ridge football, and that was running the option on offense and on defense stopping the running game and not give up the big play. As long we did that, I felt we would win the whole game.”
Getzelman got the Wolves going in the third quarter. He broke a 7-7 halftime tie with a 13-yard touchdown with 7:12 left in the third quarter.
The defense came up big next. On Richwoods’ following drive, Prairie Ridge’s Brad Simms forced a fumble, and defensive lineman Erik Odden scooped the ball and ran in for a 15-yard touchdown to put the Wolves ahead 21-7.
Odden was just as surprised as anyone he ended up in the end zone.
“If you had told me before that I would score a touchdown in the state championship game, I would have called you nuts,” Odden said.
Getzelman later scored on a 35-yard run, and Bashor put the cap on the day with a 27-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Prairie Ridge linebacker Collin Corcoran had a team-high 11 tackles and three tackles for loss. Prairie Ridge’s John Borst and Brett Covers each had interceptions.
Prairie Ridge's defense limited Richwoods' star runner to win the 6A title.