GALENA — Earlier this season, the Galena Bulldogs cruised to a 47-0 victory against CNC rival Frontenac. Yet when the two teams met again in the regional round of the Class 3A playoffs Friday night, fans had to expect a much closer outcome.
It took four full quarters this time, but the Bulldogs eventually captured a 27-7 win over the Raiders at Abbey Field. GHS limited FHS to just 185 total yards in the contest, including a net of minus-41 yards rushing.
Galena, which reached the regional round by way of a 40-0 home win over Anderson County a week earlier, remained unbeaten on the season as it improved to 10-0 overall. The Bulldogs advanced to the sectional round of the playoffs for a second straight season and will next travel to Marysville (8-2) — a 36-14 winner over Topeka-Hayden — next Friday. GHS has now won 21 of its last 22 games overall, with its lone setback during that stretch being a 13-6 loss to Silver Lake in the sectional round of last year’s playoffs.
As for Frontenac, it watched its season come to an end with a 6-4 overall record. The Raiders advanced to Friday’s regional with a 33-6 victory over Burlington in last week’s opening round.
Unlike the previous meeting between the two teams in Frontenac on Sept. 21, the Raiders were up for the challenge much of the way and were locked in a defensive battle. The teams were knotted in a scoreless tie after 12 minutes of action before the Bulldogs eventually grabbed control before the break.
Galena jumped on the scoreboard on a two-yard touchdown run from Kooper Lawson. The conversion failed as the Bulldogs had a 6-0 lead. That would increase to two scores before the break as Lawson ran in his second TD on an 11-yard scamper with just 1:54 remaining. JC Shelton then found Nick Sarwinski for the conversion to give GHS a 14-0 edge at the intermission.
Although the host team started to grab the momentum, Frontenac wasn’t about to go away. After another scoreless quarter in the third, Galena did open things up a bit on a six-yard touchdown run by Shelton early in the fourth period for a 20-0 lead.
The Raiders did make things interesting moments later as quarterback Jake Beckmann found Brendan Ishimura on a 55-yard bomb with 8:36 remaining. But Galena put the game away later in the quarter on a 20-yard scoring scamper by Shelton to finish off the victory.
Statistically, the Bulldogs dominated both sides of the football with a 414-185 edge in total yardage. Galena finished with 320 yards rushing on 50 carries, with two players surpassing the century mark — Lawson with 25 rushes for 150 yards and Sarwinski with 14 attempts for 107. Shelton also completed six of his seven pass attempts for 94 yards.
Frontenac could not get its ground game going as it finished in negative yardage rushing. Beckmann helped keep the Raiders in the game through the air, completing 17-of-25 passes for 226 yards.