---- — By ROGER THOMAS
BROOKLYN — Friday night in Brooklyn, the two Class A district six rivals squared off for the second time in three weeks. The BGM Bears won the previous meeting 19-7 and their big defensive effort (129 yards total offense for Pekin) gave them the win with the big payout, 29-8.
There couldn’t have been a Class A game anywhere in the state with a bigger crowd. The fans from both sides were treated to a defensive struggle that was much closer than the final score indicates. The fine Pekin season closes at 9-3. Meanwhile, BGM (12-0) will play Wapsie Valley (Fairbank) (12-0) at 10 a.m. Friday in the Uni-Dome. BGM started the game’s first drive at its own 24.
The Bears ran 14 plays, but the Panther defense kept them out of the end zone. BGM’s leading rusher Jack Kline, one of the top rushers in the state, figured to have a prominent role in the Bear game plan. BGM looked like it was going to go to the air, as it completed four passes in the opening drive. They would only complete one more the entire game.
“I thought our guys really did a good job of shutting down their passing game,” said Pekin coach Joe Donovan.
Kline had one reception for 10 yards and carried the ball four times for 24 yards, but three penalties on the Bears killed the drive. Kline’s biggest contribution of the drive might have been his punt, which was downed at the Pekin 1-yard line. On the first play, the Panther runner was tackled in the end zone for a safety, giving the Bears a 2-0 lead. The teams traded three and outs, but the Bears used an 11-play drive to score with just 10 seconds left in the first. The Bears decided to use their premier running back on the drive. Kline carried seven times for 34 yards, the last of which was a 2-yard touchdown run.
Disaster would strike the Panthers one more time before the quarter ended. Pekin fumbled the ensuing kickoff and BGM recovered at the Panthers’ 31. The first quarter score was 9-0, but the time of possession was way out of line. BGM ran 29 plays in the quarter to Pekin’s four.
“We just couldn’t get our defense off the field early in the game,” said Donovan.
BGM opened the second quarter with a touchdown run that was called back by a holding call. It just delayed the score, as three plays later — Kline scored on a 4-yard run. Pekin would get on the board on its drive. Petie Clubb had four carries for 32 yards in the drive, but the big run was the 23-yard run by Kolby Allsup for the score. Allsup would hit Cade Millikin with the extra point pass and the Panthers closed to within 16-8 with nearly nine minutes to play in the half. Another nine-play drive ended in a 10-yard run by Kline to make the score 23-8. The Panthers would only have three and outs to close out the half.
“They did a good of adjusting to some of our best running plays,” said Donovan.
Even though Kline had 135 yards rushing in the opening half, it took him 24 carries to get that. A couple of big plays in the kicking game accounted for the 15-point spread at the half.
“For the most part, I think our run defense was pretty good,” said Donovan. “Even though they showed us a lot of unbalanced sets, we didn’t let either one of their backs go wild.”
The two teams traded fumble recoveries to stop drives in the third quarter. Kline was a big factor in the quarter as he had punts of 52 and 45 yards that pinned the Panthers deep in their own territory. The third quarter was scoreless.The game’s scoring was completed at the midpoint of the final quarter. The Bears completed a 12-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown run by Kline.
“I think the story of the game was their defense and our lack of ability to sustain a drive running the football,” said Donovan.
Pekin followed with its best drive of the night — a seven-play drive that ended in an interception. The Bears used eight running plays to kill the clock and end the game. Donovan talked about his team’s all out, hard-hitting effort.
“Our seniors have had a big influence on and off the field,” he said. “They gave us a chance to play for a trip to the dome.”
BGM 29, Pekin 8
Pek. 00 8 00 00 — 8
BGM 9 14 00 6 — 29
Scoring By Quarters*
BGM — Pekin runner tackled in endzone for a safety
BGM — Kline 2 yard run (Kyle Gritsch kick)
BGM — Kline 4 yard run (Gritsch kick)
Pekin — Allsup 23 yard run (Allsup pass to Millikin)
BGM — Kline 10 yard run Gritsch kick)
BGM — Kline 1 yard run (kick blocked)
First downs 11 24
Rushes-yards 34-116 57-254
Passing yards 13 30
Total Yards 129 284
Comp-Att-Int 3-10-2 5-14-1
Return Yards 4-33 5-67
Fumbles-Lost 4-2 2-1
Penalties-Yds 0-0 6-35
RUSHING — Allsup 11-6 yards, Chase Copeland 14-55 yards, Clubb 9-55 yards
PASSING — Allsup 3-9, 13 yards, Christian Wittrock 0-1, 0 yards.
RECEIVING — Clubb 1-(-4) yards, Millikin 2-17 yards
INTERCEPTIONS — Keaton Winn.
TACKLES — NA.
RUSHING — Kline 41-195 yards, Gritsch 10-53 yards, Bryan Kriegel 6-6 yards.
PASSING — Kriegel 5-14, 30 yards.
RECEIVING — Kline 1-10 yards, Gritsch 2-16 yards, Colton Ryan 1-(-4) yards, Mayson Sherwood 1-8 yards.
INTERCEPTIONS — Kline, Tyler Thompson.
TACKLES — NA.