COAL CITY — Following the previous week’s thrilling victory against Interstate Eight rival Wilmington on the road, the Coal City Coalers returned home on Friday night to take on the Dwight Trojans. There was little drama this week, as the Coalers rolled to a 41-0 victory against a bruised and battered Trojan squad.
Coal City entered as heavy favorites following last season’s 68-0 victory in Dwight, and the Coalers jumped on the Trojans early in the game. Two plays into Dwight’s first possession, senior linebacker Nate Natyshok stripped Dwight running back Triston Dircks and Koltin Powell recovered the fumble on the Coal City 42.
Eight plays later, running back Ryland Tondini plowed into the endzone from four yards out to cap a 58-yard drive that ate up 4:07 off the game clock.
Two minutes and 11 seconds later, the Coalers struck paydirt again when defensive end Nick Peters broke through the line of scrimmage and tipped a pass from Dwight quarterback Jordan Wilkey. The ball caromed into the air and landed in the waiting arms of Natyshok who returned it 45 yards for a touchdown and after the extra point by Lane Cowherd, the Coalers were out to a 13-0 lead.
Heading into halftime, the Coalers would add two touchdown runs from senior running back Mark Norton and Ryland Tondini from 17 and 3 yards out, respectively. Tondini would finish the day with 28 yards on eight carries to go along with his two touchdown runs, while Norton would add 51 yards on five carries.
“It feels great knowing that we can shoulder the load,” Norton said when asked about Coal City’s new, more run-oriented offense. “Our line just has to continue to execute every play, and we’ve just got to keep working hard and keep pushing.”
In the second half, the Coalers jumped on the board with 8:54 remaining in the third quarter when sophomore wide receiver/punt returner Jack Dibble found a seam and creased the Dwight punt team for a 58-yard punt return touchdown. Two possessions later, the Coalers road reserve running back Alex Medina on six consecutive carries, resulting in a 19-yard touchdown run that gave the Coalers a running clock.
For head coach Lenny Onsen, it was nice to see his team get a lot of quality reps as they continue to build depth.
“(Our depth) is coming along. We’re trying to develop some players and we were able to play a lot of people early tonight in the first half,” Onsen said. “We got to rotate some people knowing that the way our conference goes, it gets tougher and tougher every week. Hopefully, we can use this time to develop some kids and find some more one-way players.”
The Coalers would outgain the Trojans 208 to 143 on the day, and even though they didn’t statistically dominate the Trojans as they did in 2011, they were able to get scores from all three phases on Friday night.
Coal City travels to Manteno next week before returning home to take on the Herscher Tigers on Sept. 14.