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Big 'uns pave the way for big night

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

ESCORT: Bryan Tate leads Ethan Leisenring to the goal line in Thayer's 57-22 win over Willow Springs. Photo/Looney
You better believe Josh Huckabee, Cameron Carey, Ethan Leisenring and Jared Foley know them.

Same goes for the faithful green-and-white clad fans that pack the stands at Louis Bozman Stadium every fall Friday night.

And now, the Willow Springs Bears, just like the five previous teams Thayer has faced, are very familiar with them after an up close and personal meeting Oct. 2 at Polinski Field in Willow Springs.

Eli Martin. Bryan Tate. Cody Ollar. Tony Ary. Thomas Weeks.

The big, beef-eating, take-no-prisoners Thayer Bobcat offensive line.

And boy howdy, did Martin, Tate, Ollar, Ary and Weeks ever introduce themselves to the Willow Springs Bears.

Knocking the Bears back on their heels all night long, Thayer's offensive line completely dominated every kind of defense Willow Springs could muster and the Bobcats rolled to a huge 57-22 victory over the Bears (3-3).

And, oh yeah, Thayer's stable of fleet-footed running backs were pretty sharp in the game, too.

The Bobcats (5-1) racked up an amazing 471 yards of rushing in the game. Ethan Leisenring carried the football 10 times for 198 yards and a pair of TDs; Cameron Carey notched 151 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries; and Josh Huckabee logged 115 yards rushing and pair of touchdowns on 10 totes. Huckabee's total in the game pushed him over the 1,000 yard mark for the season.

That's called running at will.

The contest was actually close at one point -- the Bears trailed by just six points, 28-22, in the third quarter.

But then Thayer exploded for 29 unanswered points to put the game on ice.

While there were plenty of offensive fireworks in the air, it was Thayer's defense that started the scoring spree in this one.

Garrett Brewer picked up a Willow Springs' fumble and ran it back 19 yards for the game's first touchdown, early in the first quarter. Leisenring kicked the first of his seven PATs on the night and Thayer led 7-0.

The Bobcats made it a 14-0 advantage after the first quarter on a 17-yard touchdown run from Carey.

Willow Springs responded with its first touchdown of the night in the second quarter. Clint Harper pulled in a 23-yard touchdown pass from Chris Johnson to get the Bears on the board. The 2-point conversion made it 14-8, Thayer.

It didn't take the Bobcats long to add another tally to their total as Huckabee broke off a 45-yard run that resulted in the Cats' third TD of the half and a 21-8 lead.

But the Bears hung in there and Johnson crossed the goal line from a yard out to make things interesting. The 2-point conversion left Willow Springs trailing 21-16 at intermission.

Carey set the scoring wheels in motion in the second half with a big 55-yard touchdown run to extend Thayer's lead to 28-16.

But then, Travis Wake pulled a similar trick for the Bears, as he scampered for a 42-yard TD run to help Willow Springs keep pace with the Cats. The 2-point conversion was no good, but the Bears had managed to pull within six points of Thayer.

But that's when the wheels fell off for Willow Springs and Thayer stepped on the gas.

Huckabee picked off a Willow Springs pass and ran it back 29 yards for a touchdown and then awhile later, he shot into the end zone from 20 yards out for his second touchdown of the third quarter.

With a 43-22 lead heading into the final frame, Leisenring put the finishing touches on the Bobcats' big victory.

He scored both Thayer touchdowns in the final 12 minutes of play, the first on a short 5-yard run, the second on a long 80-yard run, capping Thayer's impressive 57-22 road win over Willow Springs.

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