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Class 2A State Finals
Gilman (Iroquois West) 12-1 vs.Carthage13-0

Nov. 28th 1pm @ Memorial Stadium U of I

Gilman (Iroquois West):
The Raiders will be making their first trip to the State Finals, after they won their first semifinals game in school history they get to look forward to facing one of the state's biggest football powerhouses & quite defiantly one of the toughest teams from 1 through 4A.

But while many might be ready to just hand over the title to the Blue Boys, Iroquois West brings a little something different to the game, they like to pass. The gives the Raiders a nice advantage against a Carthage defense that's use to seeing opponents with a heavy running attack, as are most high school teams in smaller classes. Think South Beloit 's 5 receiver set from last years 1A final.

While teams like 5A Riverside (R.-Brookfield) also use a air attack pattern, they have a less effective result against teams that don't feature a lot of two way players as well as teams that have a large pool of skilled position players.

Senior QB Kyle Tutt (5'9 180), is the back bone of this offense, he's passed for over 2,500 yards this season with 31 TDs & 12 interceptions. Tutt's main targets are Jason Thiele (sr. WR 6'2 225) & Jordan Goldenstein (sr. WR 6'1 210) who have combined to catch over 90 passes this season. Corey Bork (sr. WR 5'11 205) may not be a primary reciever on most plays, but the senior wide out has converted 12 of his 24 reception into TDs for the Raiders.

The Raiders running game isn't non existent, but it most likely to see Tutt running the ball when he doesn't have an open man or when the offense thinks the defense is playing the pass to much. Tutt lead the team with 789 yards on the ground, followed by Kaleb Hartke (so. RB 5'8 200) & Thiele both with about 350 each.

While the defense hasn't been the strong point of the team, sack masters Tyler Kollman 18 (sr. LB 5'10 225) & Adam Johnson 14 (jr. DE 6' 185) have been helping keep opposing QB's on their toes. Graham Bostick (sr. LB 5'10 215) & Tyler Kollman (sr. LB 5'10 225) lead the team in tackles.

Iroquois West Roster & Starters

Where do you start with the Blue Boys? As one of the few smaller class teams to ever to get ranked in's Big 30, they have been the team to beat in 1 or 2A over the last 10 years. It's very possible that the Blue Boys could be in their 5th Finals game in as many years if a school district strike hadn't shorten their 2001 season, forcing them to enter the playoffs at 6-3 where they lost to eventual State ChampsAledo.

What do you need to know besides the fact that head coach Jim Unruh has put together one of the best programs in the state? Is that he is as big on defense as he is on offense.

On top of having one of the stingiest defenses in the state, they've only allowed 85 points all year, including the playoffs. Carthage has the highest scoring offense, averaging 51.3 a game. They've moved into 5th place on the all time scoring list for Illinois and only need to score 27 points to tie the previous record of 694, which they hold from their 2000 season.

How do the Blue Boys rack up so many points? Beside getting touchdowns on defense & special teams, the Blue Boys go for 2 on just about every touch down they get through the running of Ashton Gronewold (sr. RB 5'11 175) 2,048 yards 42 TDs and David Watts (jr. RB 5'11 190) 1,141 yards 26 TDs.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Blue Boys don't really have any stand outs as Watts, Jack Rogers, Jesse Knowles lead the pack for a pretty even defense. That pretty even defense won't be sending any players into the state record books for tackles or sack, but you can blame that on the fact that they only allowed 92 first downs all season long and are averaging 156 yards gained against them a game.

The Raiders may find their best chance at scoring in the 2nd quarter when the two way play of the of seven defensive players starts to show. The Blue Boys have allowed the half of their total points to be scored. The Raiders, may also be able to score in the 4th, but unlike the 2nd quarter most Blue Boy points given up in the final quarter would be after a slaughter rule & a 2nd string defense would be in.

Carthage Roster & Starters

by Vincent Johnson







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