Strong First Half Signals More Success for Wolves


Kayla Meadows

Austen Ferbet leads the Wolves onto to the field on Friday, September 16 at Military Appreciation Night. Prairie Ridge beat Crystal Lake South 56-7.

As students are finally settled into the new school year, the football program has wasted no time and gotten off to a fast start. Did I mention fast? 4-0 fast. Believe it or not, the upcoming game against Bartlett will put us past the halfway mark of the season. Every football game so far this season has been exciting to watch and have all ended with Wolves victories. And if the first half is any indication of the second, Prairie Ridge will have a lot more to cheer about.

The Fox Valley Conference, which hosts a total of nine teams, has already seen teams taper off. At the top, there are only three teams who come close to the Wolves with records of 3-1.

Cary-Grove is currently 3-1, who lost to the Wolves 26-14 during the opening week, Huntley, who lost to the Wolves in Week 2 by a score of 31-20, and McHenry, who the Wolves will face in Week 6 for the Homecoming game. So, the teams sitting near the top, the Wolves have proven that they can not only beat those teams, but beat just about anybody.

Everybody loves the blowout wins, like this past Friday’s 56-7 victory over Crystal Lake South. But what’s more impressive than winning by 49 points is beating the two of the most competitive teams in the area both with multiple possessions of margin.

Cary-Grove and Huntley had outranked Prairie Ridge at the start of the season, but as of September 17 sit at two and three in Northwest Herald’s Power Rankings. These victories mean a TON. These were the two most difficult games on the schedule, and the Wolves almost made it look easy. This obviously gives the team a lot of credibility and confidence heading into the latter half of the season.

After coming off two huge wins against conference teams, the Wolves headed across town to face Crystal Lake Central, our school’s fiercest rival, in an intense matchup. However, the Wolves posted 400 rushing yards and scored seven touchdowns, putting the Tigers away 48-14. Then again, the same kind of offensive prowess led them to a convincing 56-7 win against another city rival, Crystal Lake South.

So, we get it. The Wolves are REALLY good. But how good? If watching their game on the field isn’t enough to convince you, we have some numbers that will show you just how good these guys have been so far.

Through just four games, the Wolves have scored 161 points against allowing only 55, which puts them at a +106 point differential for the year, exceptional for this point in the season. On the offensive side of the ball, the Wolves run the ball extremely well, and it’s their most effective way of moving the ball down the field. They’ve rushed for almost 1300 yards this year, averaging 7.5 yards each carry, which is another incredible statistic. Even more surprising is how the Wolves use passing, or don’t, in their case.

Quarterback Samson Evans truly does it all, leading the team in both passing and rushing yards. But, the Wolves have registered only 11 receptions on the whole year. This isn’t a whole lot, but when they do pass the ball, they are usually very effective with it. Each reception averages almost 25 yards, and six of the receptions have ended in touchdowns. The fact that the passing game is used but not relied on is another facet of the Wolves game that makes them really impressive.

Zach Gulbransen, who scored two touchdowns in the win against South, had some choice words about the team’s talent and work ethic. “We definitely have talented guys on the team with a lot of guys returning, but I think our work ethic is what drives us,” he said. “We work hard in practice and that translates on the field.”

Another teammate, Matthew Farstead, had similar words on their work ethic and the role that leadership plays in their success. “We come ready to practice everyday and on gameday we’re mentally focused and ready to go. We don’t let the emotion and hype get to us, we just play… There are definitely student leaders on the team. The coaches are there to help, but they really want us to take charge and win because we wanted it.”

Still not convinced? Tyler Beckwith, a football player for Crystal Lake South, begrudgingly agreed that Prairie Ridge is an extremely talented squad. “PR was able to read our offense and we couldn’t really get anything going,” he said. “On defense, they tricked us into making mistakes and they caught us. If you’re not completely locked in, they’ll force you into those mistakes, which I assume is a big part of their game plan.”

It’s no mystery then that Prairie Ridge’s football team is among the best in the state. As we look forward into the fall season, there are sure to be plenty of fun times and victories to celebrate.

Visit the PR Photos gallery for more shots from Military Appreciation Night 2016.