Gregory Makes It Three Championships In Four Years With Win Over Irene-Wakonda
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Gregory defeated Irene-Wakonda 56-30 on Thursday afternoon for the Class 9AA Championship. This is the back-to-back state titles for Gregory, and their third in four years.
The Gorillas got the ball to start the game, but quickly went three-and-out. However, Jayd VanDerWerff converted a fake punt keeper, which resulted in a first down to keep the drive alive. This led to quarterback Andy McCance breaking loose for a 46-yard touchdown run – giving the Gorillas an early 6-0 lead.
Irene-Wakonda picked up a few first downs on their opening offensive possession, but the drive stalled near midfield.
Gregory hit big on their second possession of the game when McCance found Caleb Stukel for an 80-yard connection. The drive concluded with a 10-yard quarterback draw by McCance that went for six.
End of 1st Quarter: Gregory 12 Irene-Wakonda 0
Gregory scored early in the second quarter when McCance threw up a jump ball to VanDerWerff for a 16-yard score. With 11:37 to play in the half, the Gorillas led Irene-Wakonda 20-0.
The Eagles found some momentum on offense when quarterback Trey King jetted down the sideline for a 44-yard run. This would set up a one-yard keeper from King later in the drive to put Irene-Wakonda on the board. Gregory still led 20-7 at the 9:19 mark in the half.
McCance would strike right back for the Gorillas a few plays later finding JJ Beck over the middle for an 18-yard touchdown strike. This increased the Gregory lead over Irene-Wakonda, 26-7, with 8:29 to play in the second quarter.
Late in the half, Gregory drove the ball downfield again. McCance hit his wide out Blake Boes for a 19-yard touchdown connection, capping off an 85-yard drive.
With just 10-seconds to play, and near midfield, Irene-Wakonda’s King hit wide out Dallas Lee for a 55-yard hail mary score.
Halftime: Gregory 32 Irene-Wakonda 15
Irene-Wakonda received to start the second half, but the Eagles couldn’t get their offense going, and had to punt the ball away.
Gregory would capitalize and expand their game lead. Quarterback McCance stood tough in the pocket and hit his receiver Beck for a 35-yard touchdown. This made it a 40-15 with 8:27 to play in the third quarter.
Midway through the third, the Eagles got a spark when they picked off McCance. During the interception return, a late hit out of bounds gave Irene-Wakonda great field position inside the Gregory 15-yard line. King would then find his running back Cody Oien for a 12-yard touchdown. At that point, Gregory led Irene-Wakonda 40-23.
It didn’t take long for the Gorilla’s to get back into their groove. Quarterback McCance hit wide out Boes for a 32-yard touchdown, which was caught one-handed. Gregroy led Irene-Wakonda 48-23 with 3:58 to play in the third quarter.
End of the 3rd Quarter: Gregory 48 Irene-Wakonda 23
The Gregory offense continued to roll on early in the fourth quarter. A nine play 56-yard drive was topped off with a four-yard touchdown run by VanDerWerff. This increased the Gorilla lead, 56-23, over the Eagles.
Irene-Wakonda shrunk the deficit on their next drive when quarterback King finding wide out Brendan Sokolowski for a 7-yard toss to the end zone. That made it a 56-30 game with Gregory still leading.
The Gorillas ran out the clock on their next drive, which led to a victory formation.
Final Score: Gregory 56 Irene-Wakonda 30
Joe Robbie Award: Gregory Gorilla’s quarterback Andy McCance is the 2017 Class 9AA Joe Robbie MVP recipient. He threw five touchdown passes on 359-yards with a completion percentage of 66.7 percent. McCance also ran for 123-yards with two rushing touchdowns.