As the old adage goes, defense wins championships, and against Reno High, the Galena football team proved the cliché true with a 15-9 win in the Division I North Region first round on Friday at Galena.
The Grizzlies’ top-ranked defense held the Huskies to just 186 yards of total offense; nearly cutting in half what the Huskies had averaged during the season.
“Our defense played great,” Galena coach Steve Struzyk said. “Our defense played four quarters of lights-out football. They flew around and did a great job.”
With the game on the line in the fourth quarter and Galena (8-2) trailing 9-7, Chaz Clark took an end-around from quarterback Brock Raggio 20 yards to the end zone to put the Grizzlies up for good.
“We’ve been running it all week in practice,” Clark said. “I told my coach I wanted to run it, so we did it and it worked.”
Galena’s top receiver and defensive back, Clark, has been playing with a cast on his hand of late. While effective Friday, the senior doesn’t expect the hindrance to come off for Galena’s game next week against Reed.
“It’s normal to us right now, because he’s been playing with it for about the last five weeks,” Struzyk said. “He can do it all. Cast or no cast, it doesn’t matter. He flies around and just plays 100 percent all day long. We’re so used to it, maybe if it comes off, he’ll start dropping.”
While not targeted a lot, Clark made his presence felt on both sides of the ball and was a big part in Galena’s dispatching of Reno (7-4).
For Reno, its two losses to Galena during the season and an end to the season do not have the Huskies counting the season as a failure.
“It was missed opportunities,” Reno coach Dan Avansino said. “We had chances, and we just didn’t capitalize on certain areas. The other key point was how well they played defense.”
“We’re so very proud of our guys. We really feel like we’ve had an outstanding season. This group was really a team, and that’s sometimes hard to do at any level. It was a joy to coach these young men.”