By Ronan O'Shea
GIBSON CITY – For the fourth consecutive week, the Ridgeview Mustangs (4-0) utilized a relentless ground attack, rushing for over 200 yards, en route to a 32-13 Heart of Illinois victory at Gibson City-Melvin Sibley Friday night. Senior captain Josh Weier paced the offense with 27 carries for 132 yards , scoring two fourth quarter touchdowns to clinch the victory.
“I thought we played better in the second half,” coach Mike Benton said. “Our offensive line flexed their muscles in the second half and our defense played well. We put the defense in some really bad positions tonight, but they did a nice job.”
The Mustangs used six different backs on the night, with senior running back Zach Walker adding 112 yards on five carries and Wes Young pounding into the end zone for a score. Quarterback Matt Barnes attempted only seven passes in the victory.
Gibson City (1-4) struck first, when senior Jordyn Schultz returned the opening kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown. It would be the only points Gibson City would score in the opening half.
Three possessions later, the Mustangs found pay dirt on a 54 yard touchdown run from Zach Walker. Weier converted the two-point conversion, giving Ridgeview am 8-6 lead after one quarter.
Following a missed field goal, Ridgeview marched 90 yards on 10 plays, scoring on a four yard run from Young. Quaterback Matt Barnes’ two-point conversation pass was tipped into the hands of Young for the conversation and the 16-6 halftime lead.
Gibson City struck quickly in the second half. On their second possession, the Falcons needed only two plays to score. Schultz broke a 50 yard run from scrimmage to open the drive before quarterback Jesse Boma carried the next snap five yards into the endzone, making it a 16-13 game.
After a quick three and out, Gibson City marched to midfield with momentum on their side. But on fourth and seven, Boma was sacked by Wes Young. The Falcons would register a first down the rest of the night.
Three plays later, Weier was in the end zone. He would add the game-ending touchdown minutes later, on a 35 yard dash to cap the scoring.
Friday marked the first meeting between the two Heart of Illinois schools since 2009. Ridgeview returns to Colfax next Friday to play Mackinaw. Gibson City plays at Paxton.