GCMS football extends win streak to record-setting mark with 48-6 victory over Fieldcrest

GIBSON CITY — Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley wasted little time en route to pulling off a 48-6 victory Friday over Fieldcrest — and making a little history along the way.
The victory set a Gibson City/GCMS school record for most wins in a row with 18, which includes the Falcons’ 4-0 start to this season as well as their state-championship run from last year.
The Gibson City Greyhounds went 8-0 and 9-0 in 1950 and 1951, respectively.
“It’s a nice accomplishment for the kids and for the program,” GCMS head coach Mike Allen said. “We've never focused on it. We’re 4-0 right now, and that’s all we’re focusing on right now. We're very proud of our kids. They played hard. They played well. They played together, and we are continuing to get better every day at practice and every game.”
After Josh Bleich recorded a tackle for a loss of yards on the first play from scrimmage, the second play resulted in a Knights turnover as Keegan Kutemeier intercepted a pass that was bobbled by the intended receiver, Michael Morse, giving GCMS (4-0, 2-0 Heart of Illinois Conference) the ball on Fieldcrest’s 22-yard line.
On the next play, Nathan Garard found Ryland Holt for a 22-yard touchdown pass via a leaping catch on the left side of the end zone less than a minute into the game.
With his 13th career touchdown reception, Holt broke the Falcons’ all-time record for touchdown catches. The previous record was set by the Greyhounds' Ty Royal in 1977.
“We want to get Ryland going early,” Allen said. “We want to get Bryce (Barnes) going early. Our passing game opens up our running game, and vice versa. They came up and jammed our receivers. We isolated them.”
GCMS’s defense forced a three-and-out as a quarterback keeper by Fieldcrest's Tyler McKay resulted in no gain on first down before Bleich recorded another tackle for loss of yards on another quarterback keeper on second down, followed by an incomplete pass on third down. The ensuing punt went out of bounds at the Knights’ 24-yard line. 
On the first play of GCMS's ensuing drive, a pass from Garard intended for Bryce Barnes in the end zone resulted in a pass-interference penalty that put the ball on the 10-yard line. After Jared Trantina ran for four yards on first-and-goal, Payton Kean scored on a 6-yard run, breaking multiple tackles in the process, to extend the Falcons’ lead to 14-0 with 8:45 left in the first quarter.
McKay attempted a pass to Derek May on the first play of Fieldcrest's next drive, but the pass was broken up by GCMS's Lance Livingston. 
A false-start penalty moved the Knights back five yards before Aidan Laughery tackled Tisen Covington on a screen-pass reception. On third-and-13, Bleich sacked McKay, forcing Fieldcrest to punt on fourth-and-21.
On GCMS’s next drive, Garard — who completed 4-of-6 passes for 118 yards — scampered 10 yards for a touchdown with 2:39 remaining in the opening quarter.
The drive started on Fieldcrest's 47-yard line before three runs by Trantina led to a first down on the 35-yard line. A pass attempt for Holt fell incomplete, but the Knights were called for a defensive holding penalty.
An encroachment penalty by Fieldcrest was followed by a 4-yard run by Trantina before Kean scampered for a first down to the Knights' 13-yard line. Garard rushed for his touchdown three plays later.
After the Falcons’ defense forced a turnover on downs near the red zone, with Fieldcrest (1-3, 0-2) trying a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-1, Jared Trantina — who led GCMS in rushing with 120 yards on 11 carries — found running room along the left sideline on the next play en route to a 75-yard touchdown scamper.
Trantina's 120 rushing yards led a Falcons ground attack that finished the game producing 210 yards on 32 carries.
“Jared has been a workhorse for us," Allen said. "Payton (Kean) has come in there running the ball well and blocking well. Daniel Jones had a great touchdown run called back, and then Andrew Laughery and Isaiah Chatman came in and ran the ball very well.”
When Garard ran for a two-point conversion, GCMS led 29-0 with 7:15 left in the second quarter.
Garard later returned an interception to Fieldcrest’s 35-yard line, setting up a 31-yard field goal by Ben Freehill with 1:14 remaining in the first half.
Garard's pick was one of three takeaways produced by the Falcons’ defense, which yielded minus-22 rushing yards and 124 passing yards as Josh Bleich led GCMS in tackles with 11, including three for a loss of yards, and had three sacks.
“(We played) pretty well all-around, from defensive line to linebackers to third-level,” Bleich said. “I'm satisfied with it, but we’ve got to step up next week. Once I was getting double-teamed, I can expect Hayden (Workman) and Joe (Allen) to make the play. It’s all about being strong up front altogether.”
After Garard's first-quarter touchdown run, Fieldcrest took over on its own 30-yard line. On third-and-4, Micah Hurd ran to move the ball to midfield for a first down.
The Knights were called for a holding penalty, but GCMS was called for a facemask penalty on second-and-20 as McKay completed a pass to Kenton Castrejon. The pass completion and penalty combined to give Fieldcrest a first down on the Falcons' 18-yard line.
McKay ran for no gain on first down before a pass intended for May was broken up by Livingston on second down. Garard defended the intended receiver on a third-down incompletion before McKay tossed another incomplete pass on fourth down with Barnes applying pressure.
Holt then made a circus catch in the middle of the field on GCMS's ensuing drive, putting the ball on Fieldcrest' 46-yard line.
"Ryland had a great catch on his back," Allen said. "He slipped, and the ball was underthrown. He came back, and (the ball) was on his back when he actually caught the ball.” 
After Trantina ran for four yards, a Jones touchdown run was called back via an illegal block in the back penalty called on GCMS. Following a sack on second-and-18, Garard ran for 18 yards on third-and-24.
Garard attempted another rush, but fumbled near the first-down marker, a cough-up that Fieldcrest recovered on its own 47-yard line.
Castrejon ran for four yards before an incomplete pass resulted in a third-and-6, on which McKay completed a pass to Jaxon Cusac-McKay that put the ball on GCMS's 34-yard line.
Two runs by Castrejon resulted in a third-and-6, on which McKay threw an incomplete pass, but an encroachment penalty on the next play resulted in a fourth-and-1.
McKay tried to sneak toward the first-down marker, but Hayden Workman tackled him for a loss of yards, giving GCMS the ball on its own 25-yard line before Trantina's long touchdown run.
The two teams exchanged three-and-outs before Garard's interception. After the pick, Garard completed a pass to Trantina to put the ball on the 15-yard line.
Two plays later, Trantina scampered for what would have been a 15-yard touchdown run, but the play was called back due to a holding penalty. It would not be the last time that a score would be called back due to a penalty, as a 72-yard scamper down the left sideline by Aidan Laughery in the third quarter was called back due to a holding penalty and a fourth-quarter interception return by Darin Bauer was called back via a roughing-the-passer penalty.
“Unfortunately, we had a couple of penalties," Allen said.
Garard ran for 10 yards after Trantina's negated touchdown scamper before throwing an incomplete pass via Cusac-McKay breakup of a toss intended for Holt, leading to the field goal by Freehill, who also connected on 5-of-5 extra-point attempts.
It took GCMS only four plays to drive 62 yards on its opening drive of the second half.
Trantina ran for eight yards before Jones scampered to Fieldcrest's 48-yard line on second-and-2.
A 41-yard screen pass to Barnes set up a 7-yard touchdown run by Trantina extended GCMS's lead to 39-0 with 10:34 left in the third quarter. 
“Bryce made a couple of great catches, and the line did an outstanding job of giving Nathan (Garard) time to throw, and then Nathan put the ball on the money tonight,” Allen said.
Fieldcrest got on the board via an 11-yard pass from backup quarterback Matt Lorton to Cusac-McKay with 7:51 left in the third quarter.
The scoring drive started on Fieldcrest's own 27-yard line before Lorton completed a screen pass to Castrejon to move the ball to GCMS's 29-yard line. Another screen pass to May resulted in a 6-yard gain on second-and-12 before the Falcons were called for a pass interference penalty on a pass intended for Cusac-McKay in the end zone on fourth-and-7.
The scoring reception occurred on second-and-10.
“(Defensive coordinator Chad) Augspurger wasn’t happy about that (score), but he does an amazing job with getting these guys in place and making the calls letting our kids just play football,” Allen said. “As the defensive coordinator, you want the defense to play well. You want to have them keep going and go after things.”
Prior to Friday's game, GCMS's defense produced two shutouts while yielding only 12 points throughout the season.
“If our defense continues playing like we're playing, we're going to be in a lot of games," Allen said.
Workman led the team with 23 tackles -- according to The News-Gazette's listing of season stats as of Thursday -- heading into Friday's game while Bleich had 17 tackles.
“I think our defense has been doing well. I think we need more consistency. In the second half, we didn't come out too strong, but we fixed it up after that," Bleich said. "Once we fix that, I think we can win a state title.”
The Falcons answered Fieldcrest's lone score with a 1-yard scoring run by Isaiah Chatman with 3:12 remaining in the third quarter that forced a running clock, as GCMS built its lead to a 40-point margin at 46-6. 
After Laughery's negated touchdown run, Chatman ran for two yards before Laughery scampered for another yards before a delay-of-game penalty was followed by an incomplete pass on third-and-17, forcing GCMS to punt. 
Castrejon ran for no gain on first down on Fieldcrest's ensuing possession before May caught a pass for five yards. On third-and-5, however, Barnes sacked Lorton and forced a fumble, which Workman returned to the Knights' 17-yard line.
A Laughery run for four yards was followed by an encroachment penalty by Fieldcrest before Chatman ran for a first down to the 1-yard line to set up Chatman's scoring run.
Bryce Barnes sacked Lorton in the end zone for a safety before the quarter ended. 
Fieldcrest's defense recovered a fumble on GCMS's ensuing offensive possession, but GCMS forced the Knights to turn the ball over on downs via an incomplete pass on fourth-and-13 on Fieldcrest's own 41-yard line.
The Falcons hope to continue their win streak as they travel to Fisher next Friday to play in a battle of unbeatens.
The Bunnies will host their homecoming game against GCMS after improving to 4-0 with a 58-0 victory over Flanagan-Cornell/Woodland — their last game against an HOIC Large opponent resulted in a 21-14 week-three win over Tri-Valley.
“It’s a rivalry game, and both teams will be ready for a great game,” Allen said.
GCMS 48, Fieldcrest 6
FLD   0  0  6  0  -- 6
GCMS  21 11 16 0  -- 48
Scoring summary
G -- Holt 22 pass from Garard (Freehill kick)
G -- Kean 6 run (Freehill kick)
G -- Garard 10 run (Freehill run)
G -- Trantina 75 run (Garard run)
G -- Freehill 31 FG
G -- Trantina 7 run (Freehill kick)
F -- Cusac-McKay 11 pass from Lorton (kick failed)
G -- Chatman 1 run
G -- Safety
Individual stats
RUSHING -- Fieldcrest 27-(-22) (Kenton Castrejon 8-14). GCMS 32-210 (Jared Trantina 11-120). 
PASSING -- Fieldcrest 9-26-124 (Matt Lorton 5-9-74, Tyler McKay 4-17-50). GCMS 4-7-118 (Nathan Garard 4-6-118).
TACKLES -- GCMS (Josh Bleich 11).
SACKS -- GCMS (Bleich 3).
INTERCEPTIONS -- GCMS 2 (Garard, Keegan Kutemeier).
FORCED FUMBLES -- Fieldcrest 2. GCMS (Bryce Barnes).
FUMBLE RECOVERIES -- Fieldcrest 2. GCMS (Hayden Workman).
Categories (3):Prep Sports, Football, Sports


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