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FISHER — With no playoff games to look forward to for the first time since 2003, Friday’s game against Fisher served as a hypothetical state championship game for GCMS.
Wanting to end its season on a high note, the Falcons scored some long touchdown runs and rode a shutdown defense to a 28-0 victory over the Bunnies.
“I’m just extremely proud of how hard our kids played and the intensity they came out with. They wanted to finish the season strong,” GCMS head coach Mike Allen said. “We told them our goal is to always play in that state championship, but that game was our state championship, and we had to come out and fight for a victory, and we did.”
Among the most impactful of GMCS players on Friday were three seniors: Nick Retherford, Jesse Boma and Jordyn Schultz.
Retherford scored two touchdowns via long runs. His first was an on an 85-yard scamper.
“Nick had an 85-yard touchdown run on an inside trap,” Allen said.
Retherford scored again on a run of about 40 yards in the fourth quarter.
“We ran our jet and let the linebackers jump with Jordyn Schultz and brought Nick underneath on a kick-out to the end,” Allen said.
Allen said Retherford had a nice game offensively in ways other than scoring touchdowns.
“He blocked on Jordyn Schultz’s sweep around the left side at the end of the third quarter,” Allen said. “Nick just laid out one of the linebackers. He had a great block, so he had an all-around, terrific game for us.”
Schultz scored a touchdown for GCMS (4-5, 4-4 Heart of Illinois Conference) as well. Allen said he also contributed greatly to the Falcons’ defensive effort.
“Jordyn Schultz had a great night on defense,” Allen said. “Our defense swarmed to the ball and did a great job containing (Fisher’s Hans) Carmien and (Aaron) Carter.”
Thanks at least partially to Schultz’s efforts, GCMS’ defense held Fisher (2-7, 2-6 HOIC) to minus-one yards in the second half.
“Our defense played outstanding against a much bigger team than us,” Allen said. “We gave up negative yards in the second half, put the offense in great field position and got the momentum on our side.”
Jesse Boma scored on a 46-yard run via quarterback sweep.
“He got to the outside, cut it back and had a great run for us,” Allen said.
Allen said he was proud of the ability of his lead seniors, as well as his entire team, to rebound from the previous week’s 14-7 loss at El Paso-Gridley that eliminated GCMS from the playoffs.
“It feels pretty good. The kids responded,” Allen said. “It’s tough to bounce back after losing the week before against El Paso and knowing we’re out of the playoffs, but our kids responded very well. We had a good week of practice. Our seniors stepped up and really took a lot of prode in finishing strong and finishing with victory.”
With Boma, Retherford and Schultz, along with Jordan Seymour, departing, GCMS will be without its entire starting backfield next year.
Nevertheless, Allen said he has hopes for next season.
“We have guys coming back like (Lucas) Hixson and Axel Doran,” Allen said. "Nick Meunier’s coming up as a sophomore. There’s going to be a lot of competition. Kids are going to have to step up and fight for a starting position.”