I/G losing streak ends with win over E-S

            Independence/Gilmanton’s Mason Gierok dove into the backfield for a fourth down stop during their game against Eleva-Strum on Friday.                 (Times photograph by Andrew Dannehy)

A 17-game losing streak is over after the Independence/Gilmanton football team won its homecoming game over Eleva-Strum on Friday.

The Indees took an early lead then responded to every Cardinal score after as they held on for a 19-12 win.It was the first win for the program since a 22-0 victory over Eleva-Strum on Oct. 2, 2020. 

The win put the Indees’ record at 1-4 on the season and 1-2 in Dairyland Conference play. They’ll welcome perhaps the best team in the conference this Friday when Pepin/Alma comes to Independence. The Eagles are coming off of a 45-36 win over Augusta as they sit at 5-0 on the season. 

I/G 19 Eleva-Strum 12

The Cardinals took momentum into halftime, but the Indees quickly got it back.

Eleva-Strum scored with just 19 seconds left in the first half to pull within one at 13-12 and that was as close as they’d get.

When the teams came out of the locker room, I/G’s Ben Pyka received kick to open the second half. He found space and sprinted 84 yards for a touchdown. The two-point try was stopped, but the Indees were back in control with a 19-12 lead. 

I/G’s defense secured the win.

Eleva-Strum’s next drive went to the I/G nine before they were pushed back and stopped on fourth-and-15.

The Indees forced punts on the next two Cardinals’ possessions then stopped Reede Brown for a six-yard loss on a fourth-and-two play with a minute left in the game. The Indees took over and ran the clock out. 

It looked like it might be a rough game for the I/G defense when Ryan Julson broke free for a 58-yard run on the first play from scrimmage. I/G’s defense held up, however, as Mason Gierok flew into the line of scrimmage for a stop on a fourth-and-one play at the I/G five-yard line.

A 31-yard run by Nathan Pyka put the Indees in business late in the first quarter. Tyler Kingsbury ran for 11 yards later in the drive before Xavier Santillan finished it with a one-yard touchdown run. Hunter Guenther’s point after put the Indees ahead 7-0 with 2:13 left in the first quarter.

The Cardinals scored on their next drive as Brennan Hanner passed to Lagarrian Mitchell for 25 yards on a fourth-and-six play. Hanner finished the drive with a one-yard touchdown. The point after was blocked, however, so the Indees kept the lead.

I/G took more than five minutes off the clock as they answered with another touchdown. 

The Indees overcame two blocking penalties on the drive, one negated a 17-yard run by Ben Pyka and the other  took away a 28-yard touchdown by Kingsbury. However, Kingsbury had 12-yard run on the drive and Santillan converted a fourth-and-one with a three-yard run. Gierok finished the drive with a 19-yard touchdown. The point after was blocked, but the Indees led 13-6 with 3:36 left in the half. 

E-S used most of the rest of the quarter as Hanner passed to Mitchell for a 21-yard touchdown with 19 seconds left. Julson’s two-point run was stopped. 

The Indees were outgunned by more than 100 yards as E-S ran for 228 yards, but the I/G defense came up big in key moments. The Cardinals were just one-for-14 on third downs and I/G got five fourth down stops. 

Julson ran for 160 yards on 29 carries for the Cardinals, while Nathan Pyka led I/G with 41 yards on five attempts. Five different I/G players had at least five rushing attempts in the game. 



Rushing (att./yds.) — N. Pyka 5/41 Gierok 7/34 B. Pyka 9/33 Kingsbury 7/25 Santillan 2/16

Receiving (rec./yds.) — B. Pyka 1/9

Passing (comp./att./yds.) — Santillan 1/1/9

Tackles (solo/asts.) — Gierok 13/3 B. Pyka 9/2 N. Pyka 5/1 G. Bragger 3/3 Meier 4/0 Montalvo 3/1 A. Bragger 3/0 Kingsbury 1/1 M. Marsolek 0/2 Medina 0/1

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