VALPARAISO — It’s been eight weeks since a stunned Boone Grove football team walked off the field following a late-game collapse against River Forest. There was still plenty of season to be played, but the Wolves knew in late August that they were anticipating a rematch with the Ingots.
Boone Grove got its wish when the sectional draw was released earlier this month and the Wolves delivered on Friday night, blanking River Forest 21-0 and holding the Ingots to just 15 rushing yards.
The Wolves forced two turnovers and came up with eight tackles for loss as the Boone Grove defense shined throughout the night.
“We told the guys that we felt we should’ve been 8-1 this year and (the River Forest loss) was one that we should’ve had,” Boone Grove coach Dan Kukulski said. “We wanted to get this one back. It sat in the back of our minds and when the draw came out, we knew we’d have a chance to get it back.”
Boone Grove led River Forest 14-7 late in the game in Week 2 when the Ingots started their late rally. Jeremiah Walker scored on a 23-yard touchdown run with just over four minutes remaining and then Josiah Zambrana scored the game-winning touchdown with 79 seconds left on a 33-yard run. Zambrana’s longest run of the game on Friday night was 17 yards, and that came two plays after a 20-yard loss.
“We were pretty upset with the way we played against them earlier,” Boone Grove senior lineman Ryan Dziewicki said. “We wanted to come out here and make a statement. Our defensive coordinator (Scott Wiggins) had a lot to do with that.”
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Kukulski also praised Wiggins after the game as the Boone Grove defense held River Forest to just 23 yards of total offense through the first three quarters. Zambrana completed several deep passes late in the game before Jake Mayersky picked off a pass and ran it back 60 yards for the insurance touchdown.
Dylan Paul shook off an early interception and the Wolves (7-3) took advantage of a blocked punt by Brae’ton Vann, as Paul ran in a touchdown from 10 yards out with just under five minutes remaining in the first quarter. Paul threw another interception in the second quarter, but the junior came right back and marched the Wolves down the field, culminating in a 1-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Vann to give Boone Grove a 14-0 lead going into halftime.
“We stuck to our game plan and what we’ve been doing all year,” Paul said. “Our defense is outstanding. We knew that once we put some points on the board we would be in good shape.”
Brae’ton Vann led the Wolves with 65 rushing yards while Paul added 29 rushing yards and threw for 57 yards and a touchdown. Zambrana finished the night with 79 passing yards, but was limited to minus-1 yard on 15 carries as the Boone Grove defense buckled down on the line of scrimmage.
“Our guys believe in each other,” Kukulski said. “(Week 2), we were young. New coach, new scheme. We’re always looking for motivation every week and we were thinking about that game.”