Cactus Bowl- Red Storm topple Blue Devils

Staff Reports
January 08, 2011

(L-R)Eric Czerniewski, Marc Schiechl, Trevis Turner

The Cactus Bowl featured 88 Division II football players on Friday night at Javelina Stadium.

The Red Storm led by Harlon Hill recipient Eric Czerniewski (Central Missouri), defeated the Blue Devils 28-6.

Czerniewski could hardly be contained on the ground or in the air as he went 8-for-13 for 187 yards and two touchdowns passing, while also picking up 19 yards on five carries. Czerniewski's performance would earn him the Offensive Player of the Game award.

On the other side of the ball, Marc Schiechl (Colorado School of Mines) defensive end for the Blue Devils took home the Defensive Player of the Game. Schiechl led all players with eight tackles and two sacks for a loss of 16 yards.

The Red Storm never trailed in the game as they scored on their first drive.  They went 90 yards in 10 plays and scored when Czerniewski connected with L.J. Castile (Delta State) on a 42-yard scoring strike with 7:28 to play in the first quarter.  Czerniewski kept the drive alive when he rushed for two yards on a fourth-and-one situation.  Gareth Rowlands (Tusculum) connected on the first of four extra point attempts.

The two teams traded punts for nearly the rest of the first half until the Red Storm struck again right before halftime.  West Liberty State’s Zach Amedro completed a 44-yard pass to Castile and then picked up 17 yards on a run to move the ball to the Blue Devil 11-yard line.  Four plays later, Robert Welton (Albany State) crashed into the end zone from one yard out with 1:01 left in the half.

The Blue Devils quickly drove down to the Red Storm 25-yard line with 29 seconds left in the first half before the Red Storm pass rush forced Troy Weatherhead (Hillsdale) into three straight incompletions.  The Blue Devils sent out the field goal unit on the final play of the half, but Steve Ivanisevic’s (Washburn) 42-yard try was wide left.

The Red Storm started the second half with the ball and was driving across midfield when Bryan Boyce (Mercyhurst) intercepted an Amedro pass to give the ball back to the Blue Devils.

The Blue Devils quickly drove inside the Red Storm 10-yard line thanks to a pair of nice runs by Anthony Stewart (Central Missouri) and two penalties on the Storm.  On third-and-two from the 4-yard line, Taylor Harris (West Texas A&M) had his pass intercepted in the end zone by Brandon Johnson (Tarleton State).

The momentum shifted quickly as the Red Storm drove 80 yards in 10 plays to make it a 21-0 ball game.  Trevar Deed (Delta State) capped off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run with 6:01 left in the third quarter.  Czerniewski completed a 34-yard pass to Ryan Lincoln (Texas A&M-Kingsville) on third-and-17 from his own 13-yard line to keep the drive alive.

The Blue Devils finally got on the scoreboard with 52 seconds left in the third quarter.  Weatherhead directed a nice 11-play, 63-yard scoring drive that consisted of no play longer than 13 yards.  Weatherhead connected with Joe Hastings (Washburn) on a 4-yard fade route into the back corner of the end zone.  A bad snap prevented the Storm from tacking on the extra point.

The Blue Devils tried to catch the Red Storm off balance with an onside kick attempt, but Harrison Lingenfelter (Nebraska-Omaha) was there to recover for the Storm.  Czerniewski took advantage of the outstanding field position and needed just four plays to score as he found Ryan Travis (West Liberty State) for a 23-yard touchdown with 14:16 left in the game.

The Blue Devils drove the length of the field again as Weatherhead moved the team 82 yards to the 1-yard line, but the Red Storm defense came up big.  First, Travis Brisco (Urbana) stopped Weatherhead on a quarterback sneak on third down and then, Carlton Johnson (Arkansas-Monticello) stuffed LiRonnie Davis (Albany State) for no gain on fourth down to give the ball back to the Storm.

The Storm were able to milk 6:56 off the clock thanks to the running of Welton, Deed and Baylen Laury (Southeastern Oklahoma) before being forced to punt, effectively ending the game.

The Red Storm gained 187 yards rushing on 44 carries and 277 yards passing on just 24 attempts.  They picked up 23 first downs and committed 11 penalties for 87 yards.  Laury, Deed and Welton rushed for 47, 46 and 46 yards, respectively.  Amedro complemented Czerniewski by going 6-for-11 for 90 yards.  Travis led the team with four catches for 60 yards while Castile finished with three receptions for a game high 122 yards.  Lincoln added 59 yards on two catches.

The Red Storm defense had nine players with at least four tackles.  Tae Evans (West Texas A&M) and Caleb Singleton (Western Oregon) led the team with five each.  Johnson had four solo tackles, a tackle for loss, an interception and a pass breakup.

The Blue Devils rushed for 132 yards on 20 carries and 210 yards passing on 39 passes.  They picked up 19 first downs and committed only five penalties for 39 yards.  Stewart led the Devils with 45 yards rushing on eight carries and had one catch for 43 yards while Davis added 41 yards on five attempts.  Weatherhead finished 15-of-24 for 177 yards and a touchdown while Harris was 6-of-14 for 33 yards and an interception.  Hastings led all receivers with six catches and his team with 75 yards.  Jessie Poku (Eastern New Mexico) and Terrance Moore (California) each had four catches.

Schiechl led the Blue Devils defense with eight tackles and two sacks, but Matt Freed (East Stroudsburg) and Corey Robertson (Texas A&M-Kingsville) each were in on a number of plays.  Freed finished with seven tackles, a tackle for loss and a pass breakup while Robertson added seven tackles.

In addition to the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Game, Abilene Christian’s Trevis Turner was named the Jim Langer Offensive Lineman of the Game.

This was the 10th edition of the Cactus Bowl in South Texas with 4,200 in attendance.