Wildcats run past Baldwin for third straight win
Louisburg offensive linemen (from left) Garrett Harding, Noah Larson and Kiefer Tucker team up to create some running room for quarterback Madden Rutherford on Friday at Wildcat Stadium.
The Louisburg High School football team kept its perfect season intact Friday when the Wildcats rolled Baldwin, 27-7, at Wildcat Stadium.
However, what Louisburg coach Robert Ebenstein saw on the field was anything but perfection – and he was excited about it.
“There are a lot programs around the state that would be thrilled with a 27-7 win and we are extremely fortunate that we can win 27-7 and know that we have room to grow,” Ebenstein said. “I knew Baldwin was going to play tough and they have tough kids, but I feel we at least left 14 points off the board. We are still growing and we are still moving people around to see where our best fit is, so I am thrilled with the win and our kids worked their butts off and we are going to keep getting better.”
The Wildcats put together another highlight reel performance as they moved their record to 3-0 on the season, but no player had more game-changing plays than senior Austin Moore.
Moore was a factor in all three phases of the game. He carried the ball 11 times for 111 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, he led Louisburg with nine tackles, six solo stops, two forced fumbles and a sack from his middle linebacker spot.
The Louisburg senior didn’t stop there as he also blocked a punt on special teams and he was all over the field for the Wildcats.
“Austin is all over the place and the greatest thing about him is no matter what you call he is going to give it 100 percent,” Ebenstein said. “He makes some opportunities for himself, but we have a lot of selfless players on our team. We have a kid like Blue Caplinger, who is a stud, but he is the most selfless person we have. Austin was all over the place, but it is just the product of him being a stud in all phases of the game, but everyone else doing their job also.”
Some of those others were the Wildcat offensive line of Kiefer Tucker, Jonathan DePriest, Noah Larson, Brayden White and Garrett Harding, along with tight end Michael Waldron, who opened up holes for the running game and had to make adjustments throughout the night.
“The line did well,” Ebenstein said. “Baldwin completely switched up how they were playing after the first quarter and I think that we adapted well. They played us like Spring Hill played us back in the opener and that is why we just hammered away and I thought the line did a great job adapting and opening up holes.”
Louisburg didn’t waste time getting on the scoreboard as it found the endzone on its first drive. Brayden Gage set up the score with a 38-yard run to get things started and Moore took it the rest of the way as he scored on an 18-yard run to make it 7-0.
The Wildcat defense struck next as senior cornerback Beckett Rasmussen forced a fumble on Baldwin’s next drive and Blue Caplinger recovered to give them ball 29 yards away from another score.
Score the Wildcats did, as Moore put Louisburg up two scores on a 3-yard touchdown run and Drake Varns converted the extra point to make it 14-0.
In the second quarter, Moore and the Wildcat defense came up big again as Moore sacked the Baldwin quarterback on fourth down and forced a fumble. Senior linebacker Jorge LeBron recovered his first two of fumbles on the night and set up another Wildcat score.
Moore responded with a 69-yard touchdown run on the ensuing drive, and after a missed extra point, put Louisburg up 20-0 at halftime. Louisburg had a chance to make a four-score game before the break, but the Wildcats fumbled on the goal line.
“We preached to the kids all week that we wanted to get up early and just keep pounding,” Ebenstein said. “We could have pressed in the second half more than we did. We just kept running iso and they were just jamming the box. We could have thrown every play and made a play, but we just wanted to keep the ball and keep grinding. We were tinkering with some stuff and figuring some stuff there in the second half, but I am thrilled with the game went as a whole.”
Late in the third quarter, the Wildcats put the game away when quarterback Madden Rutherford found Charlie Koontz for a 48-yard touchdown pass to put Louisburg up 27-0. Rutherford completed 5 of 8 passes on the night for 84 yards.
Baldwin added a fourth quarter touchdown to prevent the shutout, but the Wildcats were still able to celebrate their third straight win to start the season.
The Wildcats will face their most difficult test of the season thus far as they travel to undefeated Piper for a 7 p.m. kickoff Friday.
“Piper is going to be tough,” Ebenstein said. “There is not going to be a better time to play a perfect game than (Friday), so let’s see if we can do it.”
LOU 14 6 7 0 – 27
BAL 0 0 0 7 – 7
L: Austin Moore 18 run (Drake Varns kick)
L: Moore 3 run (Varns kick)
L: Moore 69 run (kick failed)
L: Charlie Koontz 48 pass from Madden Rutherford (Varns kick)
B: Connor Quick 2 run (kick good)
RUSHING: Austin Moore 11-111; Brayden Gage 2-32; Charlie Koontz 2-14, Blue Caplinger 6-7
PASSING: Madden Rutherford 5-8-84-1
RECEIVING: Charlie Koontz 2-50, Weston Guetterman 1-20, Austin Moore 1-7, Blue Caplinger 1-7
TACKLES: Austin Moore 9, Andy Hupp 7, Blue Caplinger 4, Kiefer Tucker 4, Brayden White 4, Gabe Rader 3, Ben Wiedenmann 3, Tanner Belcher 3, Noah Larson 3, Garrett Harding 3, Beckett Rasmussen 2, Charlie Koontz 2, Brandon Cooper 2, Dylan Knipp 2, Jorge LeBron 1, Brian Houck 1, Jay Scollin 1, James Foote 1, Cole Williams 1, Jonathan DePriest 1.