By John Ring
Published October 21, 2021 in The Burg
Hunter DeVena put on quite a show at the Galesburg-United Township football game at Van
Dyke Field on Friday night.
It was the kind of display the old coach-- C.C. Van Dyke-- would have loved.
On the opening play of the game, DeVena, a Silver Streak linebacker on defense, smashed through UT’s offensive line and leveled the Panthers’ Tyler Bohnert for a four yard loss running the ball. On the second play, DeVena led a bunch of gang-tackling Streaks to stop a one-yard gain.
On Galesburg’s second offensive play, DeVena-- in the backfield for the first time this season-- rumbled for a 36 yard gain around the right side of the Streaks offensive line.
Get the picture? He was the high school equivalent of Csonka on offense and Ray Lewis on defense for the better part of the 48-minute game.
Galesburg’s problem early in the game were turnovers-- an interception and a fumble-- and a 66 yard touchdown pass by UT with 7:24 left in the first quarter for an 8-0 lead.
But the Streak defense kept holding and DeVena eventually scored on an 8-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 8-7 at the half.
“We had a defensive breakdown for their only score,” said Coach Derek Blackwell, “and the guy that blew the coverage admitted it and said it wouldn’t happen again. We knew we would stop them.”
The turning point of the game came early in the third quarter. After a Galesburg defensive stop, the Streaks went on a beautifully executed 13-play, 66 yard drive led by the running of Cameron Aguirre, who netted 42 yards on that drive alone. The possession eventually stalled but kicker Sam Satisky nailed a 35-yard fieldgoal to give Galesburg a 10-8 lead with thirty seconds left in the third period. “The snap was a little high but good,” said Satisky. “I was a little scared because I kicked it a bit high but I’m just happy it went through.”
“I’m very confident in Sam,” said Coach Blackwell of his kicker. “Sam is a good kicker. He’s hitting 50 yarders in practice. I knew he’d get it done. People forget he’s just 14 years old.”
That drive did two things; it burned the clock up and kept the Streak defense off the field. After another defensive stop, Galesburg again consumed the clock and scored a late touchdown (by DeVena again) and Galesburg improved their record to 3-5 in their 17-8 win over the Panthers.
“That drive put us ahead and built our confidence,” said Aguirre. “It got us rolling. Our running backs, we just run hard and play confident. Coach [Sean] Kane calls the plays and we’re solid.
DeVena? He’s my role model. We all look up to him. He’s helped me a lot since my sophomore year.”
DeVena finished the game with 147 yards rushing out of a wishbone offense, including 11
carries for 94 yards in the first half alone. “That’s all right,” said DeVena, “bit it wasn’t a hundred for the half. There’s room for improvement.” The Streaks senior also had three pass reception good for 69 yards and the two touchdowns.
“Hunter is everything to this team,” said Blackwell. “Middle linebacker. Running back. Tight end. Receiver. He’s everywhere except at quarterback.”
Streaks quarterback Tristan Legate struggled early (0 for 6 and an interception in the first half) but he connected with Alex Baughman on a big third and 10 conversion in the fourth quarter.
“I didn’t have a good game myself,” said Legate, “but we changed things up with DeVena and the wishbone we ran. Hunter, we can use him anywhere on the field.”
Asked if he would be back at the running back position next week against Rock Island Alleman, Hunter just smiled. “I hope so but that’s up to Coach Blackwell. He’ll put me where he needs me.”
“For games in the Western Big 6, you come out with a vengeance,” added the Streak senior.
“For the seniors, it was our last game here at Van Dyke. So it was a special game.”
It was so special, students from GHS stormed the field after the game and stayed celebrating the win despite please for the PA announcer to leave the field.
“Enjoy it, stay out there,” said Blackwell to his team from the sidelines. “Enjoy it.”
The Silver Streaks did just that. And it was good to see the passion from both the students and the players.