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|Galesburg Facing Similar Team in Ridgewood
|The Galesburg and Ridgewood High School football teams have some things in common as they prepare to square off Saturday afternoon at Van Dyke Field.
Both teams have 1-1 records, both finished last season with 5-4 marks and neither made the playoffs. The Rebels haven't made the playoffs since 2002, when they finished 5-5. Galesburg is also seeking its first playoff appearance since 2002 when the Streaks finished with a 5-5 record. Another similarity is both teams have shown improvement in the past three seasons.
Chris Zack is the head coach for Ridgewood. He's in his fourth year at the helm. Galesburg's head coach Wes Olson is in his fourth season as well. Zach is a former assistant coach at Argo High School in the Chicago area and Olson played at Monmouth College and served as an assistant coach at Streator under former Fighting Scots and Silver Streaks coach Kelly Kane.
Ridgewood lost its first game of the season 42-13 against Westchester St. Joseph (1-1) of the East Suburban Catholic Conference. The Rebels bounced back last week in their home opener to beat Maine East 22-6. Ridgewood was led offensively by senior running back T.J. Zornow with 143 yards on 26 carries. The Rebels put together two long drives in the game, one that went 19 plays and another 15-play drives, to chew up the clock and dominate the time of possession. Senior tight end Nanad Draca also had a nice game for Ridgewood with six receptions for 79 yards.
Galesburg is coming off a 34-31 home-opening loss against Peoria Richwoods (2-0) after beginning the season with a 32-27 win at Dunlap. The Silver Streaks ran for 243 yards and passed for another 77 against a usually stout Richwoods defense - scoring five touchdowns. But Galesburg failed to convert on three two-point attempts, and so far this season the team is 0-5 on such conversion attempts. Streaks kicker Lucas Miller split a pair of extra points in the second half and is now 3-for-5 on the season. The result was just one point after five touchdowns scored by GHS.
Junior quarterback Andrew Steck ran for two touchdowns and 86 yards against the Knights. Junior Robert Jackson had his breakout game - 11 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown. Aaron Meredith added a touchdown on the ground and Steck hit Drexler Blue for a 44-yard touchdown through the air.
The Streaks defense, after a solid first half, had some problems in the final two quarters and surrendered 429 yards against Richwoods, 298 of them on the ground. Galesburg is giving up 151 yards through the air after two games and 178 on the ground while the offense is averaging 235 rushing and 81 passing. Steck leads the rushing attack with 156 yards and four touchdowns. He's also thrown for 163 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Galesburg and Ridgewood have not met before on the gridiron. The Rebels won games last season against Kewanee (26-8), Main East (49-32), and Elmwood Park (32-0, 18-12) twice - three teams that did not win a game. Ridgewood also defeated Bensenville Fenton (23-16). The combined records of Ridgewood's opponents last year was 22 wins and 61 losses.
Saturday's game kicks off at 2:30. Pregame coverage with Mike Perry and Jim Lee begins at 2:06 on WGIL AM 1400.