Generals ambush Bucs in opener
Big crowd, strong special teams highlight memorable night
July 13, 2011 | 08:06 AMWilliams Bay — It was pandemonium Saturday at Williams Bay High School.
So much so that after the Lake Geneva Generals' season-opening 45-0 rout of the visiting Joliet, Ill., Buccaneers, the Generals doused coach Derek Diehl with a Gatorade bucket bath. According to Diehl, it even wrecked his cell phone. He has since purchased a new one.
But it was simply good fun all in the name of victory.
The Generals, an expansion franchise in the semi pro Mid-State Football League, improved to 1-0 overall.
The area's first semi-professional football team was able to do just about anything they wanted to against the lowly Buccaneers.
Diehl was proud of his team's effort in its first game.
"We were executing in every phase of the game," Diehl said. "And our return game was great. We prepared well all week. We had a packed house at the game, and the energy was contagious. It transferred onto the field. The guys were relaxed and played really well. It was a really good game plan."
In an interesting spectacle, which included a parachute fly-by that brought the game ball, Williams Bay Village President John Marra on the coin toss and a bouncy house for kids, the Generals gave the crowd of around 400 people, which Diehl said was a good size, something to cheer about.
And the Generals didn't wait long to put a giant hurt on the Buccaneers.
In the first quarter after stopping the Buccaneers on their first drive, the Generals' CerEllis Lockett reeled off a 43-yard punt return to set up Lake Geneva in Joliet territory. Lockett finished the game with five punt returns for 143 yards, a 28.6 average.
A couple plays into the drive, former Badger stud Trevor York scored the team's first touchdown on a one-yard run to take a 6-0 lead.
On the next Generals drive, Howard Scott punched it in from six yards out to give the boys a 13-0 advantage. The score was set up by a 44-yard pass from Anthony Scott to Demetrius Butler, who rumbled 38 yards after the catch.
In the second quarter, DaVonne Sims dove over the pile for a two-yard score, extending Lake Geneva's lead to 19-0. Later in the period, Butler and A. Scott hooked up again on a 57-yard touchdown. A failed two-point conversion made the score 25-0.
Just before the half, defensive end Justin Ankley, a two-time national champion at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, forced a fumble that Jason Wright recovered for the Generals. This set up a 56-yard bomb from Anthony Scott to Jake Schlegel, which increased the lopsided game to 31-0 by halftime.
"Our receivers are very good," Diehl said. "We're very blessed with talent at the position."
In the second half, Butler's counterpart, Ricardo Williams, got into the act. With one hand, he caught a 14-yard bullet from David Byerley for a score to make it 37-0 in the third quarter.
After all that offense, the defense was itching to get in the end zone after playing such a phenomenal game. So in the fourth quarter, outside linebacker Phil Palos jumped a route and intercepted the ball before scampering 35 yards for a touchdown.
For the game, the defense smothered the Buccaneers, sacking the quarterback seven times and registering seven tackles for losses. The Buccaneers finished with a mere -17 net yards of offense. Ankley ended up with six tackles (five for loss) and three sacks.
"Our team really is built on solid defense," Diehl said. "It's nice because it allows the offense to relax. We've posted three shutouts now in five total games."
On offense, Diehl said the Generals were able to play everyone and benefit from a two-headed monster at quarterback and a solid platoon at running back.
Anthony Scott lit it up passing, connecting on four of four passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns. Requize Rhodman led the rushing attack, picking up 83 yards in nine carries. Sims added 41 yards.
Butler finished with two catches for 103 yards. He took both to the house. Four of the team's five completed passes were touchdowns.
York added a 36-yard kickoff return. Also, former Williams Bay standout Daniel Kant-Hull notched three tackles and one and a half sacks. Shane Crawford added a sack and a tackle for the Generals.
Diehl was impressed with the local contingent of players.
"They were a factor throughout the game," he said. "Kant-Hull was a force. He contained well and did a nice job. T.J. Bakken (Badger grad) saw some time. And I was very impressed with York's poise. He looked like he had been there before. Crawford made some plays but also some key mistakes."
Lake Geneva's aggressive defense yielded 18 penalties for 105 yards.
The Generals now travel to Ameche Field Saturday for a tilt with the Northern Illinois Cowboys (0-1). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
The Cowboys fell, 14-12, in Week One to the Leyden Lions. Diehl acknowledged the Cowboys are a formidable opponent.
"They're tough," he said. "They have good athletes and a lot of speed. We stack up well, and I'm confident in my guys. We must fix our penalty issue."
Diehl also said the team is bringing in a new kicker this week who used to play at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. The Generals missed three extra points in Saturday night's win.