By Steve Robinson | September 5, 2021 - 10:50 pm
Posted in Category: NCHS, The Normalite

NORMAL – Being able to win a home game and do it in a stadium that had just received a new name helped make Normal Community High School’s first victory at the newly christened Dick Tharp Field all the sweeter after the Ironmen pounded Peoria Manual, 57-22, Friday night in their first Big 12 conference contest at the newly-named field.

Prior to the game, the field which had been known as Ironmen Field from when NCHS began playing here in the mid-1990s was renamed after the man who coached the Ironmen from 1966-1987 and racked up a 158-50-5 record. Now 90-years-old and aided by a walker to get around, Tharp was present for the ceremony as were family members, friends, and many of his former players.

What they and the fans at Dick Tharp Field saw was an Ironmen victory which began quickly courtesy of a 19-yard pass from senior quarterback Chase Mackey to senior wide receiver Kyle Thierry for the opening score, topping a 5 play 75-yard drive, wrapped up by junior kicker Ryan Millmore’s extra point to give the Ironmen a fast 7-0 lead.

The Rams’ first drive ended in Peoria Manual punting the ball back to NCHS (2-0) who promptly marched down field for their next score, a 2-yard touchdown run by senior running back Michael Coleman at the 6:20 mark in the quarter followed by Millmore’s extra point, putting NCHS up, 14-0.

Peoria’s next drive was interrupted by Ironmen senior linebacker Tye Niekamp, who picked off the third pass in the drive and ran into the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown followed by another Millmore extra point, increasing NCHS’ lead, 21-0.

Peoria Manual (0-2) scored on a 15-yard touchdown dash by Rams senior running back Tristen White, but with no extra point kicker, the Rams opted for a 2-point conversion play with White dashing through defenders to cut NCHS’ lead to 21-8 with 1:14 left in the quarter.

But NCHS closed out the quarter by scoring one more time on a 20-yard pass from Mackey to senior tight end Tyler Dwinal followed by another Millmore extra point to put NCHS up, 28-8, as the opening quarter came to an end.

An interception of a Peoria Manual pass by Ironmen senior defensive back Camden Maas put NCHS at its own 32-yard line. Seven plays later, Mackey would connect again with Dwinal, this time on a 28-yard touchdown pass at 7:04 until halftime followed by Millmore’s extra point, pushing the Ironmen lead to 35-8. A turnover by Manual gave NCHS a start at Manual’s 47 from where, four plays later, the Ironmen would end the drive in a 17-yard touchdown by junior running back Christopher Taylor with 3:31 until halftime, followed by Millmore’s extra point, resulting in NCHS’ 42-8 halftime lead.

NCHS got the ball to start the third quarter and scored quickly with Mackey scoring from a yard out to complete a short yardage drive followed by Millmore’s extra point increasing NCHS’ lead, 49-8 at 10:49 in the quarter. Once the scoring difference between the two teams reached 40 points, game officials employed an Illinois High School Association rule allowing for a continuously running clock, stopping it only for timeouts taken by a team or because of an injury.

Peoria Manual scored from four yards out thanks to sophomore quarterback London Toliver whose touchdown was followed by a failed 2-point try. But that touchdown cut NCHS’ lead to 49-15 as the game entered the fourth quarter.

Toliver would score a second time in the final quarter for the Rams from 8 yards out followed by another failed 2-point try. That cut NCHS’ lead to 49-22.

Ironmen sophomore Tommy Davis scored a short yardage touchdown to complete the scoring for NCHS with 2:22 left in the contest followed by a successful 2-point conversion by junior running back Steven Darnell capping the evening’s scoring.

“I felt like our kids made a lot of big plays,” NCHS Head Coach Jason Dregwitz said about the win. “I felt like they played with a lot of effort and energy. I felt

“We played an awfully good team,” was the admission Peoria Manual Head Coach Dan Fauser made after the game ended. “They just make plays and we’re a IHSA Class 3A school playing a 7A school. Our kids played hard, but we just have so many kids playing two ways.” He credited Toliver and White for their accomplishments on the night. They were excited about playing in front of Coach Tharp and the former alumni that were here. It was a special night and I thought our kids did a nice job.

“Give Manual credit because they kept playing and kept playing hard,” Dregwitz added. “A couple times after Peoria scored, we were able to score too.”

Fauser said, “We just have our work cut out for us because it’s just hard to beat kids this big.” Drengwitz was complementary of the effort Peoria Manual did throughout the contest, explaining, “Their kids did a great job staying the course and not hanging their heads and continued to play hard.”

This entry was posted on Sunday, September 5th, 2021 at 10:50 pm and is filed under NCHS, The Normalite. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments are closed.