The Gorillas defeated the defending 9AA state champion Wolsey-Wessington Warbirds 40-36 to remain unbeaten on the 2016 season. The game went down to the wire and featured several great plays between two good football teams. The Warbirds jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter before Gregory answered with a 10 yard touchdown pass from Andy McCance to Jayd VanDerWerff. The Gorillas converted their two-point play on a pass from McCance to Jon Bakke and the Gorillas pulled within six at 14-8. After exchanging touchdowns, Wolsey took a 22-16 lead into halftime. The Gorillas outscored the Warbirds in the second half 24-8 with the winning touchdown coming with 3:27 remaining in the game. The touchdown came on a fourth down play where McCance flipped the ball to JJ Beck while in the process of being tackled. Beck followed his linemen 38 yards for the touchdown. The Gorilla defense then held strong against an extremely good Wolsey offense and turned the ball over on downs. Gregory picked up a first down on a third and two pass play to VanDerWerff and was able to run out the clock for a big victory.
On the evening McCance set a school record with 433 yards passing in a game. He also broke Jaden Bartling’s career yards passing mark with 2,579 and tied his own record of 22 pass attempts in a game. McCance’s receivers made several great catches and the offensive line gave him enough time to make plays. VanDerWerff caught 9 passes for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns. Robert Vomacka and Joseph Veskrna continued their excellent seasons with Vomacka hauling in 7 passes for 107 yards and Veskrna adding 5 receptions for 142 yards.
Defensively, VanDerWerff totaled 14 tackles and made a critical fumble recovery on the Gorilla’s own 5 yard line to stop a long Wolsey drive. Triv Vosika added 13 tackles, Vomacka 12, and Beck and Tyler Murray added 11 each. Defensive back Caleb Stukel had a strong game covering talented Warbirds receivers and finished with 10 tackles.
Gregory will face another tough game on Friday against the 3-1 Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central Blackhawks. The Blackhawks have played in the Dome for a state championship in each of the last two seasons. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:00 PM at Mike Dacy Field.
Players of the Week:
22/34 passing; 433 yards; 3 touchdowns
5 receptions, 142 yards
14 tackles; 1 fumble recovery