YORKVILLE – Every time DeKalb gained momentum, a big play went the other way.
The Barbs weren’t able to move the football consistently on offense and were hurt by turnovers and penalties as they missed an opportunity to earn playoff eligibility for the first time in three seasons with a 14-7 loss to Yorkville on Friday night.
“We just really couldn’t get going,” DeKalb coach Matt Weckler said. “We didn’t block very well, we couldn’t get our footing and that neutralized our speed.”
Both defenses dominated from the opening kick as DeKalb (4-4, 1-3 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) turned the ball over on downs and then punted after three plays on its first two possessions.
Yorkville (5-3, 2-2) scored late in the first quarter on a 1-yard plunge by Kyle Abney to take a 7-0 lead.
After the Yorkville score, the Barbs responded with an 11-play drive capped by a Jack Sauter 4-yard touchdown run to knot it at 7.
But the Foxes came right back and went up 14-7 with a 15-yard touchdown run, taking a seven-point lead into halftime.
That was all the scoring for the night as neither offense could sustain a long drive in the second half. DeKalb punted on its first possession of the second half, going three and out, then fumbled after two first downs had put the Barbs into Yorkville territory for only the third time all game.
“Our coaches did a great job of gameplanning and getting us in the right spots,” Yorkville coach Karl Hoinkes said. “The defense won this ballgame for us.”
Still trailing by seven late in the fourth quarter, DeKalb took over after a Yorkville missed field goal, gaining consecutive first downs before a bad snap resulted in another fumble.
Yorkville tried to run out the clock, but DeKalb’s defense forced a fumble that the Barbs recovered at their own 26. Sauter found Brown for 16 yards and then completed a pass to Tate for another 18 yards, crossing midfield. But on third down, Yorkville picked off a pass with 36 seconds left, icing the win.
The Barbs will host Rochelle next week with their playoff hopes on the line.
“The biggest thing is they have to put this behind them,” Weckler said. “They have to go into Rochelle game with confidence.”