NEW LONDON — Friday night’s Class 8-Man playoff game between New London and English Valleys was supposed to be close. Key words ‘supposed to be.’ Instead of a knockdown drag out game between two one-loss teams, it was a New London runaway. The Tigers torched the Bears 50-19 to move on to the Round of 16 for the fourth year in-a-row.
Tiger quarterback Blaise Porter continued to make defenses look silly. Porter went off for 274 total yards and five touchdowns, making mincemeat of an English Valley defense that had given up just over 10 points per game in the month of October. He also scored once on defense, cashing in on one of his two interceptions.
“Blaise showed up tonight,” said New London head coach Mark McSorley. “He’s a gamer. He’s an athlete. He’s fast. He’s shifty, and he’s smart.”
New London dominated the first half. The Tigers led 21-6 after one quarter and 44-13 at halftime. The Tigers stretched that lead to 50-13 after three quarters.
Porter had 211 yards and four touchdowns on the ground, and also threw for 63 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
“Most of it was my blockers,” Porter said. “I just have to give them credit, because they opened lanes and holes, and it was easy for me to run through the holes.”
Boden Pickle ran for 50 yards and a score. Caydin Wahls led the team in receiving with a 47-yard touchdown catch.
The English Valleys offense, which had scored 30 or more points in seven of their eight games leading up to Friday night, was held to just three scores. It also fell victim to five New London take-aways.
“Our defensive line, we’re working hard,” said Carter Allen. “We were bull-rushing their back line and putting pressure on them so they couldn’t make a pass very well, and our linebackers were working hard on the outside to keep them contained.”
Allen and Dom Lopez each had a fumble recovery in the win. Porter finished the night with two interceptions, 80 interception return yards and a touchdown, and Torren Riley picked off one pass.
New London has now given up less than 20 points in each of its last four games, all of which have been victories. The Tigers will ride a five-game winning streak into the Round of 16.
The Tigers will face off with Janesville, who is ranked No. 10 in The Gazette poll, in the next round of the playoffs. That game will be played at Janesville, at 7 p.m., with the winner facing either No. 1 Don Bosco or Tripoli in the state quarterfinals.