Musketeers Win Season Finale, Advance to State Playoffs


Brian Magee, Staff Writer

The Red Bud Musketeers finished the 2022 football season in thrilling fashion with a two-point win over the Wood River Oilers Friday night in Red Bud. The evening began with introductions of the Senior Athletes and their parents in recognition of Senior Night and all the work and sacrifice by the athletes and their families throughout the years of competition. Many athletes from the fall sports season were acknowledged and applauded for a job well done.

The Musketeers kicked off to Wood River, who took possession deep in their own territory. On the second play from scrimmage, the Oilers’ quarterback was unable to handle a bad snap that was picked up by Red Bud defensive back Chase Lucht who returned the ball 19 yards for a touchdown. Kicker Lane Brockmeyer was good for the PAT to give the Musketeers an early lead. Wood River took the ensuing kickoff and set up their offense again around their 30. In a moment of déja Vous, the Oilers fumbled the second snap which was recovered by defensive end Josh Nieglowski giving Red Bud a chance for another quick score. The Musketeers were unable to take advantage of the turnover and the score remained 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.

The second score for the Musketeers came on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Thomas Friess to wide receiver Owen Liefer halfway through the second quarter making the score 14-0. Wood River put together a drive late in the frame that moved into Musketeer territory giving the Oilers a first and goal at the 6-yard line. The Red Bud defense held strong, stopping the Oilers on a fourth-and-goal and preserving the lead. Red Bud took over on downs at their own four and went for the big play with a long pass down the sidelines but Friess’s pass fell just out of reach of his receiver’s reach. On third down an Oiler defensive back stepped in front of the intended Musketeer receiver for a quick-pick-6 putting the Oilers on the board and making the score at the half 14-6. Friess was 6 for 10 passing on the night with 1 TD and 1 interception.

During the half, the senior players took time to acknowledge the faculty and staff in the district as they came off the field by running through a gauntlet of teachers and offering a high five as thanks for their support. 

The Oiler’s defense was able to adjust to Red Bud’s offense to hold the Musketeers scoreless in the second half. Wood River closed the gap in the score when they blocked a Red Bud punt and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown making the score 14-12 to end the third quarter. The Wood River offense turned up the heat with their running game during the fourth quarter but the Musketeer defense was up to the challenge. After a sustained drive put the Oilers in scoring position, Musketeer defensive back Evan Dressel intercepted a pass near the goal line to deny Wood River the lead. The Musketeers took over inside their own ten-yard line and had to move the ball out to hold the lead. When Musketeer stalwarts Nick Gantner and Lucas Schwartzkopf were stopped for losses, Friess took matters into his own hands rushing for a 15-yard gain on a third and long, getting a key first down. Wood River had a final chance late in the game to score but the Red Bud defense, led by Gantner and Devin Hall with 24 tackles between them slammed the door. Red Bud took over on downs and sealed the win 14-12. It was a real nail-biter.

The Boys will play this Saturday at home against the Nashville Hornets in the first round of the IHSA playoffs. They will need to bring their “A-game” in every respect at this level. They have done a good job of keeping penalties and mistakes to a minimum and Friday’s game proved how important extra points are. The Hornets bring a strong, disciplined team that matches up well with Red Bud. This will be an epic battle of two Titans of Southern Illinois Prep football that you won’t want to miss. Gates open at 11:30, and kick-off is at 1:00. Come out and support your team