MONROE — Prairie City-Monroe football coach Greg Bonnett ended Thursday night’s practice congratulating senior lineman Seth Greiner on winning homecoming king.
Even though Greiner wasn’t officially announced king at that moment, Bonnett and several of the Mustang players knew it was coming.
“The joke was started by Gabe Steenhoek,” Bonnett said. “He congratulated Seth at practice last night so I broke the huddle by congratulating him, too. Seth’s the golden boy. He’s got a heart of gold, is very cheerful and is like a giant, happy elf.”
Greiner was named homecoming king later Thursday night. He didn’t spend much time on the football field Friday night as Class 2A No. 9 PCM got to its reserves early and often during a 53-7 win over Saydel during Class 2A District 8 play.
The Mustangs christened their new turf field and stadium with a dominating win against an undermanned Eagles squad who only had around 25 players in uniform.
“The No. 1 thing we wanted to do was to stay focused enough to stay healthy,” Bonnett said. “We had some injuries after this game last year so we wanted to make sure we got out of this game healthy this year.”
Greiner was one of those players who suffered an injury in the Saydel game last season. He finished Friday’s game injury-free after playing only a handful of series. PCM led 41-0 at halftime.
The second half was played with a continuous clock.
“It feels good to be playing at home again. I am glad we got another win,” Greiner said.
Greiner was one of those backups who played in blowouts at the varsity level as a freshman. He was a running back that season but has since grown into one of the top linemen in 2A.
“I was in an awkward phase during my sophomore year because I wasn’t big enough to play offensive line yet,” Greiner said. “The weight room became my second home.”
Greiner earned all-state honors as a defensive linemen during the Mustangs’ run at the state title last season. Now, he’s back for one final season and hopes to take PCM back to the postseason.
And the Mustangs are a much improved team since falling 14-7 to West Marshall in Week 2.
Greiner admitted the loss was motivating.
“I don’t think we had that killer mentality during that game against West Marshall,” Greiner said. “I am not sure we all hustled on that final play. After that, we worked harder and the coaches pushed us more. It woke the team up a little bit. We want to get back to where we were last year.”
Ten different Mustangs had at least one carry in the game against Saydel. PCM (5-1 overall, 2-0 in district play) gained 259 rushing yards and averaged six yards per carry on the night.
The PCM starters got four offensive drives and scored on three of them.
The Mustangs drove 45 yards on seven plays and junior Sage Burns opened the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 with 7:39 to play in the first quarter.
After its only punt in the first half, PCM junior Caleb Duinink jumped on a Saydel fumble on the punt return to get the ball back just outside the red zone.
Two plays later, it was 14-0 as freshman August Stock hooked up with junior Jacob Van Winkle for a 19-yard touchdown.
The next two PCM drives both ended in one play. Junior Connor Bennett’s 28-yard TD run made it 21-0 and then sophomore Aidan Anderson’s 62-yard touchdown sprint improved the margin to 28-0. It was Anderson’s only carry of the game. He also had an 11-yard reception in the first half.
“If we got up by 21 points early in the game, we were going to put in our JV,” Bonnett said. “And then if they played well we wanted to eventually get to our curtain-raiser squad. That’s what our plan was and every single kid on our roster got a chance to play tonight. That was exciting to be able to do that on our first game on the new field.”
The regulars didn’t play the rest of the game for the Mustangs. And that gave the PCM coaching staff and the large crowd a great look at backup quarterback Carson VandeLune. And he was 7-of-10 through the air with a pair of touchdowns.
Both of VandeLune’s TD passes went to sophomore Jacob Eslinger. The first one was a 12-yarder that ended a seven-play, 49-yard drive and made it 35-0.
VandeLune, a sophomore, added a 7-yard rushing TD with 39 seconds to play until halftime that put the Mustangs up 41-0 at the break.
“I was excited for everyone to see VandeLune play quarterback,” Bonnett said. “He didn’t get his chance to be the starter when we made a change at that position, but we know he’s a good QB and a playmaker. I am excited for him.”
The first points of the second half came on a 41-yard TD pass from VandeLune to Eslinger. The blocked PAT put the score at 47-0. Eslinger led all PCM receivers with four catches for 61 yards and two TDs.
The final TD drive of the game covered 48 yards in 10 plays. VandeLune made 53-0 with a 1-yard TD plunge on fourth down.
Saydel (0-6, 0-2) finished with 100 total yards in the loss. The Eagles got 55 of those yards on one play late in the game. Garrett Shinn got loose against the Mustangs’ third-team defense with a 55-yard TD run to put Saydel on the board.
Saydel 0-0-0-7 — 7
PCM 21-20-6-6 — 53
PCM — Burns 1-yd run (Tristan Doehne kick)
PCM — Van Winkle 19-yd pass from Stock (Doehne kick)
PCM — Bennett 28-yd run (Doehne kick)
PCM — Aidan Anderson 62-yd run (Doehne kick)
PCM — Eslinger 12-yd pass from VandeLune (Tyler Kuecker kick)
PCM — VandeLune 7-yd run (kick failed)
PCM — Eslinger 41-yd pass from VandeLune (kick blocked)
PCM — VandeLune 1-yd run (run failed)
Saydel — Shinn 55-yd run (Austin Pyles kick)