By DOUG DONNELLY
ADDISON – Defending Division 8 state champion Reading left no doubt Saturday afternoon that they are a state championship contender once again as they rolled to a 51-6 win at Addison in a playoff tune-up.
The Rangers won the Big 8/Cascades Conference crossover championship game for the second straight season. It was their eighth straight victory and halted a seven-game win streak for Addison, who will go into the playoffs with a 7-2 record.
“There is a reason they are the defending state champions,” Addison coach Josh Lindeman said. “They are good football team.”
Reading covers all the bases. On offense they are big up front, skilled in the backfield and have a rock-solid defense that flies to the ball. Along the front line, Reading starts Izac Reynolds (6-0, 265), Nick Affholter (6-3, 307), Joshua Johnson (6-3, 256) and Sam Strine (5-10, 180). Affholter’s brother, Ben (6-2, 287) is a tight end who also carries the ball on occasion. Elijah Strine (5-9, 218) and Hunter Midtgard (6-1, 176) are the backs.
Reading hit the gas pedal early and never let up. The Rangers needed just four plays to cover 45 yards for its first score, then six plays to go 70 yards for its second. It’s third drive of the game started from its own 3-yard line, but they covered that in just six plays.
By halftime, Reading led 30-0 and led the offensive yardage battle 268-27. They second was more of the same, plus a defensive touchdown by David Bignell for the Rangers.
Addison’s Brendan Ford stopped the bleeding with an 81-yard touchdown late in the game for the home team.
“We were excited about the game,” Lindeman said. “Anytime you get to play a really great team, you are excited about the opportunity. I thought our kids played hard and the effort was there, its just sometimes you run into a dominant team that is just that good.”
Addison played without starting quarterback Frederick Bills, who went down with a knee injury last week. His status for the playoffs is unknown. Senior Matthew Boorman was the starting Panther signal-caller Saturday.
“He played a pretty good game, especially considering the elements and the team we faced,” Lindeman said.
The weather didn’t do either team any favors. Addison was forced to punt on its first drive and the Panther punter couldn’t get a grip on the ball, giving Reading a short field to start.
“We had some miscues in the weather that we haven’t had in other weather-type games,” Lindeman said. “A lot of that is because Reading is a great team. They were in the right spot and capitalized.
“We’ll watch film and learn from it whatever way we can because now we have to turn the page quickly, on a short week, get past it and prepare to play the next one.”