Waterloo won its first football game since 2017, and it took late into Friday night to seal the victory thanks to Mother Nature. In the end, it was worth the wait.
In a show of solidarity, Waterloo and Herrin players walked onto the turf field together at Waterloo High School prior to the game, carrying the Illinois State Police, Thin Blue Line and American flags in honor of fallen ISP Trooper Nick Hopkins, a Waterloo native and former WHS athlete who was killed in the line of duty last week.
Members of Trooper Hopkins’ SWAT team unit were recognized prior to the game.
The Bulldogs wasted no time trying to shake off last year’s winless season, taking the opening kickoff 80 yards before Tyson Roedl ran it in from five yards out for a quick 6-0 lead.
An interception by Waterloo’s Brody Stephens gave the ‘Dogs possession again and Will Gilbert ripped off a long run. Roedl kicked a field goal to put Waterloo up 9-0 with two minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Following a fumble recovery by Cole Glowacki, Gilbert ran it in for the score and Waterloo was up 16-0 with 10:13 remaining in the first half.
However, lightning and heavy rain led to a weather delay at 7:35 of the second quarter. Play did not resume until about 10:15 p.m., and Waterloo went into halftime up 16-0.
Herrin battled back in the second half, scoring on an 80-yard pass to open the third quarter and converting the two-point try to make it 16-8. Herrin scored again but missed the two-point conversion, and Waterloo’s lead was trimmed to 16-14 lead with 5:22 left in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs answered with a long drive of their own to close out the third quarter, with Gilbert scoring from one yard out to make it 22-14.
A bad snap on Herrin’s fourth down play gave Waterloo the ball on Herrin’s 11 yard line, and the Bulldogs capitalized to extend their lead to 29-14 midway through the final quarter.
Waterloo tacked on a late score to pull away in a 36-14 win.
Roedl led the way for the ‘Dogs, rushing for 187 yards on the night. Gilbert added 112 yards rushing. In his first varsity start at the position, Waterloo quarterback Jake Wade threw for a touchdown and an interception.
In addition to the interception by Stephens and fumble recovery by Glowacki, Jack McFarlane recorded an interception for the Bulldogs. Waterloo hosts Columbia next Friday.