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Preds Defense Sets The Tone

Posted 5/23/2012

By Nick Gourdoux

Leader-Telegram staff

The Chippewa Valley ­Predators played opportunistic defense en route to their 26-7 win Saturday over the Fox Valley Force.

In a rematch of last season's ­conference championship game, the Predators recorded two ­interceptions, recovered two Force fumbles and forced two turnovers on downs at Carson Park .

Perhaps the biggest turnover came late in the second quarter, when the Force drove the ball deep into Predators territory to set up a first-and-goal situation.

Defensive lineman Brad ­Moldenhauer timed the snap right, pushed into the backfield and ­disrupted the quarterback as he took the ball.

"All it was, was just standing the center up and getting to the ­quarterback, and then the ball went loose," Moldenhauer said. "It's what we go for on defense — we try to get the ball back."

The Predators emerged from the ensuing scrum with the ball, keeping the score at 13-0 entering halftime.

Jason Lyons recorded the other fumble recovery on the first ­offensive snap for the Force. The turnover set up the first score of the game, a 22-yard run by Vince Furby.

Caleb Trowbridge intercepted Force quarterback Brandon Vigne's second pass attempt of the ­afternoon to set up Weston Kirby's 29-yard first-quarter field goal.

Kirby added an impressive 44-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

"It's all about keeping my head down," Kirby said. "I've been getting a little more work in and I've been shortening up my steps."

In the second half, the Predators forced one more turnover — a C.J. Okogeri interception in the fourth quarter — and limited the Force to just seven points.

Deshay Hudson broke open the game with a 50-yard run midway through the fourth quarter that expanded the Predators' lead to 19-7. Quarterback Keith Richardson found Reggis Houston deep over the middle for a 34-yard touchdown, clinching the game for the Predators.

The big win could have playoff implications down the road.

"We were talking that this is pretty much a playoff game, so it was important that we get this win," Kirby said. "Otherwise, we might have to travel when we get to the playoffs, and we don't want to be doing that."

Before the playoffs get started though, the Predators have some internal issues they need to work out.

Defensive back Cory Brown was ejected from the game, and the Predators committed a handful of personal fouls throughout the contest.

"We've got attitude problems," coach Martin Adams said to his team following the win. "If you want to ‘keep it real' I will release you to go to another team. I'm not proud of this victory at all. We're better than this."

The Predators committed six penalties for 55 yards, but had a handful of others declined.

The Predators have two weeks to work out any internal issues before they travel to Duluth , Minn. , to take on the Lake Superior Rage.

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