By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
MENDON, Ill. -- Unity-Payson coach Kevin Krietemeyer wanted his kids to imagine five roadblocks standing in their way after they started 0-4.
The Mustangs have smashed through the last two. Unity used two second-quarter touchdowns to beat Triopia 43-22 in a Western Illinois Valley Conference North Division matchup Friday night. After beating a struggling Jacksonville Routt team, Krietemeyer believes the win over the Trojans will provide a big boost.
"It's all about being focused each day and knowing what our goal is," Krietemeyer said. "It's one of those things where we beat Routt, but we knew they were down and were expected to win. Triopia, I have a lot of respect for what coach (Rich) Thompson does and that's the program we want to be."
Mustangs quarterback Brady Loos nearly doubled his season total for passing, finishing with 298 yards on 16 completions. Entering the second quarter, Unity (2-4, 2-2 WIVC) trailed 16-7.
Loos then tossed two touchdown passes of 24 yards to Scott Beck and of 14 yards to Alex Blickhan to put the Mustangs ahead 21-16 entering the half. Unity finished with 363 yards of total offense.
"I think it comes down to offensive line play," Krietemeyer said. "The line has played extremely well. This year we've had good days here and there, but this week was the best week of practice we had. We played the way we practiced."
Triopia (2-4, 2-2) finished with 318 yards rushing, but the Trojans never got going in the second half. Blickhan ran a 75-yard punt return back for a score to put Unity up 28-16. Loos then put the game out of reach, throwing a 4-yard touchdown to Clayton Thompson. The Mustangs' defense added a safety to put give them a 37-16 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Blickhan scored on a 17-yard run in the fourth.
Krietemeyer is thrilled with how his kids have handled the first two challenges and keep their playoff hopes alive.
"I get it from Nick Saban," Krietemeyer said. "We just tried to get better every week and find something positive. We want to get better and we've gotten better every week."