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St. Bede looks for consistency, match Ridgeview’s physicality

Over the last couple weeks, the No. 5-seeded St. Bede football team has kept its mistakes to a minimum.

As a result, the Bruins finished the regular season 7-2 and beat No. 14 Hope 30-19 in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs on Friday.

St. Bede (8-2) hopes to keep the trend going Saturday as it travels to Colfax to take on No. 13 Ridgeview/Lexington (6-4).

“We just have to keep playing our brand of football and not make mistakes,” St. Bede coach Jim Eustice said. “The last couple weeks, our mistakes have been limited. We’ve been able to pull away in the second half. As long a we can continue to do that and stay consistent, I think we’re going to have a real good shot.”

Ridgeview/Lexington advanced with a 34-6 victory over No. 4 Rushville Oct. 30.

With the Mustangs winning, the Bruins will travel an hour and a half to Colfax as opposed to about two hours, 40 minutes had Rushville won.

“That was a very long drive,” Eustice said. “Now it’s an hour and a half as opposed to over two and a half, which is certainly a positive for us, but Ridgeview is a good football team. The better team definitely won last Saturday.”

Before this season, Ridgeview-Lexington had not had a winning season since the co-op began in 2015.

Hall of Fame coach Hal Chiodo came out of retirement to coach the Mustangs. He has won more than 150 games in 32 seasons as a head coach, which included a three-year stint at Lexington in which the Minutemen went 26-10 and finished second in Class 1A in 1994.

Chiodo also won 85 games in 13 years at Morton and had head coaching stops at Coal City, West Chicago and Highland Park.

“They’re a very solid team,” Eustice said. “They don’t make a lot of mistakes. They have a very good run game. Their running backs run very, very hard. They play solid defense. You can tell they’re a well coached, disciplined team.”

The Mustangs run multiple formations on offense, including two tight ends with two wings along with some power-I and unbalanced formations.

Kaden Farrell has rushed for 1,616 yards and 15 touchdowns, including 235 yards and three TDs in the first round.

Logan Friedmansky has added 374 yards on the ground.

“[Farrell] is a hard runner. He’s their bread and butter,” Eustice said. “They have some good size up front. It’s going to be a battle.

“We just have to be solid like we have been all year. We have to do our assignments, we have to stay disciplined and we have to be physical. We have been able to match physicality all year long. We’re going to have to do it again this week.”

The Mustangs have used two quarterbacks this season. Alec Thomas has completed 17-of-31 passes for 454 yards and four touchdowns, while Carter Coffman is 21-of-51 for 394 yards and four TDs.

Ben Peacock has caught 12 passes for 375 yards and seven TDs.

Defensively, Eustice said the Mustangs use a 4-4 with a cover 3 look behind against spread teams.

“Their linebackers are big and physical,” Eustice said. “Their defensive ends are solid. The come up field pretty hard. We’ve seen this before. We’re going to keep doing what we do.”

St. Bede quarterback John Brady has competed 72-of-146 passes for 1,523 yards and 14 touchdowns to six interceptions, while running for 633 yards and five TDs.

Luke Story has been a welcome addition to the Bruin running game since returning from shoulder surgery in Week 8, rushing for 252 yards and five TDs on 34 carries.

Tyreke Fortney has been the Bruins’ big-play threat with 966 yards and 10 TDs on 37 receptions. He’s also run for five TDs.

“They are a very impressive team,” Chiodo said. “They have a great quarterback, a great wide receiver, big offensive and defensive lines and they are very well coached.

“We are not used to playing a team this big and this fast. We have to play the perfect game.”