Illinois High School Football News

NewsTribune football notebook: St. Bede taking what defense gives

Kewanee clogged up the middle of the field Friday, making it difficult for St. Bede to get its running game going.

So the Bruins turned to their passing game, throwing short routes to Tom Makransky and taking advantage of their size on the outside.

“The last two weeks the defenses were stacking inside and giving us flats and outside, and we have the personnel and ability to do that when teams are going to clog up the middle,” St. Bede coach Jim Eustice said. “We find a way to still be able to run the ball when we need to, but with seven, eight, nine guys in the box, it’s hard to do that.

“With this offense, we can attack anywhere on the field at anytime, and that’s what we’ve been doing, and we’ve been having a lot of success. [Quarterback] John [Brady] has a great command of what we’re trying to do, and our receivers have all stepped up. We have a bunch of guys catching the football.

“The offensive line has to clean some things up with their protection, but overall the offensive line played great too.”

Makransky caught nine passes for 47 yards with no receptions longer than 8 yards. He also caught a 2-point conversion.

“With the safety playing off about 10 to 15 yards, him getting the ball quick, getting upfield and getting 5 yards a pop, that helped get chunks down the field,” Brady said. “With seven in the box, it’s a struggle to run, but with them not splitting out that linebacker, it opened that hitch to hit that zone.”

With Ben Wallace, who is 6-foot-4, and Connor Brown, who is 6-0, the Bruins had an advantage on the outside, especially when matched with Kewanee’s TreLyon Amos, who is 5-8.

Wallace finished with eight receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns, including a catch for an 11-yard score over Amos as time expired in the first half. Brown caught two passes for 41 yards and added a 2-point conversion.

“Having that size out there, being able to throw it up to Connor Brown and Ben Wallace makes it a lot easier for me,” Brady said.

Big-play Princeton

Princeton has racked up 156 points this season – an average of 52 per game – and the Tigers are doing so with plenty of big plays.

The Tigers have scored 18 offensive touchdowns with an average distance of 36.7 yards per score.

Quarterback Teegan Davis, who has committed to Eastern Illinois University, has scored on runs of 85, 84 and 57 yards while throwing for TDs of 48 and 32 yards.

Augies Christiansen has a pair of 65-yard TD runs, while Brady Byers ran for a 51-yard TD in the opener, and C.J. Hickey rushed for a 40-yard score against Orion.

Even the defense has gotten in on the action with long touchdowns, as Byers returned an interception 30 yards for a score and Noah LaPorte had interception return TDs of 50 and 27 yards against Orion.

Isaac Smith doing it all for Mendota

With fewer than 30 players on the varsity roster, Mendota is relying on players to fill multiple roles.

Isaac Smith did that well in Friday’s 49-23 win over Bureau Valley.

Offensively, Smith ran three times for 51 yards and two touchdowns and also caught three passes for 25 yards.

On defense, Smith forced a fumble, recovered it and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown. He also intercepted a pass.

“He played well in each role he was put in,” Mendota coach Keegan Hill said. “With a smaller roster, Isaac playing in all three phases – like multiple players on our roster – is vital to our team performing to its top ability.”

Mac Resetich an electric returner

Princeton’s game plan entering Friday was to kick away from Hall senior Mac Resetich.

The Tigers did that, and even recovered short kicks that led to two touchdowns and a 14-0 lead less than two minutes into the game, but Resetich eventually got his hands on one.

The speedy senior, who was clocked at 4.24 seconds in the 40-yard dash over the summer, raced 82 yards for a kickoff return touchdown.

“We just did not want [Resetich] to touch it,” Princeton coach Ryan Pearson said. “We were just trying to kick it to the open spot and make sure Resetich did not touch it. That kid is electric and obviously showed why once he touched it.”

Resetich has returned a kickoff or punt for a touchdown in all three games this season with a kick return score in the opener at Orion and a punt return touchdown in Week 2 in a win over Monmouth-Roseville.

Bruins looking to be playoff eligible

St. Bede is in a rare spot in which the Bruins can become playoff eligible in Week 4.

The Bruins are 3-0 and would move to 4-0 with a win at Newman (2-1). They also have a forfeit win coming in Week 5 after Riverdale canceled its varsity season.

“We were able to get one from them last year, and I’m sure they’re going to remember that,” Eustice said. “We’re going to their place. It’s a heck of an opportunity for us to try to get to 4-0 going into a bye week, which would make us 5-0.”