Illinois High School Football News

Point Frenzy: Peotone recovers key onside kick in outscoring Streator 53-42

Blue Devils use 3rd-quarter recovery to pull away from Bulldogs

STREATOR – Peotone scored on every one of its first seven possessions and used a key recovery of an onside kick midway through the third quarter to earn a wild, 53-42 Illinois Central Eight Conference victory over Streator during homecoming Friday night at Doug Dieken Stadium.

The Blue Devils, after taking a 31-22 lead after the third of four touchdown runs by Dylan Sroka (20 carries, 191 yards), recovered the short kick at the Streator 46 and seven plays later made it a three-score game on a Chase Rivera scoring dash from the 3.

“I feel like the biggest play tonight was the onside kick we were able to recover after scoring in the third quarter,” Peotone coach Apostolos Tsiamas said. “That opened up things to a three-score game instead of two. That was a huge deal, because we couldn’t stop them, and they had trouble stopping us. I also thought stopping a couple of their two-point conversions early on ended up being a key as well.

“I’m never going to complain about getting wins, but we have a lot of things to work on defensively.”

Streator's Christian Benning advances upfield on a quarterback keeper Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, at Doug Dieken Stadium in Streator.

The Blue Devils rolled up 444 total yards (403 rushing on 55 carries), with Rivera adding 129 yards on 15 tries and Dawson Piper 82 on 18, to improve to 4-2 overall and 2-2 in league play.

“What we were able to do tonight on offense is what we are always trying to do,” Tsiamas said. “We want to wear down the opposing team’s defense and hopefully then affect their offense as well. That certainly wasn’t the case tonight on the second part.”

Peotone took the opening kickoff and 11 plays, 68 yards and 6 minutes, 13 seconds later, took a 7-0 lead on a plunge from the 1 by quarterback James Kuypers and a PAT boot by Chase Rivera.

Streator responded with a 13-play, 65-yard drive - picking up a trio of fourth-down conversions on the way, including Christian Benning’s scoring run from the 4 - Aneefy Ford adding a 2PT run to make it 8-7 at the 1:18 mark of the first.

The Blue Devils answered back with a 10-play, 65-yard march, ending with a TD run from the 4 by Dylan Sroka and 2PAT dash by Rivera with 8:08 remaining in the half. After recovering an onside kick at the Peotone 48, the Bulldogs used a quick six-play drive finished off by a run around the left end from the 4 by Ford . The 2PAT pass failed to leave the hosts trailing 15-14 with 5:46 left on the clock.

The visitors increased their lead with just 10 seconds left before halftime when a TD run from the 3 by Sroka finished a 10-play, 78-yard journey - Rivera’s 2PAT run making it 23-14 at halftime.

Peotone held a 219-119 advantage in total yards in the opening half.

“When we started this year, we hung our hat on the defensive side of the ball, and our defense isn’t there right now,” Streator coach Kyle Tutt said, his club now 2-4 and 1-3. “We’re working on it, but tonight was a tough one. We’re all still having fun playing football, we are getting better, but we just have to find a way to get over the hump.

“When you can get any kind of turnover in a game like this that is back and forth, that team is going to have the upper hand. Peotone recovering that onside kick was a key play, without a doubt. That’s a play that we have to make. We also had them backed up a couple times in fourth-down situations and let them complete some big plays to keep the drive going.

“I felt like the team that won tonight was going to be the first one to stop the other one from putting the ball in the end zone, but like I said, the onside kick there in the third was a game-changer.”

Streator opened the second half closing to within 23-22 on a 42-yard pass play from QB Christian Benning to Aneefy Ford. Benning finished with 61 yards rushing on 11 carries and 15 of 22 through the air for 241 and four TDs - all the scores to Ford, who ended with nine receptions for 188 yards and 39 yards on the ground including a TD.

The teams traded scores in the fourth quarter, as Peotone received a 53-yard TD run from Sroka and a 25-yard rumble from Rivera, while Benning and Ford hooked up for scoring passes of 33, 22 and 24.

Streator finished with 388 total yards, including 147 yards rushing.

Next week, Peotone hosts Coal City. Streator travels to take on Reed-Custer in Braidwood.