Hinsdale Central’s Matt Rafferty connects with Thomas Ives for 3 TDs in win over Downers North

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DOWNERS GROVE — When Hinsdale Central senior quarterback Matt Rafferty needed a third-down conversion or a big play, he didn’t have to think twice about what to do.

The plan was simple: Throw the ball to senior receiver Thomas Ives.

The plan worked quite well for the Red Devils (7-2, 5-1) as Ives caught nine passes for 138 yards and three touchdowns as they routed West Suburban Silver rival Downers North (3-6, 2-4) 34-18 in their regular season finale.

“Those two have been good all year for us,” Red Devils coach Dan Hartman said. “They make good, smart plays for us and deliver.”

Ives helped jump-start the offense in the second quarter by catching a 19-yard pass from Rafferty on a fade route. The 6-4 senior had no trouble reining in the catch to give the Devils a 13-6 lead with 1:11 left in the second quarter. He scored his second TD on a near-identical play in the third quarter for 12 yards to put the Red Devils up 27-6. He caught his third TD for 36 yards on a play-action fake by Rafferty to put the game out of reach for good.

“We spend a lot of time working on our routes,” Ives said. “We work on goal-line plays and getting efficient at them. Our offensive line has been really good all year at keeping plays alive for us and has been really consistent.”

Rafferty, who went 13-for-15 for 180 yards, credits the Red Devils’ chemistry and ability to make plays for their success, as well as their planning.

“Our scout team defense gives us a good look against Downers and they showed us some openings and we were able to take advantage of them,” Rafferty said.

Ives looks forward to the playoffs and thinks the competition they faced in the tough West Suburban Silver will be beneficial.

“Conference play really helped us out. There aren’t any easy wins out there and every team we faced was ready to play.”

  • Friday was the 80th matchup between Hinsdale Central and Downers North for the Old Oaken Bucket. The Red Devils’ win is their eighth in a row over the Trojans. The Devils lead the series 46-31-3.
  • Red Devils senior running back Juwan Edmond had another strong game with 20 carries for 115 yards and a pair of first-half touchdowns.
  • Trojans senior quarterback David Edwards was 14 of 24 for 168 yards with a TD and an interception in his final game before heading off to Wisconsin. He also had a 1-yard QB sneak for a touchdown in the third quarter.
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