If there were any doubt Evergreen Park was the class of the South Suburban Red, it was dispelled Friday night by a dominant performance against Reavis.
Sean Ryan completed 10-of-15 passes for 335 yards and five touchdowns to lead Evergreen Park to a 50-13 win in Burbank.
Jacquet McClendon hauled in four of those scoring passes, covering 17, 58, 34 and 89 yards. McClendon finished with five catches for 240 yards, having his way against an overmatched Rams secondary.
The win wrapped up an undefeated regular season for the Mustangs (9-0, 6-0) — their first since the 1994 season — and the Red Division title.
“I think back to the summer,” McClendon said. “We worked hard during summer camp. This is part of the payoff, winning conference.”
The Mustangs, though, have bigger fish to fry. After advancing to the Class 4A quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, the past two seasons, they’re intent on taking it a step further this season.
“We achieved one of our lofty goals by winning conference,” Evergreen Park running back Keyshawn Carpenter said. “We weren’t going to allow anything to deny us of that. Now we want to win a state championship.”
If the Mustangs can continue to perform like they did Friday, they could achieve that goal.
Carpenter rushed for 177 yards, though he carried the ball just eight times. One of those carries was a remarkable 36-yard touchdown run in which he eluded at least four defenders on his way to the end zone.
The game was tied at 7 after Reavis quarterback Jose Romero burst in from a yard out with 2:59 left in the first quarter.
The Mustangs then went on to score 40 unanswered points — 34 before the first half ended.
When Ryan hooked up with Kerron Brown on a 9-yard touchdown pass on the first series of the second half, the lead swelled to 47-7, bringing on a running clock the rest of the way.
“Sean threw some great passes,” McClendon said. “We couldn’t have done anything without our offensive line.”
That O-line of Brennan Quick, Dave Ziebarth, Frank Meisl, Nick Knieps and Joe Piet provided plenty of time for Ryan to find a target and space for Carpenter to do his thing.
The Mustangs defense registered five interceptions on the night. Mike Rizzo had two picks, while Isaac Matthews, LaShon Johnson and Tim Walsh all had one.
“It feels good,” Evergreen Park coach Dan Hartman said of the conference championship. “I was happy with the way we came out. They tied the game but we stayed focused and kept our composure.”
Reavis running back Travis Liszewski rushed for 115 yards on 24 carries.
Isiah Alpuche had an 11-yard TD run for the Rams, who finished 5-4 and will find out Saturday if they have enough playoff points to earn an invitation to the postseason. It’s the first time Reavis has finished above .500 in the regular season since 2007.