After two straight weeks of his team giving up big plays and twice allowing 49 points, first-year St. Charles East coach Brice Farquhar needed his defense to step up Friday night in Elgin.
And they did.
The defense held the host Maroons to 41 yards of total offense Friday night, picked off three passes and recovered two of seven forced fumbles to power the Saints to a 40-0 victory in an Upstate Eight River opener at Memorial Field.
“We made a few defensive adjustments,” said Farquhar, who recorded his first varsity coaching win. “We have been giving up a lot of big plays and we wanted to limit that.”
Playing in steady rain, a sparse crowd saw the Saints’ defense take control from the opening whistle. Elgin quarterback Terrance Miller-Allen could not handle a bad snap that gave possession to the Saints (1-2, 1-0) at the Elgin 31.
Four plays later, junior quarterback Aiden Wright tossed a perfect 11-yard fade pass to Nick Candre into the left corner of the end zone for a score for a quick 7-0 lead.
Two Candre field goals, a 42-yarder and a 34-yarder, closed out a first half with East ahead 13-0.
Elgin could only muster three first downs and four total yards in the half. The Maroons (0-3, 0-1) lost their 15th straight game.
“We didn’t take care of the ball,” second-year Elgin coach Kyle Rohde said. “We didn’t adjust well to the conditions. We have got to clean up some things.”
One of the adjustments East made was to move Aiden Wright to quarterback and Kyle Cook to the defensive backfield.
Wright responded with a big game in his first start. The junior completed his first six passes and finished with three touchdowns, completing 12-of-22 for 147 yards and an interception. His 4-yard touchdown run with 8:53 left closed out the scoring at 40-0. Cook recorded a second-half interception.
“It felt good at the beginning “ said Wright, who threw a touchdown pass last week in a loss to Jacobs. “I felt good early. We got into a good rhythm on that first series, slowed down a little after that and then started to play well again.”
The Saints’ offense broke the game open in the second half. A 15-yard TD pass from Wright to Morgan Flanigan to start the second half jumped the lead to 20-0. After an Elgin turnover deep in its end, Ramon Lopez broke three tackles for a 12-yard TD late in the third quarter and a 27-0 lead.
The Saints finished with 303 yards of offense.
“The offense did a nice job, Wright did a nice job in these conditions,” Farquhar said. “I am proud of the defense, too. We performed well.”