CHAMPAIGN — Jared Reese rushed for 139 yards and three touchdowns as Deer Creek-Mackinaw rolled past Maroa-Forsyth 35-7 in the Class 2A state football title game on Friday.
Reese scored from 2 yards out twice and again from 1 yard away as the Chiefs (13-1) led the entire game.
“Jared is a very good football player, I think one of the best in the state of Illinois,” coach Job Linboom said. “He made plays today, on both sides of that ball. And I was very proud of the way our guys played a very good Maroa team.”
Reese, who also plays linebacker, made four tackles and one may have been the biggest of the game. With Maroa-Forsyth facing fourth-and-2 from the Chiefs’ 4 to begin the fourth quarter, Reese stepped into a gap and stopped the Trojans Deondre Gregory for no gain. Deer Creek led 21-7 at the time.
“We had some opportunities, we just couldn’t get it in the end zone and that’s on me,” said Maroa coach Josh Jostes, who doubles as the offensive coordinator. “If we can punch that in the end zone there, it’s a different ball game.”
The Chiefs jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter before the Trojans made a first down, one on a Reese score and one on a Derrick Baker to Alex Kerner 4-yard passing play.
“Scoring early gave us some momentum that we carried the rest of the game,” Reese said. “Everyone, I think, felt comfortable as soon as we took the lead.”
Linboom said his team is especially tough with the lead.
“We grind. We wear people down,” he said. “We had a punt return that we muffed but our defense makes a stop and gets us the ball right back. We have done the all season.”
Jaxson Nelson ran for 107 yards and made 14 tackles for the Trojans (12-2).