Four Downs: News and notes from Week 10 in high school football

Brother Rice’s defense steps up, Public League struggles, DuKane dominance and a record-setting game in Rock Island.

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Brother Rice’s Aaron Vaughn (5) cuts a run upfield as the Crusaders play Wheaton-Warrenville South.

Brother Rice’s Aaron Vaughn (5) cuts a run upfield as the Crusaders play Wheaton-Warrenville South.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

The playoffs opened with a bang, at least for everyone that was at Brother Rice on Saturday. Khary Shaw saved the Crusaders’ season by breaking up Wheaton Warrenville South’s two-point conversion attempt with 46 seconds to play.

Quarterback Jack Lausch and Brother Rice’s offense was limited by the Tigers. Lausch had his least accurate game of the season, but was still a force on the ground and Aaron Vaughn ran well.

It should concern the rest of Class 7A that the Crusaders were able to gut out a relatively low-scoring 27-26 win. It was the first time all season that Brother Rice scored fewer than 40 points.

“This shows the offense can have an off day and we can still win,” Shaw said. “The defense is here to prove a point. We’re going to do that the next four games.”

Next up for Brother Rice is a trip to Yorkville for the second round.

Big numbers

It wasn’t a misprint in Saturday’s paper. Springfield really did beat Rock Island 94-72 in a Class 6A playoff game.

Here’s a look at the stats, which were compiled by Drake Lansman of the Dispatch Argus in Rock Island.

The teams combined for 1,269 yards and 24 touchdowns.

The previous record for points in a Class 6A playoff game was 72, set by Joliet Catholic in 2005. Rock Island scored that and lost the game.

The 166 points scored by Springfield and Rock Island is the most scored in a playoff game in any class. Springfield’s 14 touchdowns was also a record in any class, as was the combined total offense and Springfield’s total of 724 yards.

According to Lansman, the teams combined for 63 first downs, 139 offensive plays and just three punts. It must have been a complete nightmare compiling all these numbers on the sideline.

Senators quarterback Rashad Rochelle, a Rutgers recruit, threw for three touchdowns and rushed for six. Rock Island running back Quonterrion Brooks rushed for 300 yards and five touchdowns. He also had a kick return touchdown.

Springfield will host undefeated Lemont in the second round.

Public League struggles

Teams from Chicago Public Schools went 3-21 in the first round. Phillips, Morgan Park and Clark were the only teams to win. But a lot of the losses were lopsided.

The Public League had a record 24 teams qualify for the state playoffs, but the number of first-round losses was not a surprise. The pandemic hit Public League football hard, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if no teams survived the first round.

Next week’s second round won’t be any easier for the surviving Public League teams.

Morgan Park will be a heavy underdog against undefeated Kankakee in Class 5A. Phillips has to travel to Kewanee in Class 4A, and Clark faces a touch challenge at Reed-Custer in 3A.

DuKane pride

The DuKane conference is looking good after the first week of the playoffs. Batavia, Wheaton North, Glenbard North and Geneva all won first round games. The Vikings traveled down to Collinsville and picked up a victory.

Wheaton Warrenville South was the only team that lost, and that was the heartbreaker at Brother Rice.

Batavia, which won the conference, will be at Mount Carmel in the second round on Friday. That should be the best game of the week.

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