After coaching in the Suburban Christian Conference for several years, St. Edward head coach Mike Rolando knows a thing or two about facing powerful state champions and what makes those teams champions. The Green Wave faced defending Class 3A state champion Aurora Christian Friday night at Greg True Field in Elgin and they had a plan -- defend against the combination of Chad Beebe and Ryan McQuade. That duo combined for 4 touchdowns last week so St. Edward did all it could to stop the Eagle passing game and it worked -- kind of.
McQuade struggled throwing 4 interceptions this week but the Eagles showed what makes a champ as they changed gears and rushed for 4 TDs and gained 295 yards on the ground to pull away for a 42-10 victory.
"We wanted to force them out of their throwing game," said Rolando. "We figured they would come with the run after the four picks but they do that well too; they are a two-dimensional team. They have good running backs and big linemen. They have a great team all the way around. We tried to limit Chad Beebe from having a huge day but unfortunately their running game is just as strong and you can't take away both. My hats off to them, that's a state champion, a number one ranked team . "
Senior running back Brandon Mayes led the way for the rushing attack gaining 144 yards on just 6 carries. Eighty of those yards came on a long TD run that gave the Eagles the lead back at 14-7 with just 5:27 remaining in the first half.
"That was probably the play of the game," said Aurora Christian head coach Don Beebe. "He told me 'Coach, I'm not going down on this play'. He had a real extra attitude today and I could tell he was going to run really hard. Actually, I thought all of our running backs really ran hard."
Burlington Central transfer Joel Bouagnon added 57 yards on 7 carries, including a 3-yard TD and Ryan Suttle and Legend Smith both also scored rushing TDs for Aurora Christian (2-0).
St. Edward's leading offensive weapon, Davontae Elam, rushed for 55 yards and the lone Green Wave touchdown, a 12 yard run that tied the game at 7, but he left the game in the third quarter with an injury and did not return to the action.
"We had a tough time moving the ball with or without Davontae," said Rolando. "He got dinged on the elbow, nothing too serious, but we need him healthy."
With Elam out, most of the Green Wave offense came from junior quarterback Mikey Castoro. Castoro ran the ball 15 times for 47 yards and threw for 20 more yards.
"You have to hand it to the kid, he has a lot of heart," said Beebe of the St. Edward QB. "He made some big third down plays."
In the end, not enough plays to take out a state champion.