With the wind blowing steadily from the west goal post to the east, passing the ball didn't appear like it was going to be an option. Then again, not many teams have the passing attack of the Aurora Christian Eagles. Lead by five first-half touchdown passes by Ryan McQuade, the Eagles defeated Suburban Christian Conference rival Walther Lutheran 56-0.
"Coach told us all week that we need to just play as hard as we can, and whatever happens, happens," McQuade said. "We had a good game and it was a good victory. Obviously, it's harder to throw into the wind, but the shorter stuff was there all night, so we took advantage of it. Everyone really played an all-around great game tonight."
Eagles head coach Don Beebe learned many years ago that the wind doesn't always have to alter your passing attack if you have sound technique.
"If you throw a really tight spiral, the wind won't affect it," Beebe said. "If you get a little wobble on it, then it affects it and amplifies it. I learned that from Drew Bledsoe. Drew Bledsoe three threw one of the tightest spirals, and I was talking to him one day and he said that if he threw a tight spiral, it wouldn't affect his ball. I saw him throw into 30 mph gusts and it never affected his ball. So you can see tonight with Ryan, that because he throws good tight spirals, the wind didn't really affect it. As a matter of fact, we were overthrowing guys into the wind."
McQuade and the Eagles wasted no time, scoring their first touchdown when the senior quarterback found Chad Beebe for a 4-yard touchdown pass on their first possession. The Eagles scored less than five minutes later on their next possession when McQuade hit Ryan Suttle from 25 yards out.
Meanwhile, the Eagles defense remained solid, forcing the Broncos into back-to-back three and outs. Beebe admitted that while he is happy with the offense, he might just be more excited to see how well his defense performs throughout the season.
"We knew all summer that our defense was going to be pretty good," Beebe said. "I think this might be the best defense we've had since I've been here. We have 11 guys who can play and I really like our defense. I'm really excited to see how they're going to play as this season goes. They have moxy about them, which I think is critical. They love to hit and they love to run, and they want to be the one who gets the tackle, so I'm excited."
McQuade threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Cory Windle and the first play of their third possession. The Eagles great field position was set up due to a net punt of 15 yards due to the wind. The Eagles made it 28-0 when McQuade threw a 16-yard pass to Suttle, and then made it 35-0 11 seconds later when MJ Zepeda intercepted a pass and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown. And with just under a minute left in the first half, McQuade found Beebe again for an 11-yard touchdown pass.
Joel Bouagnon added a 2-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and Legend Smith scored from 1 yard out late in the fourth quarter for the Eagles final tally.
"We really worked hard this past week," Beebe said. "I challenged Ryan (McQuade) to watch a ton more film. I'm a firm believer that if you have a slight hesitation as to what's going on, mistakes are going to happen. I thought he really threw some nice balls tonight and got into a good rhythm and really had a nice game for us tonight."
Perhaps the Broncos most exciting play came on the game's final play, when Najee Toomer lined up as the quarterback due to an injury to starter Joe Lomnicki. With time expired, Toomer ran all the way to the left sideline, but found no room to run. Toomer then darted in and out of his blockers and would-be tacklers to the far right sideline, but still had no where to go. So the senior running back darted up the middle, made a few swift cuts to avoid an aggressive, pursuing defense, and headed up the left sideline before finally being brought down and finishing with a 42-yard gain.