In his first year as a head football coach at Aurora Central Catholic, Brian Casey was a little reluctant to run a double handoff.
Now in his third year, Casey and the Chargers have made the play a staple. The double handoff worked all throughout the second half as the Chargers used it frequently to spoil St. Edward's homecoming with a 25-7 Suburban Christian crossover victory at Greg True Field in Elgin Friday night.
"We've had a lot of success with it," Casey said. "It's a staple for us. In my first year, we'd run it maybe once a game. We'd be worry if we were going to fumble. This year we've run it 38 times and haven't fumbled the ball once."
The Chargers (4-1) ran for 96 second-half yards against St. Edward (1-4). But it was the final 3 minutes, 25 seconds of the first half when ACC really took control of the game.
Quarterback Matt Rahn completed his only 2 passes of the game on completions of 38 and 33 yards to Jack McCarthy and Matt Nass, respectively setting up a first-and-goal on the 6-yard line. Rahn punched the ball in from a yard out 3 plays later to give the Chargers a 10-7 lead with 3:25 remaining.
On the Green Wave's next offensive play, Cody Ekstrom grabbed a pitch out of the air from quarterback Mikey Castoro to running back Davonte Elam.
Things worsened for St. Edward when after holding ACC to a missed 40-yard field goal attempt from Mike O'Donnell, it was whistled for a roughing the kicker call. ACC took the ball at the 11-yard line and Steven Amoni (21 rushes, 85 yards) scored on the next play. A missed extra point left St. Edward trailing 16-7 at the half.
"We found every way possible to give them the game," said Green Wave coach Mike Rolando, whose team will now need to win out to make the playoffs. "We flat out found every way possible to give them the ball. We practiced the double handoff all week long. We played assignment football and we blew our assignments."
Of St. Edward's 8 possessions, 3 ended in a lost fumble, 1 interception, a turnover on downs and 2 punts. Elam scored a touchdown from 2 yards out with 5:31 left in the second half for the only positive ending drive of the night for St. Edward.
Before fullback Will Bothwell (5 rushes, 65 yards) had some big runs in the fourth quarter, St. Edward did not have a run over 9 yards.
ACC held the Green Wave to just 81 total yards in the first half. The Chargers finished the game with 161 yards on the ground, led by 4 runs of at least 10 yards in the second half from the double handoff.
"All we are about is executing," Rahn said. "We're about perfection. In the second half, we made adjustments. We changed up the timing of the steps with me and the running backs."