Welcome back, Chad Beebe.
Sidelined for the past 5 weeks with a broken arm, Beebe certainly made up for some lost time during Aurora Christian's 49-12 triumph over Raby (6-3) in Friday night's opening round of the Class 3A state football playoffs in Aurora.
The Northern Illinois University-bound wide receiver got the Eagles (9-1) going early, hauling in a 72-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan McQuade on their first play from scrimmage.
"Watching film, my dad (Eagles coach Don Beebe) knew they had their safety playing so far to the right that we had the play call to the left," said Chad Beebe. "I was wide-open to the go route."
"We broke him in early," said Don Beebe. "I know he was so amped up, I said, 'well, let's score on the first play.' I knew he was going to beat his man the way they were playing it. Man-to-man in the slot -- it's not good. Ryan threw a great ball to him."
Wearing a brace on his left arm, Beebe, who suffered the injury in Week 4 against Wheaton Academy, added touchdowns on his next 2 receptions covering 26 and 8 yards, respectively, as the Eagles grabbed a 21-0 lead with 4:13 left in the first quarter.
"It's been six weeks now, I think," said Beebe, who finished with 3 catches for 106 yards in his much anticipated return. "It feels like a long time ago but it's nice to be back, that's for sure. I was just trying to get back out here as fast as I could."
McQuade, who tossed a 21-yard TD pass to Cory Windle (3 catches, 53 yards) on the Eagles' next offensive series to make it 28-0, finished 7-of-10 for 153 yards with 4 TDs.
"Chad obviously had a great comeback game today," said McQuade. "It's good to have him back."
"The combination of him (Chad Beebe) and Cory (Windle) -- those are two all-state wideouts right there," said Don Beebe.
After Legend Smith forced a fumble that was recovered by teammate Jackson Carpenter on the ensuing kickoff, the Eagles tallied their fifth TD of the opening quarter on Brandon Mayes' 1-yard run.
Senior tailback-linebacker Joel Bouagnon (7 carries, 97 yards) scored the next 2 touchdowns for the Eagles on a 5-yard run and 28-yard interception return -- the first of his 2 picks.
Raby, making its second-ever postseason appearance, snapped the Eagles' shutout bid when quarterback Chris Covington (7-of-20, 214 yards, 2 TDs, 3 interceptions) connected with Maurice Earskines on a 36-yard TD pass with 3:29 left before halftime.
"The defense played well," said Don Beebe. "That quarterback (Covington) is a heck of an athlete and we really kind of neutralized that kid in the first half."
Ahead by 40-plus points, the entire second half was played with a running clock and wholesale substitutions.
"I liked the win, don't get me wrong," said Beebe. "But when you've got three quarters to chew off the clock, it's hard to do. I'm an offensive guy and you look at the second half -- we couldn't get anything going and it's frustrating.
"But it is what it is. Offensively, we played good when we had to and that's all that really matters to me."
The defending 3A state champion Eagles will face the winner of Saturday's Immaculate Conception-North Boone game in next weekend's second round.