Aurora Central Catholic's landmark season ended in St. Joseph on Saturday night.
In its first IHSA playoff game since 1997, No. 14 seed Aurora Central Catholic lost 42-23 to No. 3 seed St. Joseph-Ogden in a Class 3A playoff opener. "We just struggled to defend the pass, that was the big thing. We couldn't get off the field on third down and that was ultimately our demise," said Chargers coach Brian Casey.
"We turned the ball over twice offensively and they both led to scores. You can't do that in the postseason."
ACC (6-4) opened the scoring on a 37-yard Michael O'Donnell field goal on the Chargers' first possession, but St. Joseph-Ogden (9-1) answered by returning a fumble then scoring on a 20-yard touchdown pass. The Spartans went on to post a 21-3 halftime lead.
ACC again came out of the locker room strong, translating a Jordan Hendricks interception into points on quarterback Matt Schaefer's 1-yard touchdown run to pull within 21-10.
Once more, though, St. Joe scored consecutive touchdowns to lead 35-10 after three quarters.
The Chargers traded scores -- Jake McCarthy's 60-yard touchdown reception answered by another St. Joe score. ACC's Steven Amoni broke a long run of about 80 yards to complete the scoring.
"We took the next step this season, qualifying for the playoffs," Casey said. "Obviously we're not happy with the result, we didn't think we played as well as we could have tonight, but we're proud of our seniors. They helped our football program reach the next step, which was to qualify for the playoffs.
"We'll get back to the drawing board and with these juniors, sophomores and freshmen we'll find a way to get better and find a way to take the next step in 303 days."