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If there was a recipe for Winnebago upsetting Aurora Christian Saturday night in the Class 3A quarterfinals, it probably included running the ball for over 300 yards and winning the turnover battle.
Well, the Indians ran for 319 yards and finished plus-2 on turnovers.
And they still lost by 35.
Aurora Christian (11-1) continued its march to a second straight Class 3A state championship, scoring the final 42 points of a 49-14 rout Saturday that sends the Eagles into the state semifinals at Sterling Newman Catholic (12-0). Eagles coach Don Beebe said he hoped for a kickoff between 3 and 6 p.m. next Saturday.
"It's a dream come true right now, let's get the state title," said running back Joel Bouagnon, a 6-foot-2, 224-pound senior transfer from Burlington Central who keyed Saturday's win on both sides of the ball.
Winnebago (9-3) played five defensive linemen and had its linebackers sitting on the run, but the Eagles still were able to move the ball at will, only stopping themselves with three first-half turnovers. Bouagnon ran for 212 yards and 4 touchdowns on just 13 carries, a 16.3 average.
"The line did its job blocking up front, the receivers blocked down field, everybody is doing their job," Bouagnon said.
The teams punted just once — a 3-yarder into the wind on the Indians' first possession.
Winnebago, which lost by a nearly identical 48-13 score to the Eagles in the same round last year, also moved the ball. Its two second-quarter touchdowns on a 1-yard run by Fred Mosby and a 7-yard touchdown reception on fourth down by Jacoby Posley put Winnebago up 14-7 with just 56.6 seconds left in the first half.
The Eagles, with just 1 timeout, drove 80 yards keyed by Bouagnon's 51-yard run on a third-down draw, then Cory Windle's 20-yard reception on third down that gave the Eagles 1st-and-goal with just 3.4 seconds left before halftime. Bouagnon went off left tackle for the tying 2-yard touchdown run on the last play of the half.
"That was very important to get it back to level at halftime," Bouagnon said. "Game-changing drive right there."
For the first time in his 9 years, Beebe went to a no-huddle offense in the second half. Bouagnon's 27-yard run put the Eagles ahead for good, 21-14, then they immediately got the ball back on Bouagnon's interception and scored again on Ryan McQuade's 21-yard touchdown pass to Windle.
In a span of 3:32 the Eagles had put 21 unanswered points on the board to turn a 14-7 deficit into a 28-14 lead.
"I felt like this could be a game where we need to change the pace, and what did it do, it changed the whole pace of the game," said Beebe who credited his assistant Jeremiah Chaney for 'drawing three plays up in the dirt at halftime' that all worked for big gains. "It took them out of their rhythm."
Brandon Mayes added 44- and 15-yard touchdown runs in the fourth quarter. "It was just our attitude we needed to pick up," said Mayes. "They came out there with an attitude and we needed to match it."
McQuade completed 12 of 19 passes for 202 yards and both of his interceptions came on tipped balls.
There was a scary moment for the Eagles when sophomore Matt Tarran left in an ambulance. Beebe said afterward he was told Tarran, who wasn't playing in the game, had a stroke on the sideline.