In a matchup that was lauded as a playoff preview, Friday's matchup at Greg True Field in Elgin lived up to the hype as IC Catholic Prep held off St. Edward 21-17 in a Suburban Christian Blue clash.
Things were looking good early for the Green Wave as they took the first drive of the game 60 yards and struck first with a 34-yard field goal by Joe French. However, IC threw a counter punch when Jordan Rowell took the ensuing kickoff 53 yards to the St. Edward 39 setting the stage for senior quarterback Jack Copher to connect with fellow senior Clark Brinkman for a 39-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the drive.
"We rep those (passing) plays hundreds of times," said Copher: who was 13 of 20 for 162 yards passing, 2 touchdowns and an interception.
It was obvious that the Knights spend a lot of time on their passing game. After an 11-yard touchdown run by Davante Elam that put the Wave back on top 10-7 in the first, the Knights went right back to throwing the ball down the field. After another big return for the Knights, this time by Brinkman, Copher hit three different receivers to gain a first down. That is when Copher put the only blemish on his otherwise outstanding game; a tipped ball that was pulled down by linebacker Will Bothwell.
"As soon as I got back to the sideline, coach told me to shake it off and go get 'em next time." Copher said of the interception.
The IC defense bailed out their quarterback on the possession following the turnover. After driving down to the Knights' 25, the Wave offense turned the ball over on downs. IC came out blazing, connecting on 4 of its next 5 passes for 49 yards. That is when, after nine straight pass plays on offense, the Knights went to the ground game for 31 yards over seven plays. The drive was capped off by Max Eichorn who struck pay dirt from a yard out.
After an IC fumble that the Wave could not capitalize on, the Knights punted back to the Wave giving them great field position at their own 43. That was when sophomore speedster Dwayne Allen took a beautifully designed draw play 57 yards for the go-ahead score.
"The blocking was set up perfectly; all I had to do was run it in." said Allen, diverting praise to his offensive linemen.
After each team punted the ball away to one another, the Knights found themselves down four with eight minutes left to go. The Knights drove 70 yards in less than three minutes on runs of 17, 14, 11 and 8 yards before Copher hooked up with Eichorn for a 4-yard touchdown pass.
St. Edward mounted an admirable rally but just came up inches short on a fourth-and-3 from the Knights' 38.
Elam Rushed for 256 hards on 35 carries with a touchdown and one fumble for the Wave.