IC Catholic Prep made good things happen in a very brief time.
St. Joseph-Ogden ran 78 plays to the Knights' 18 and owned time of possession at 42 minutes, 54 seconds to IC's 5:06. Still, the unbeaten Knights won their Class 3A playoff opener 49-8 on Saturday at Lewis Stadium in Elmhurst.
"We've been scoring the whole year on quick possessions," said quarterback Luke Ricobene, who scored on a 79-yard option keeper and completed 5 passes for 187 yards with touchdowns of 36 and 77 yards.
"We don't really have big time of possession, we've got big plays," the junior said. "We've got Jordan (Rowell), Lazerick (Eatman) -- who played amazing today -- make big plays, so we don't have the ball too much."
In an extraordinary first half No. 1 seed IC Catholic (10-0) led 14-8 on a pair of 2-play series capped by Eatman's 36-yard catch and run and Khalil Saunders' 77-yard catch and dash.
No. 16 seed St. Joseph-Ogden (5-5), reaching the playoffs a 26th straight year under first-year coach Shawn Skinner, had a 17-play, first-quarter drive stall at IC's 13-yard line.
The Spartans scored their touchdown, a 1-yard Griffin Meeker blast, after a 16-play possession ended at IC's 5-yard line. Brant Hoveln's interception immediately regained possession and four plays later Meeker went in.
"They're explosive and we knew that," Skinner said. "We knew (ball control) was our one chance to keep it close, and then we needed to get some breaks -- and we did. Our defense made a great play to get us the ball back in the red zone."
Penalties and an inability to get off the field on defense plagued the Knights and aided St. Joe-Ogden's 1-2 punch of backs Dwight Colvin and Jack Fritz, who ran for a combined 163 yards.
Eatman made the troubles vanish. The Spartans attempted an onside kickoff to start the second half but were whistled for offsides. Eatman caught the next boot at his 26-yard line, raced from the left hash to the yardage numbers on the right, battled traffic and emerged for a 74-yard touchdown return.
"Our coach kind of gave us a pep talk," said Eatman, who closed the scoring on a 21-yard run. "I knew they was going to kick it to me by the penalty they had, and we were preparing for it all week so I was ready."
Rowell's conversion score for a 22-8 Knights lead was IC's first running play of the game. The floodgates opened after Matt Jordan recovered a dropped punt snap and Rowell followed with IC's first official run, a 1-yard-touchdown. Rowell added a 44-yard touchdown run for a 35-8 lead after three quarters.
IC Catholic will host its second-round game against No. 8 Paxton-Buckley-Loda, a 50-2 winner over Mercer County.
"I think resilience is a big part of being successful," said Knights coach Bill Krefft, "so sometimes it doesn't go exactly how you want early in the game. A mark of a good team is to be able to respond to that."