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Daily Herald's 2016 Season Coverage
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updated: 11/26/2016 9:55 AM

The numbers don't lie: Rowell, ICCP roll to championship

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  • Video: IC Catholic wins 3A title

  • Members of the IC Catholic Prep football team celebrate their victory after their Illinois High School Association Class 3A championship game award ceremony. The Knights blanked the Cavaliers 43-0 to win this year's title.

    Members of the IC Catholic Prep football team celebrate their victory after their Illinois High School Association Class 3A championship game award ceremony. The Knights blanked the Cavaliers 43-0 to win this year's title.
    PhotoNews/Clark Brooks

  • IC Catholic Prep's Jordan Rowell carries the team's championship trophy after their Illinois High School Association Class 3A award ceremony. The Knights blanked the Cavaliers 43-0 to win this year's title.

    IC Catholic Prep's Jordan Rowell carries the team's championship trophy after their Illinois High School Association Class 3A award ceremony. The Knights blanked the Cavaliers 43-0 to win this year's title.
    PhotoNews/Clark Brooks

  • IC Catholic Prep's Jordan Rowell runs between Carlinville's Ryan Kleeman and Blake Richardson during first quarter play in their Illinois High School Association Class 3A championship game. The Knights blanked the Cavaliers 43-0 win this year's title.

    IC Catholic Prep's Jordan Rowell runs between Carlinville's Ryan Kleeman and Blake Richardson during first quarter play in their Illinois High School Association Class 3A championship game. The Knights blanked the Cavaliers 43-0 win this year's title.
    PhotoNews/Clark Brooks

 
 

CHAMPAIGN -- You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't deny Captain America his backpack -- or his place in history.

IC Catholic Prep senior running back Jordan Rowell and the Knights finished a dominant, 14-0 season with a 43-0 victory over Carlinville in the Class 3A football title game at Memorial Stadium.

IC Catholic ended 2016 scoring 721 points, third all-time, and allowed 94 total points after its eighth shutout.

Donning his shield-style Captain America backpack afterward, Rowell's 272 yards rushing snapped the prior 3A title-game record of 257 yards.

He scored on runs of 20, 14 and 78 yards and added a 22-yard touchdown catch from Luke Ricobene to share the 3A record of 4 touchdowns in a game with two others, including former Driscoll player and coach Mike "Buzz" Burzawa.

Rowell was thinking about his grandfather, Ray Magee, unable to attend.

"He's probably my biggest fan, my No. 1 fan," said Rowell, whose 6,030 varsity yards have him eighth in state history. "He couldn't make it because he has something wrong with his eye so he had to stay home. But I knew for a fact that every touchdown, every yard that I get for this game was going to be for him."

As it was for all of IC Nation, now 3-0 in title games after wins in 2002 and 2008.

"To work so hard for four years, to reach this opportunity, to have this moment, it's an awesome feeling," said offensive tackle and defensive end Jimmy Kenneally, who had a sack on Carlinville quarterback Adam Walton.

It was a team win after a fast start that had Carlinville (12-2) reeling, a defensive effort in which 2,000-yard tailback Jacob Dixon's 115 yards rushing meant little.

"They were definitely the hardest-hitting team we faced all year," Dixon said.

IC scored on its fourth play from scrimmage, Matt Sutton diving over the goal line for Ricobene's 37-yard touchdown pass. Sam Buffo executed a pooch kickoff and Sam Lytton recovered at the Cavaliers' 28-yard line. On the next play Ricobene threw to Lazerick Eatman for a touchdown. Buffo's kick gave the Knights a 15-0 lead exactly one minute into the game, before Carlinville ran a play.

Ricobene wore a knee brace after spraining his right medial collateral ligament in the last week at Monticello.

"It was awesome, because I was a little nervous going into the game, like whether I could do everything. But adrenalin kicked in and I didn't even think about it," said Ricobene, 9-of-17 passing for 142 yards.

Carlinville gained 4 first downs on its next possession, which Khalil Saunders ended on an interception. IC followed with an 11-play drive capped by Rowell's 20-yard touchdown run and led 29-0 at halftime when Rowell beat two defenders around left end.

A nine-time all-state track athlete, Rowell used a Ricky Mysliwiec kick-out block to score on his 22-yard reception. He ran through two tackles and stepped out of a third on his 78-yard touchdown run that began a running clock at 54 seconds of the third quarter.

"I think we kind of built off each other in this football game," said Knights coach Bill Krefft, who carried his son, William III, on his shoulders after the game. "I think once that we felt the momentum we really kind of just exploited it and kept going and going and feeding off one another like we have all year."

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