With Jordan Rowell in attendance Friday night, Lazerick Eatman put on quite the first-half show.
Taking over as the feature back for IC Catholic Prep with Rowell now at Northern Illinois University, Eatman continued his stellar 2017 campaign with a 3-touchdown performance in a 56-13 victory over St. Edward in the Metro Suburban Blue opener.
The senior played only in the first half, rushing for 100 yards on 12 carries and had two additional scores called back because of penalties. His TDs came on runs of 1, 5 and 19 yards.
"I had some great runs, but they were all due to my offensive line," Eatman said. "They paved the way for me. Without them I wouldn't have had a good game."
Sean Hipskind hauled in a pair of touchdown passes, one from Khalil Saunders and the other from C.J. West, as the home team rattled off 50 unanswered points to overcome a 7-6 deficit at the end of the first quarter.
West also threw a 26-yard scoring strike to Khali Saunders. The senior played a couple of series at quarterback in the opening half and then took over under center early in the third when Khalil Saunders left with an injury.
"When someone goes down, you just have to do your job," said West, who was the backup QB last year before switching primarily to wide receiver this season. "Just try not to do too much out there. And as a team we are clicking right now. We are getting in a groove and hopefully we keep moving forward."
Dan Gibbons and Kyle Franklin added TD runs for the Knights (4-1, 1-0), who also received a dominant defensive effort. That unit forced four turnovers, interceptions by Hipskind and Steven Crady and fumble recoveries by Max Cook and Kemon Reese, and didn't allow a score.
"They didn't score on our first-string defense and our backup defense and our third-string defense," IC coach Bill Krefft said. "I can't say enough about guys like Khali Saunders and Kevin Cooke and Kemon Reese. And our defensive line is anchored by Jack Enright. A lot of those guys are playing both ways.
"We've had a lot of younger guys step up and our older guys of course are still the core."
The visiting Green Wave (3-2, 0-1) had taken the early lead on a 58-yard fumble return for a score by Nick Wright. The junior later added an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter after an earlier 90-yard return on which he was tackled at the 6.
"We hung tough in the first quarter," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "We had the lead after the first quarter. But we started with 21 kids and we had guys dropping like flies. We started with 21 and finished with 14. But the ones who were in till the end played as hard as they could. Those 21 are some of the toughest guys I've ever coached."