IC Catholic Prep successfully began its Class 3A football title defense on Friday. Speaking of defense, Knights running back Lazerick Eatman ran right through Watseka's.
The senior running back scored 5 touchdowns in No. 5 seed ICCP's 55-6 win over No. 12 Watseka at Jack Lewis Stadium in Elmhurst. Eatman ran for 121 yards on 7 carries with touchdown runs of 60, 12 and 10 yards. He added touchdown catches of 16 and 56 yards.
On both the 60-yard run and the 56-yard pass, a dandy screen play, Eatman picked his way downfield as if in a live-action Frogger video game.
"The defense was being kind of aggressive and we've practiced that play a lot, me and my quarterback C.J. (West). So he kind of just waited and let the play develop, saw it open and got it to me, and I did the rest," said Eatman, who credited blockers Sean Hipskind and Khalil Saunders.
"I was just running up the sideline, I saw blue jerseys. So I just followed them and hopefully I got in the end zone," Eatman said.
He did, time and again. Still, coach Bill Krefft knows it's a team effort by the Knights (9-1), advancing to visit No. 4 Peotone, a 41-20 winner over Paxton-Buckley-Loda.
"With the offensive line (Kevin Akins, Kemon Reese, Ryan Kenneally, Dylan Packer, Ricky Mysliwiec) in there, West managing, taking the space that is given, it's kind of a combination of things," Krefft said. "Lazerick looks like he's the one getting the ball, but West is really taking the numbers and doing what we want in terms of getting Lazerick that matchup. And then Lazerick in that matchup is awesome. He's a different kind of football player."
Eatman showed it breaking his 60-yard run on the Knights' second play from scrimmage, and gave ICCP a 2-touchdown lead with his 12-yard run at 5:28 of the first quarter. Kicker Joey Maci'gerace was 7 of 8 on extra points overall.
Watseka (7-3) looked on to something when quarterback Brendan Fletcher either ran or passed for 6 first downs, first and goal at the ICCP 4-yard line to end the first quarter. On the next play cornerback Hipskind intercepted in the right flat and returned it 78 yards to set up Eatman's third touchdown run.
"Our whole goal is to get a shutout and score as many points as we can," Hipskind said. "So that was good that we stopped them there, big game change."
"They're well-coached, and the kid, he jumped (the pass)," said Fletcher, 17-of-25 passing for 188 yards. "Coach (Aaron Hilgendorf) said, 'You read it perfect, he just did whatever he needed to.' ... We executed fine, just great players, great players."
Hipskind also caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from West, who threw for 170 yards. ICCP led 42-0 at halftime, after which freshman Kyle Franklin added touchdown runs of 40 and 7 yards. Watseka's Justin McTaggart scored on a 2-yard run for the Warriors.