Wright's 2-way play carries Aurora Christian
One couldn't blame members of the Lake Forest Academy Caxys if they couldn't get the sight of Aurora Christian's Jeremiah Wright out of their minds for a few days. The senior took over the game by air and ground to lead the Eagles to a 32-21 home victory Friday night.
Wright scored two touchdowns -- one on a 40-yard reception and another on a 43-yard run. He also had three sacks and an interception during a key drive while the game was close.
"We practiced all week on how to move around those huge guys they have on the line," Wright said. "We tried to give them different looks all the time. The guys on the team have a lot of heart. They hit hard, but we got up and went on to the next play."
Eagles coach Dave Beebe backed up Wright's feeling that the team's heart is what led them to victory.
"We went in at halftime feeling pretty good," Beebe said. "Then we come out in the third quarter and find ourselves down 21-20 after two quick scores. But this team has shown all year long that they play with a lot of heart. What I love about this team is it's not a bunch of hearts, it's one heart, and that's what makes a great team."
The night started out just as planned for Aurora Christian's high-powered offense, as they used a no-huddle precision passing game to score on their first drive concluding on a Drew Clippert's 26-yard pass to Brock Harner to put the Eagles up 6-0.
The night appeared to get even better for the Eagles when Gerald Marrero recovered a fumble to give them the ball on the Caxys' 28-yard line.
That's when things went a little off for the Eagles. Facing third-and-7, a bad snap sailed all the way to the 46-yard line to force the Eagles into a fourth-and-28. The Eagles attempted a short pass to try to spring their slot receiver, but Lake Forest intercepted the pass and returned it for a touchdown to give the Caxys a 7-6 lead.
After several possessions were exchanged, the Caxys began to drive late in the first quarter, picking up their first first down on their way to the Eagles 43-yard line. Sophomore Devan Cross intercepted the next pass to end the drive and give the ball back to Aurora Christian, and scored four plays later on a 2-yard pass from Clippert. Cross and Clippert connected again for the 2-point conversion to give the Eagles a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, the Eagles went up 20-7 when Wright took Clippert's screen 40 yards for the score.
After forcing a Lake Forest punt to start the second half, the Eagles advanced the ball down to the 9-yard line on three consecutive runs by Wright, who finished with 21 carries for 172 yards. But Lake Forest's Daniel Joseph intercepted a pass and returned it 91 yards the opposite direction to close the gap to 20-14.
A Lake Forest (0-2) interception on Aurora Christian's (3-0) next drive set them up on their own 49-yard line and Dom Haubner's 51-yard pass to Denzel Annan scored on their next play to give the Caxys a stunning 21-20 lead.
On Aurora Christian's next play of their next possession, Clippert threw his third interception in a row that gave the ball back to the Caxys on the Eagles' 30-yard line. The Caxys moved the ball to the Eagles' 19-yard line until Wright intercepted the next pass to give the Eagles back the ball on their own 10.
Clippert then completed five of his next six passes, including his second touchdown pass to Harner on a 54-yard completion to put the Eagles back into the lead 26-21.
Clippert said he just focused on the next play and not the last three plays.
"You just have to have a fresh start," Clippert said. "You have to forget the last play and move onto the next play. You have to play for your teammates and for Christ. I can't speak highly enough about my teammates for that."
Wright put the final dagger in the coffin on a 43-yard run with 3:45 left in the game to give the Eagles the win.
Beebe thought his quarterback also showed how to persevere through adversity.
"Drew didn't have his best night, but that kid is a warrior," Beebe said. "He came back and stayed in there and just showed a lot of heart tonight."