Aurora Christian defeats St. Joe's
Needing a win to keep its state playoff hopes alive, Aurora Christian's football team picked an opportune time to play a complete game Friday night.
Senior quarterback Drew Clippert threw for 339 yards and 5 touchdowns while Trey Madsen and Kyrin Perry each returned interceptions for scores during the Eagles' 50-20 victory over St. Joseph (3-6) in Aurora.
Now, the Eagles will await Saturday's IHSA playoff pairings show to learn if they're in the postseason for the first time since 2014.
"We're at 40 (playoff points) right now," said Eagles coach David Beebe. "That looks pretty good. I know that our tiebreaker after that is strong as well. I'm so proud of these kids."
Clippert connected with Madsen (6 catches, 127 yards) for a 76-yard pass play on the Eagles' first play from scrimmage to set up his 3-yard TD toss to Devan Cross for a 7-0 lead.
After Madsen booted a 39-yard field goal to extend the lead to 10-0, the versatile junior returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown and a 17-0 advantage.
Perry capped the night's scoring with his 37-yard interception return for a TD with 9:48 remaining.
"Two pick 6s -- it sure helps, doesn't it," said Beebe. "You'd have to go back to 2014 for the last time we that happen against St. Ignatius."
Cross and Madsen each added second-quarter touchdown receptions as the Eagles built a 36-7 halftime bulge.
Danny Russell (20 carries, 87 yards; 6 catches, 121 yards) also scored a pair of touchdowns as Aurora Christian earned its all-important fifth win and a fairly firm hold on a postseason berth.
"We're not happy just to get in, we've got to keep going," said Beebe. "We've got a lot of work to do but we're battle tested. We've got our tails kicked a few times. This is a resilient bunch.
"It brings me great joy to see these kids succeed because of what they've been through not just this year but the last few years."
Defensively, Cristian Cervantes recorded 2 of the Eagles' 7 sacks.