IC Catholic routs Riverside-Brookfield
In response to its back-to-back state championships, the IC Catholic Prep football team has been moved up to Class 4A this fall.
But if the regular season is any indication, the Knights are more then up for that postseason challenge.
Scoring seven times in their first 21 plays on Friday night, ICCP put an exclamation point on a dominating nine-week run with a 49-0 victory over Riverside-Brookfield in Elmhurst.
Winners of 21 straight dating back to last season, the Knights (9-0, 6-0) brought on a running clock for the eighth time in nine contests while capturing the outright Metro Suburban Blue title.
"We came out strong and played physical football from the jump," said senior quarterback Khalil Saunders, who rushed for 107 yards on 2 carries and completed 4 of 4 passes for 65 yards in limited duty. "That's a credit to all of the athletes we have.
"All week we were focused on making sure that this game meant a lot to us -- it was for the (outright) conference championship and to help our seed in the playoffs. And we wanted to send a message for the playoffs that we are ready."
ICCP opened the scoring just over two minutes in on a 2-yard run by Kyle Franklin, who later scored on a 9-yard gallop. The sophomore totaled 134 yards on 8 attempts.
Saunders had an 80-yard TD run while throwing a 3-yard touchdown to Ryan Malek. Rashad Sbeih found the end zone on a 74-yard scamper while taking a screen pass from Tommy Ryan 70 yards for a score. Steven Crady also found paydirt on his only carry, an 80-yard sprint around left end.
All seven touchdowns came in the first 18 minutes.
"It's just the fight that the guys have on this team," said senior Jacob Lytton, who caught 3 passes for 54 yards. "Just going hard in practice every day and not taking plays off in the games. And our coaching staff does a great job. They are a big part of it.
"Our freshmen year we lost to Bishop Mac in the semis and we look at that and don't want that feeling again. We don't like losing, as you can tell."
All in all, the Knights tallied 408 rushing yards -- in the first half.
They will head into the postseason as a top seed, having outscored their opposition 402-67. In fact, only one team has been within 34 points of ICCP.
"Last year people were talking about wanting to see us in 4A and see if we could compete," IC coach Bill Krefft said. "So I guess it's about time we got our chance to go compete in 4A and we are excited.
"We've been spoiled to have these kids for four years. Here we are playing a 6A school and we are able to get all the kids in. In the old days we had to scratch and claw just to find a way to compete with these teams."