Aurora Christian shuts out top-seeded Princeville
"Defense wins games" is a well-known sports cliché but it was true Saturday night in Aurora Christian's Class 1A second-round win over top-seeded Princeville.
Going into the game, the undefeated Princes averaged 40 points a game and gave up only 5.
The ninth-seeded Eagles turned the tables on Princeville, shutting them out 41-0.
Aurora will host defending 1A state champion Lena-Winslow next weekend in a quarterfinal game.
The Eagles limited Princeville to 115 total yards and intercepted two Matthew Butterfield passes, returning one for a touchdown.
"You never come into a game and expect an outcome like this," said Aurora Christian coach David Beebe. "Princeville is an incredible football program. We had some breaks go our way. I thought that our defensive line's performance was impeccable. I can recognize when something is special and this was special. When you can control the game with your defense, outcomes like this can happen."
"We were going harder than usual because we knew that it was going to be the seniors' last season. We went all out for them," said Eagles linebacker Jack Certa, who had a sack and an interception.
Aurora Christian held a 7-0 lead late in the first half thanks to a 1-yard Jovanny Corral plunge in the first quarter.
On third-and-8 from Princeville's 17-yard line, Butterfield dropped back and threw his second pass of the night. Freshman cornerback Josh Dornick picked it off at the 20-yard line and returned it for a score.
"The pick-six by Josh Dornick was probably the play of the game. Anytime you score on defense, it's a huge play," Beebe said. "It was touch and go and 7-0, now it's 14-0. That was an enormous play."
"We had a good first half. We gave a pick-six so it should have been 7-0 first half. Things didn't go our way in the second half," Princeville coach Jon Carruthers said. "We had some injuries. The big injury that kind of hurt us was to Adam Snedden, our all-state running back. We had to move people around. That kind of got us out of position.
"But don't take away anything from Aurora Christian. They are a very good ballclub. We knew that going in. They are fast and physical. I tip my hat to them."
The Eagles (8-3) did not start pulling away from Princeville (10-1) until late in the third quarter. Trey Madsen put his team up 21-0 with a 48-yard catch and run pass from quarterback Ethan Hampton with 4:54 left in the frame.
Hampton, a sophomore, completed 20 of 32 passes for 292 yards. One of his favorite targets was Caleb Beebe, who had 9 receptions for 148 yards.
Aurora Christian widened the margin to 28-0 on its next drive when Kyrin Perry crossed the goal line on a 2-yard run.
Perry's most impressive gain was the play before the score when he bounced off the right side of the line and ran 66 yards down the sideline. The senior ground out 159 yards on 20 carries.
The Eagles scored twice in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard Hampton keeper and a 1-yard run by senior Julian Jaimes.