IC Catholic Prep speeds past Stillman Valley

By Eric Bridges
Daily Herald Correspondent

STILLMAN VALLEY -- The football game didn't start out as smoothly as IC Catholic Prep coach Bill Krefft would have preferred, but the visiting Knights eventually came away with a 31-0 victory over Stillman Valley in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.

"I think their game plan was to slow down the game and use ball control to limit our possessions," Krefft said of Stillman Valley. "But we don't play like that, we play wide open. I don't think we started slow, they had one possession in the first quarter and didn't score and we had one possession and didn't score.

"The ball-control mindset to me is not real because it only works if you score. If you don't score, it really doesn't matter. We believe that you try to score every single play."

The Cardinals advanced the ball on their first possession of the game all of the way down to the Knights' 3-yard line, but the Cardinals fumbled the ball on second and goal and ICCP recovered. This was as close to the goal line the host Cardinals would get the rest of the game.

The game remained scoreless until Knights kicker Tom Sloan made a 23-yard field goal with just more than three minutes left in the first half. The Knights forced Stillman Valley (7-4) to punt on the ensuing possession and IC scored the first touchdown of the game to go up 11-0. Knights quarterback Khalil Saunders completed two straight passes to Khali Saunders to advance the ball to the Cardinals' 13, and then two plays later Saunders found Jacob Lytton for a 10-yard touchdown pass.

IC Catholic (11-0) started the second half with the ball and scored on the second play of the half to take an 18-0 lead. Sophomore Kyle Franklin broke several tackles and raced 70 yards for the touchdown.

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"I just followed the leads of my linemen, watch for open holes, and take the reads off of the linebackers," Franklin said. "The linebacker came down and I made a cut on him, and then it was just off to the races."

Krefft has two playmakers at running back and quarterback who he credited with providing the extra spark in the second half.

"Kyle (Franklin) and Khalil (Saunders) are just special in the backfield," Krefft said. "That's just a credit to the kids. They always seem to respond to me asking them to do something. They're both so explosive."

Junior Rashad Sbeih scored the Knights' final two touchdowns from 13 and 27 yards out, respectively.

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