Pair of sophomores shine in Burlington Central's win over McHenry
Throughout the season, there will be times when a team receives significant contributions from unexpected sources, and Friday Burlington Central received a double dose of help.
Due to injuries, sophomore quarterback Landon Arnold and sophomore running back Henry Deering were up given an opportunity to help the Rockets in their Fox Valley Conference game against McHenry.
Both players stepped up in a big way in a 17-7 win.
With the Rockets offense was trying to find their groove in the first half, the sophomores played big roles in two fourth-quarter touchdowns that proved to be in the difference in the game.
While Deering ended the game with 75 yards on 20 carries, the most impactful yards came early in the fourth-quarter with a 10-yard touchdown run to give Central its first lead of the game at 10-7. Later in the fourth quarter, Arnold put the game away with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Ayden Roth.
"They (Arnold and Deering) didn't really know they were starting until this morning and they practiced with us all week, but they were pumped up, ready to go," Central coach Brian Iossi said. "I couldn't be more proud of them. They started in a tough spot and they came through."
With the changes on offense, it took some time to gel, but the passing game started to click, particularly in the second half.
"We got off to a slow start, but Landon is really talented and we were there for each other and fought through it. That's what this team is all about," said Rockets receiver L.J. Kerr.
Arnold finished with 136 yards on 13 of 21 passing with the touchdown, and would have thrown for well over 200 yards if not for several long gains called back by penalties. Kerr caught five passes for 80 yards and Brady Gilroy caught five passes for 38 yards.
The Rockets defense allowed one touchdown and limited the Warriors to a total of 128 yards. They knew defending McHenry's flex-bone offense was going to be a challenge.
"They keep the ball, so clock management is always tough, but we worked through reading the keys and we came out physical and fast and that was huge for us tonight," said Central defensive lineman Bryan McGladdery, who had a key pass deflection in the second half.
McHenry took the early lead and kept the advantage until the fourth quarter. On the Warriors' second drive of the game, they marched 16 plays, all runs, and running back Jacob Jones scored on a 3-yard run. Jones finished with 56 yards on 16 carries.
"Jacob is one of our best players, a great kid, works super hard and runs hard all the time, couldn't ask for more," said McHenry coach Jeff Schroeder.
While the Warriors are still seeking their first win, progress was made.
"We have made so much progress each week in the new offense and if we keep working hard, we'll get to where we want to be and there is no questioning our effort," Schroeder added.