So what can anyone say about Mattoon’s 50-7 drubbing from unbeaten Mt. Zion on Friday night?
There’s the obvious. That the Green Wave struggled mightily to stop the Braves’ big, powerful running back, Sage David. The 6-foot-1, 225-pounder ran over, through and around Mattoon’s defensive line, sometimes carrying a few defenders into the secondary.
David rushed for 54 yards in the opening drive, including a 19-yard scoring run that made it 7-0 after the PAT.
David then ran for 40 more yards on Mt. Zion’s ensuing possession, a 10-play, 80-yard drive that made it 14-0.
David ran for 32 more yards on three successive plays the next time Mt. Zion took over, which helped the Braves score once again––this time on a 24-yard pass from Ashton Summers to Christian Keyhea, who was wide open after cutting over the middle into the end zone.
David ran for 169 of Mt Zion’s 301 yards on the ground.
There’s also the less obvious: That Mattoon might be younger, less experienced and a bit smaller than Mt Zion — which, of course, is no excuse, according to MHS coaches.
But there were some bright spots for Mattoon.
The Green Wave moved across midfield five times, but scored just once–– although they nearly scored on a fourth-day play near the goal-line during the final seconds of the first half. Jackson Spurgeon faked a hand-off, looked downfield and then sprinted right toward the end zone from the 4 yard-line before being shoved out of bounds at the 1.
Mattoon never stopped battling despite falling behind 36-0 at halftime. The Green Wave finally managed to score a few minutes into the fourth quarter when Spurgeon rolled left and tossed a 3-yard pass to junior Zachary Shick to make it 43-7 with 10:37 remaining in the game. Spurgeon, a sophomore, completed nine passes overall, six for first downs.
In addition, the Green Wave might have found another quality running back in Jakai Johnson, who displayed speed, quickness and strength in limited action. He rushed for 43 yards, which included a nifty 15-yard run up the middle.
Mattoon assistant coach Jarad Kimbro pointed out that his team kept playing hard physically regardless the score.
Mattoon, which next plays host to Taylorville at 7 p.m. on Sept. 27, drops to 1-3 overall, 1-2 in the Apollo Conference. Mt. Zion is 4-0, 2-0.