By Race Archibald

Mattoon did not let the game slip away from them in the first half against Class 4A, No. 3 Effingham, but the Green Wave were unable to make a dent on the scoreboard, eventually losing 28-0 on Friday night.

Using a ground attack led by running back Jakai Johnson, Mattoon (1-1) was able to control the clock in the first quarter, keeping the Flaming Hearts offense on the sidelines.

Johnson had 22 carries in the first half, and 30 for the game, collecting 103 rushing yards.

When Effingham (3-0) did have the ball early in the game, Mattoon kept them in check, forcing two three-and-outs as well as intercepting a pass by Effingham quarterback Nathan Thompson.

But the state-ranked Flaming Hearts did not stay down for long, going on a 10-play, 80-yard drive late in the first quarter and that culminated in a 20-yard touchdown pass to receiver Parker Wolfe early in the second quarter for the first score of the game.

Wolfe had three catches for 64 yards on the drive.

Effingham scored again later on in the quarter, on an eight-yard touchdown run from Chase Woomer to extend their lead to 14-0 with just over five minutes left to play in the half.

In the first half, Woomer handled most of the carries, with nine attempts for 38 yards and a touchdown. In the second half, Trevor Donsbach handled the workload, including 10 straight carries on a 15-play, 52-yard scoring drive in the third quarter. Wide receiver Holden Lewis capped off that drive with a nine yard touchdown catch to take a 21-0 lead with only three seconds left in the quarter.

Woomer finished with 17 carries for 77 yards.

The Mattoon passing attack did not have much success. Quarterback Jackson Spurgeon completed only one of his five pass attempts in the first half, and finished with just 60 yards passing and two interceptions. 

In addition to some miscommunication between Spurgeon and his receivers, Effingham was able to pressure the backfield, sacking Spurgeon four times.

Mattoon had two opportunities where the defense secured a turnover and gave the offense a short field, but the Green Wave failed to secure even a first down on either possession.

Effingham capped the scoring on a 45-yard pass from Thompson to Lewis late in the fourth quarter to make it 28-0

Thompson completed 13 of 21 passing attempts for 160 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception.

The win was Effingham’s fourth win in a row over Mattoon.

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Second Quarter

E-Parker Wolfe 20 pass from Nathan Thompson (Beau Hefner kick) 11:17

E-Chase Woomer 8 run (Hefner kick) 5:33

Third Quarter

E-Holden Lewis 9 pass from Thompson (Hefner kick) :03

Fourth Quarter

E-Lewis 45 pass from Thompson (Hefner kick) 3:47

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing

E-Trevor Donsbach 17-77; Woomer 9-38, TD; Keegan Baker 4-31; Edgar Castillo 3-8

M-Jakai Johnson 30-103; Zach Shick 6-20.

Passing

E-Nathan Thompson 13-21 160, 3 TDs, 1 INT

M-Jackson Spurgeon 8-15 60, 1 INT

Receiving

E-Parker Wolfe 4-94, 1 TD; Holden Lewis 3-54, 2 TDs; Austin Herboth 1-3; Castillo 1-2; Tristin Duncan 1-0, Keegan Baker 2-14

M-Nate Eldridge 3-18; Dillon Burton 2-13; Matthew Gordon 2-8; Logan Blackburn 1-3