Story and photos by Dominic Baima
A wild fourth quarter made for an exciting finish for Mattoon, which earned a 20-14 victory over Effingham on Friday.
Mattoon started out strong behind senior quarterback Jackson Spurgeon, who connected with senior Derrius White to score a touchdown less than three minutes into the game, giving a Mattoon 6-0 lead. The duo had connected for an 81-yard touchdown pass late in the Green Wave’s 12-9 victory over Taylorville last week.
White haul in seven passes overall for 144 yards.
Junior TJ Owens later recovered an Effingham fumble that set up junior Taeriek Grace’s scoring run that gave Mattoon a 12-0 edge in the opening quarter.
Grace gained 95 yards overall on 12 carries, a 7.9 average per carry. Mattoon rush for 179 yards overall an 413 total yards.
Effingham got on the board with a late second-quarter push, scoring with 7.4 seconds left in the half.
Mattoon returned to the field and quickly interrupted Effingham’s drive when White picked off a pass and ran it in for his second touchdown of the evening with 10:31 left in the third quarter.
Senior Kobe Cardwell picked up an interception three minutes later, seeing up another a drive that later stalled after the Green Wave fumbled away the ball on Effingham’s 11-yard line.
A wild fourth quarter kept the crowd on its toes. Sophomore Slater Trier picked off an Effingham pass; Effingham responded with its own interception on the next play. Cardwell didn’t let Effingham hold onto the ball for long when he picked off yet another a pass, his second interception of the night.
Mattoon drove the ball to the 3-yard line before fumbling to Effingham.
After Effingham failed to convert a fourth down, Mattoon took control. The came yet another turnover: Mattoon fumbled away the ball one more time.
Effingham subsequently scored on a 79-yard run that narrowed Mattoon’s lead to 20-14.
Effingham then recovered an onside kick, but could not score.
RUSHING: Grace 12-95, Spurgeon 16-57, Cline 6-27.
RECEIVING: White 7-144, Gordon 2-57, Cline 1-19, Baker 1-8, Trier 1-4.
PASSING: Spurgeon 13-21 234 hards, 1 INT, 1 TD
Stats provided by WMCI 101.3, where you can listen to every Mattoon High football game this season.