For the second straight week, the Mattoon football team found itself within striking distance at the half of a perennial playoff opponent.
And for the second straight week, a few big plays by the opposition and a some untimely miscues led to a lopsided second half.
Behind a sensational night from sophomore receiver Brayden Trimble, Mt. Zion scored 28 straight points after an early Green Wave touchdown and cruised to a 42-21 victory Friday night. Mattoon scored first, taking advantage of a Kaden Junge interception just inside midfield.
Deaiden Arnold capped a 10-play, 46-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, and the Green Wave had an early 7-0 lead following Kaden Junge’s extra point.
The lead was short lived, as Makobi Adams hooked up for the first of four touchdown passes to Brayden Trimble to tie the game at the end of the first quarter.
Mattoon missed a second quarter field goal attempt and threw an interception inside the Mt. Zion 15 yard line to spoil any more scoring in the first half.
It appeared the game would go into half tied, but on third and long at the Mattoon 47-yard-line, the Braves went deep into the playbook for a hook and ladder as Grant Mcatee caught a pass across the middle of the field and flipped to Trimble who was running the opposite direction.
The Green Wave defense couldn’t react quickly enough and Trimble had his second touchdown reception of the evening. Mattoon coach Jared Kimbro note the athleticism of Trimble, but also admitted to a defensive lapse.
“We had a breakdown in the secondary, and that hurt, but I told the assistant coaches that was a well executed play and we need to put that in our playbook”, added Kimbro.
An Adams touchdown run to begin the second half, and a 4-yard touchdown pass to Mcatee gave Mt. Zion a 28-7 advantage.
The Green Wave did get a late third quarter score on a 9 yard hookup between Slater Trier and Owen Hawkins to cut the deficit to 28-14 at the end of the third quarter. But Mattoon would get no closer, as Adams and Trimble connected for two more scores for a 42-14 lead. Trier found Hawkins again late in the game on a 16 yard touchdown pass, capping the scoring for both teams.
Adams finished 19-of-27 passing for 384 yards and 5 touchdowns, while Trimble caught 13 of those passes for 317 yards and four touchdowns.
Taeriek Grace had a strong second half, finishing with 11 carries for 70 yards and earned praise from his coach.
“Taeriek ran hard and he’ll line up in the back field more next week,” Kimbro said. “He and Deaiden are a great tandem.”
Mattoon travels to Taylorville Friday for a 7 p.m. game.