Interviews & photos by Chet Piotrowski
Charleston sophomore receiver Luke Bonnstetter caught two long touchdowns Friday night, the second with 34 seconds left on a broken play.
But it was not enough to prevent Charleston from losing its 10th straight game to host Effingham, 31-13.
The 13 points are the second most scored against the Hearts since 2013. The Trojans last beat Effingham in consecutive routs – 46-7 in 2012 and 40-14 in 2011 during its Final Four run.
CHS falls to 0-3 overall, 0-2 in the conference while Effingham improves to 1-2, 1-1.
Bonstetter, a quarterback for the undefeated JV team, found himself on the other end of passes Friday night, hauling in six for 99 yards – including TDs of 40 and 27 yards, the latter coming with 34 seconds remaining in the game.
Bonnstetter had noticed a flaw in the Effingham defense right before the first score near the start of the second quarter, which enabled CHS to close within 13-7.
“I told Brett (Spour) that I had the guy beat if I ran a fade,” Bonnstetter told his quarterback in the huddle. “I beat him (the DB). Brett put it there perfectly. And touchdown.”
The second TD came after Effingham was penalized for roughing Spour in the backfield. Spour then evaded several defenders on the ensuing play to connect with Bonnstetter.
“It was mostly a broken play,” Spour said. “The pocket collapsed. Luke ran a good route, came back and got open.”
Effingham controlled the lines of scrimmage Friday night, compiling 212 yards on the ground and allowing CHS only 10 yards rushing – in addition to harassing Spour for most of the night.
Despite that, the junior quarterback was able to complete 18 of 22 passes for 176 yards.
Luke Nelson caught eight passes for 63 yards.
“They bring seven or eight (defenders) all the time,” CHS coach Jerry Payne said. “That’s why our passes were more effective tonight.”
Effingham’s Caden Walls had caught a short pass, followed some blockers and raced 49 yards for a TD with 9:47 left in the game, which essentially put the game away at 28-7.
CHS then turned over the ball for the first time with 5:32 left to give Effingham the ball at their 45-yard-line, which led to a 44-yard field goal from Armando Estrada – a new school record – to make it 31-7.
Charleston ran off clock on a drive to start the third quarter, buoyed by several third-down conversions, but stalled near Effingham’s 30-yard-line.
The Hearts, subsequently, assembled a long drive of their own to move inside the 20-yard line before Nelson intercepted a pass near the 12-yard in the final minute of the third quarter.
Effingham had dominated the first half to take a 21-7 lead.
Hearts quarterback Tanner Pontious threw for two touchdowns and ran in for another score from 6 yards at the end of the second half to make it 19-7 with 3:44 left, followed by a two-point conversion.
Effingham also compiled 262 total yards in the half, compared to 86 for CHS, just two on the ground.
The Trojans, though, still moved within 13-7 at the start of the second half when Bonstetter hauled in a pass near the goal line and ran in for the score.
|27 yd line||Avg. Drive Start||32 yd line|