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NORMAL — The Blue Devils won their sixth game of the season with the help of a missed extra point by Tremont and multiple defensive stands by its defense in the final quarter.
“It was too exciting for me,” said coach Chad Musselman, breathing a sigh of relief at the end.
The tense victory at Illinois State University’s Hancock Stadium improved playoff-bound Villa Grove-Heritage’s record to 6-3.
“I think if we would have lost, we may have had enough playoff points to get in,” Musselman said. “But going 5-4, we would have had to play a number 1 or 2 seed. I think being 6-3 made a world of difference for our chances of being able to advance.”
The Blue Devils broke a 15-15 halftime tie, taking a seven-point lead. Tremont rallied with a TD but a bobbled snap on the extra-point attempt allowed VG-Heritage to hang on to the lead.
“That was the big difference,” Musselman said.
But the Blue Devils still had to hold off Tremont until the final horn, and that took the second of two interceptions by Noah Palmer near the Heritage-VG 30-yard line. Tyler Price also had a key pick for VG-Heritage.
“We let them have the ball back with under a minute left,” Musselman said. “They got down and scared us a little bit” before Palmer’s clinching interception.
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MILFORD — Devon Laubscher led a balanced running attack, gaining 80 yards on eight carries, for the Bearcats.
Milford/Cissna Park finished with 376 yards on 36 attempts.
“We came out and executed everything we wanted. We were able to spread the carries around. We had 376 yards rushing and no one had 90 yards rushing, so it was a complete team effort,” Bearcats coach Clint Schwartz said.
Laubscher also returned an interception 22 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, and Josh Marquez returned a punt for a touchdown.
“Our defense played really well and (was) the most physical (it has) been all year,” Schwartz said.
The Bearcats led 42-0 after the first quarter and 56-0 at halftime.
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ARCOLA — The Broncos concluded a perfect regular season with a road victory fueled by a powerful ground attack.
Steve Isbell rushed for 194 yards and four touchdowns, while teammate Dee Woods contributed 127 rushing yards and two TDs.
“Overall, the goal of getting out with a win and securing a (Little Okaw) conference championship and getting a home playoff game were our two goals,” CG/D-W/B coach Andy Kerley said. “Time to find out who we play next.”
The Broncos (9-0) took the lead for good on Isbell’s 6-yard TD run in the first quarter. After Arcola scored in the second period but missed the extra-point kick, the Broncos drove for three consecutive touchdowns. Isbell scored from 21 yards, followed by TD runs of 4 and 30 yards by Woods.
Isbell’s final TDs came on runs of 11 and 26 yards.
Woods finished with 11 tackles, while teammate Ethan Morton had 10.
OAKLAND — Preston Skinner rushed for 207 yards in just 10 carries and had 12 tackles, leading the Titans to a home rout.
Michael Hudson added 96 yards on 11 rushes. Skinner scored on a 52-yard run and Hudson reached the end zone on a 40-yard carry. Seven different players scored TDs.
Johnny Craig racked up 15 tackles for the Titans and scored the game’s first touchdown, on a 23-yard run.
Luke Armstrong contributed two interceptions and a 25-yard TD run.
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GILMAN — The Raiders scored 20 third-quarter points to take control in a Sangamon Valley Conference home victory.
Austin Hasselbring rushed for 139 yards and scored three TDs for Watseka. He also caught four passes for 51 yards.
SULLIVAN — Nick Frerichs passed for 210 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Redskins to an Okaw Valley home victory. Joe Jeffers caught two of those TD throws, for 32 and 38 yards.
TUSCOLA — Gage Eller rushed for 150 of the Bombers’ 304 ground yards to lead A-O to an Okaw Valley Blue win.
Nick Bates had a hand in both Warriors’ TDs.
BISMARCK — Donnie Powell scored on a 17-yard run in the fourth quarter to lift the Blue Devils to a home victory.
Mo Abbed scored on a 7-yard run earlier in the period to pull B-H into a 14-14 tie.