MAHOMET – Earlier this season, Mahomet-Seymour was struggling and Zach McClughen was injured.
How times have changed.
"I think we can go far, real far," McClughen said after the resurgent Bulldogs beat top-ranked (Class 4A) Bloomington Central Catholic 14-5 on a muddy Friday night. "Early in the season, we were a young team. Now we have all the confidence in the world."
The win snapped BCC's 21-game Corn Belt Conference winning streak, which dated back to 2006, and kept the Bulldogs in the race for a league title. M-S and BCC trail Rochester by one game. Rochester and BCC play next Friday.
McClughen keyed the win with three of the Bulldogs' five interceptions against an opponent which had won 20 consecutive games since a loss in the 2007 state championship game. It was the junior safety's first game back since breaking a wrist in Week 3.
"I just wrap it up big time," said McClughen adding, "to beat the No. 1 team in the state is awesome. It gives us huge confidence for the rest of the season."
The M-S defense dominated, helping the Bulldogs erase a 3-0 halftime deficit. Middle linebacker Brannon Kwiatkowski had 21 tackles, an interception and a mud-stained uniform.
"It was fun playing in those conditions," he said. "I'm going to take a long shower."
Quentin McNew and Ryan Ohl hooked up for two touchdowns as M-S won its fifth in a row. McNew finished 6 of 13 for 134 yards. Ohl had four catches for 123 yards.
Nick Malinowski also had an interception.
"It was just an outstanding effort by our defense," M-S coach Keith Pogue said. "They did a great job shutting down the No. 1 team in the state."
Ohl scored in the third and fourth quarters. The defense did the rest in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.
"This is a huge step for us," Kwiatkowski said. "As a team, we've been making progress. Now we made a statement for everyone else to see."
The 14 points were the most allowed by BCC this season.
Alex Smith led the Bulldogs with 35 yards rushing.