MONTICELLO — Storms held off in Monticello on Friday night, but the Sages struck like lightning by scoring seven first-half touchdowns to roll past Meridian.
Monticello started the game with a no-huddle offense and drove 70 yards on its first possession, capped by a 9-yard touchdown run by senior Parker Trice.
Sages coach Cullen Welter said the goal of the no-huddle start was to get his team in a good rhythm from the opening kick.
"It seems like in the past we come out sluggish in games where we are favored, so I just kind of wanted to get us going and force the tempo somewhat," Welter said.
Monticello (3-0) also scored in the first quarter on 51- and 2-yard runs by Ryan Donohue. The senior running back ended the night with 169 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries.
After Austin McCall scored on a 28-yard run on the first play of the second quarter, Meridian (0-3) was able to hold off the Sages for a while thanks to a pair of interceptions by junior defensive back Matt Trimble.
But John Burton got Monticello going again with an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown with just over four minutes left in the half. The junior, typically used on kickoff returns, was happy to get a chance to take part on the punt team.
"The middle was all clogged off, so I bounced it to the outside and just made something happen," McCall said.
Donohue followed that with his third score of the half, a 24-yard rush, and Trice connected with Austin Eckerty on a 22-yard pass play to run the score to 48-0 at the half.
Dylan Knisley scored on a 46-yard touchdown run in the final quarter. Trice threw for 91 yards, while Knisely rushed for 72 yards in the second half.
Monticello held the Hawks to nearly no yards from scrimmage with a defensive effort that included nine tackles for loss.
— Steve Hoffman
LeROY — Austin Eddy scored three touchdowns as LeRoy built a 41-7 lead after three quarters in rolling to a Heart of Illinois victory.
Eddy finished with 97 yards rushing, while Cory Eastham (99 yards) and Shane Bruning (92) joined him in helping the Panthers pile up 365 yards on the ground.
Nick Aupperle contributed two scores for LeRoy, on a 30-yard pass reception from Nic Stevens and on an 85-yard kickoff return.
Lucas Hixon of GCMS rushed for 80 yards, including TDs of 1 and 18 yards. Falcons quarterback Jesse Boma threw for 130 yards, highlighted by a 90-yard TD pass in the second quarter to Jordan Seymour.
MAHOMET — A slow start didn't send Mahomet-Seymour into panic mode. Coach knew it would play out that way.
"I told our kids: 'Don't panic. We're going to get the ball, we're going to score and we're going to win the football game,' " M-S coach Keith Pogue said. "That's what we did."
Down 14-12 at halftime, the Bulldogs pulled away behind the passing of two quarterbacks. Andrew Roney passed 33 yards to Cully Day before Joe Kenney hooked up with Matt Turner for 77 yards and Dan Roberson for 22 yards.
"We didn't have a good week of practice, but we came out and played very well," Pogue said. "Our defense was excellent. Our younger players continue to improve."
Kenney finished 5 of 10 for 131 yards passing. Jordan Rock had 88 yards rushing and Tyler Francisco added 50. Turner (94 yards) and Day (43) each had two catches.
Scoring on an interception on the game's first play and a 90-yard kickoff return, Eureka led 14-6 before M-S answered. Eureka finished with four first downs compared to M-S' 10.
Francisco, whose kickoff return for a touchdown was called back because of a penalty, finished off the visitors with a late 11-yard TD run.
— Terry Greene
RANTOUL — The first play of the game couldn't have had a better result for Rantoul.
Senior fullback Larry Crayton was hit behind the line of scrimmage for an apparent loss. But Crayton kept churning his legs and then broke outside, using his speed for a 74-yard run touchdown run to give Rantoul an early lead.
From there, however, not much went right for the Eagles in a 47-12 loss to Corn Belt Conference foe Pontiac in Rantoul's home opener at Bill Walsh Field.
"You call attention to one player on the other team that you say, 'Guys, we've got to get six guys on this guy because he's a tough runner, and you've got to gang-tackle him,' " Pontiac head coach David Young said.
"What happens on the first play? You think you have him stopped, but he's a competitor."
Crayton had 144 yards on 15 carries, but he wasn't enough to offset Pontiac's balanced offense, which outgained Rantoul 460-204.
"We had a good start," Crayton said. "All we had to do was keep it going. Some of the people gave up. They had no hope. This is our home field. You've got to take pride in this."
Eric Demattia rushed for a game-high 188 yards, including 169 in the opening two quarters to propel the Indians a 28-6 halftime lead.
— Matt Daniels
DECATUR — The host Panthers picked up their first win since 2009. Spencer Devriese caught a 4-yard TD pass from Nick Glenn in the loss.
CLINTON — The Trojans bounced back from a home loss to Unity.
SHELBYVILLE — Former Tuscola coach Stan Wienke produced his first win against the program he used to coach.
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ATWOOD — The Broncos remained undefeated with their third consecutive decisive performance.
OAKWOOD — In a weather-delayed game, the Comets opened conference play in impressive fashion.