MAHOMET — Before the season started, Mahomet-Seymour coach Keith Pogue was concerned about his team's lack of experience. The Bulldogs were returning three starters from a team that went 8-2 and shared the Corn Belt title.
But a little more than halfway through the season, the Bulldogs are in familiar territory, sitting at 4-1 after Friday's 56-20 win against rival Rantoul at Frank Dutton Field.
"It feels good. We knew we were talented, but young and getting the consistency is what we're struggling with, still," Pogue said. "We're getting better."
Friday, it was the 1-2 running punch of junior Tyler Francisco and senior Jordan Rock. Francisco shook off a sprained ankle to run for 221 yards on 11 carries, reaching the end zone on a 65-yard run in the first quarter.
Rock added 183 yards on 20 carries and scored five touchdowns. A sixth touchdown, a 61-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Joe Kenney, was called back for holding.
"They're pretty dynamic, and I think they have good vision," Pogue said of his running backs, who helped the Bulldogs run for 471 yards against the Eagles. "If they just get a seam out of our guys up front they can do some good things."
After the Bulldogs got out to a 14-0 lead, Rantoul forced a punt and made it 14-7 on a 20-yard touchdown run by Larry Crayton. The Eagles, who got 137 passing yards and a touch- down from quarterback Tim Morgan, trailed 21-7 at the half.
"We had a little bit of a letdown and we are young, we are inexperienced and that's going to happen from time to time," Rock said. "But at halftime the coaches made some good adjustments and we just got it done."
Crayton, who scored on a 76-yarder in the final minute, ran for 188 yards on 23 carries.
"That kid's unbelievable," Pogue said. "Larry Crayton, we have not faced a running back that runs that hard ever. He's scary because he is physical and I know his line is doing the best they can, but he's doing it on his own."
After a homecoming celebration the rest of the weekend, the Bulldogs will refocus their attention on becoming playoff eligible with a victory next week against winless Olympia.
"The thing that excites me about this team is they continue to improve," Pogue said. "We've had more talented teams at the beginning of the year, but I think this team maybe is going to take the steps to reach its potential and that's what I'm excited about."
Defensively, M-S got 11 tackles apiece from Jon Reed and Grant Farchmin. Cully Day picked off two passes to go along with five tackles.