CHAMPAIGN — Champaign Central won its homecoming football game against Chicago Heights Marian Catholic, but the Maroons had a few anxious moments before emerging with a 15-10 victory Friday night.
With 3.5 seconds left, Marian Catholic quarterback Patrick Schmidt completed a touchdown pass to Ki-Jana Crawford. However, the apparent touchdown was negated because of an illegal man downfield. Schmidt’s next pass was a desperation heave that sailed out of the back of the end zone.
“To be able to make a stand in such a high-pressured situation, I couldn’t be prouder of the guys,” Maroons coach Nate Albaugh said. “Our defense has just improved every week.”
That defense gave up 10 points in the first eight minutes. After that, the unit effectively eliminated Marian Catholic’s offensive attack.
The Maroons limited the Spartans to 27 yards of offense in the second quarter. An interception, blocked punt and 22-yard touchdown pass from Nicholas Glenn got Central back in the game.
The defense didn’t let up in the third quarter, giving up 12 yards.
In the fourth, the Maroons’ defense was able to pressure the quarterback. Champaign Central forced a safety after Schmidt committed an intentional-grounding penalty in his end zone as a result of the pressure.
The ensuing free kick eventually led to a Maroons touchdown, making it 15-10 after a failed two-point conversion.
The teams swapped possessions before the final drive.
“I think it helped a week ago when we were down 14-0,” Albaugh said. “The kids watched us come back. So when you had already been there, it was very easy.”
The win snapped a three-game losing streak and gave the Maroons some momentum heading into their matchup against Danville.
“I’m just excited to keep playing and keep our playoff hopes alive,” Albaugh said.
TEAM CONF. OVERALL
Normal Community 5 0 5 1
Normal West 5 1 5 1
Bloomington 4 1 4 2
Decatur MacArthur 3 2 4 2
Danville 3 2 3 3
Centennial 2 4 2 4
Champaign Central 1 4 2 4
Decatur Eisenhower 1 5 1 5
Urbana 0 5 1 5
NEXT FRIDAY’S GAMES
Bloomington at Normal West
Springfield at Centennial
Champiagn Central at Danville
Eisnehower at Urbana
Normal Community at MacArthur