Joop, Sabers deliver in clutch
PAXTON — In what St. Thomas More coach Dan Hennessey called “a typical” St. Thomas More/Paxton-Buckley-Loda game, the Sabers got the upper hand with a 27-22 win.
St. Thomas More led 21-8 at halftime before PBL scored 14 unanswered points to go ahead 22-21 with 9:41 left.
“The game went back and forth,” Hennessey said. “We knew at halftime that they were not going to lay down.”
The Sabers regrouped as Storm Joop rolled to his right to find Michael Plecki for the game-winning touchdown with 3:33 remaining.
“That’s his M.O. — his scrambles,” Hennessey said. “We tell our receivers that, when he scrambles, always run to the ball. It’s a good thing Michael ran a little deeper than that.”
Joop finished 17 of 25 for 238 yards.
“Storm’s really good — we knew that going in,” PBL coach Jeff Graham said. “He’s a tough kid. You have to try and contain him. I don’t think you can stop him.”
Within the final 1:02 of the second quarter, Joop threw touchdown passes of 62 and 8 yards to Cam Deedrich and Plecki, respectively. Both drives were set up by PBL fumbles.
“You just can’t do that,” Graham said.
In the second half, PBL scored on a 1-yard run by Drew Schrodt (96 yards rushing, 55 yards on one reception) and a 3-yard run by Matt Poll. Weston Weber completed 6 of 11 passes for 197 yards.
“These kids played their hearts out (Friday night),” Graham said. “It is a doggone hard loss because these kids played hard. These kids will stick together and come out and practice hard this week.”
Deedrich caught five of Joop’s passes for 108 yards. Plecki had seven catches for 95 yards. Chase Kangas sparked the Sabers on defense.
“We’re one step closer (to the playoffs),” Hennessey said. “We don’t expect any easy games from here on out. I don’t care what their record is.
“I told the kids this week this was an elimination game for us; we have to keep winning to stay alive for the playoffs.”
TEAM CONF. OVERALL
Clifton Central 4 0 7 0
St. Joseph-Ogden 4 1 5 2
Momence 3 1 5 2
Paxton-Buckley-Loda 2 2 4 3
St. Thomas More 2 3 4 3
Iroquois West 0 4 1 6
Watseka 0 4 1 6
NEXT FRIDAY’S GAMES
Iroquois West at St. Thomas More
Clifton Central at Watseka
Paxton-Buckley-Loda at Momence
NEXT SATURDAY’S GAME
Monmouth-Roseville at St. Joseph-Ogden