By Matt Nestor
The play of the game for the East E-Rabs was fitting for a wild night of NIC-10 action.
Clinging to a 12-0 lead over Auburn, the E-Rabs prepared for the second-half kickoff. A harmless squib kick in the middle of the field bounced into the arms of Wes Short of East, and in the blink of an eye, Short raced 65 yards for a touchdown, which kept the game out of reach in an eventual 24-7 victory.
“I don’t know what happened,” Short said of his third touchdown of the night. “We just practiced what they did on their kick. As soon as I got the ball, I didn’t care about anything else but scoring, and that’s what I did.”
The score proved to be important for East (2-5), as Auburn responded right after the return on their next drive.
Terrence Bell took a handoff and ran for a 32-yard touchdown for Auburn (0-7) to bring the score to 18-7. The Knights’ defense came up with a few late turnovers to give their offense several chances to get back into the game.
But costly penalties and turnovers doomed the Knights. Despite the setback, Auburn coach Billy Cook was pleased with the way his team responded in a close game.
“We re-established our team goals, which is focus and finish,” Cook said. “I think they did that. I’m proud of them and the way they fought for four quarters. That’s all I can ask for—they played all four quarters.”
Short was solely responsible for the 18-7 lead for East. He scored on 1-yard touchdown runs in the first and second quarters to build up the East lead.
Junior quarterback Andrew Lantz found senior Zach Mutton for a 30-yard touchdown pass for the game-clinching score.
“We didn’t play well, but we did play well enough to win, which is good,” East coach Jeremy Warren said. “We have to work to get a lot better. But we’re going to try to play our best football and keep working to improve every week.”
In other NIC-10 action:
→ Hononegah (7-0) survived another week, this time outlasting Freeport (4-3) in a shootout 56-49. For the Indians, they once again relied on some great individual efforts. Carlos Hendrix ran for 162 yards and four touchdowns, while Bryan Rothmaler ran for 156 and a touchdown.
The Pretzels racked up more than 600 yards of offense, with quarterback Alex Bennett throwing for 482 yards. Two-hundred thirty-four of those yards went to Brandon McShane, who caught 14 passes, including an 80-yard touchdown on the first play of the game.
→ The Boylan Titans (7-0) found themselves in a strange predicament in their game against Belvidere. The Bucs (2-5) led by a score of 14-0 at the half, holding down the vaunted Titans’ offense. Boylan came alive, however, behind two touchdowns from Tyreis Thomas on their way to a 28-22 victory.
→ Harlem (5-2) got two touchdowns from Kevin Witcik in the third quarter, good enough to hold off the Guilford Vikings (4-3) by a final of 19-8. The Vikings got 73 rushing yards and a touchdown from Dontrel Chance.
→ The Jefferson J-Hawks (3-4) keep their playoff hopes alive, reeling off 30 straight points to top Belvidere North (1-6) by a score of 30-27. The J-Hawks were led by Crissen Murphy, who ran for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Austin Smaha led North with 95 yards and two touchdowns.
From the Oct. 13-19, 2010 issue