The 2012 season rests on one game now in the state of Illinois for Class 2A as the 13-0 Aledo Mercer County Golden Eagles take on the 10-3 Belleville Althoff Crusaders on Friday at 1 p.m. at the University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium in Champaign.
Belleville Althoff moved into the championship game with a 28-7 win over Camp Point Central and have won seven straight games coming into this contest. Dennis Jackson and Nick Hawthorne each had touchdowns in the win as Jackson finished with over 90 yards rushing. Eric Mertens threw for nearly 200 yards and two touchdowns as Belleville Althoff continued their strong string of defense in the playoffs. In the playoffs so far, the Crusaders have given up fewer and fewer points each game and that is something that must continue for a victory.
Aledo Mercer County rolled into the title game with a 26-7 win over Clifton Central to stay undefeated for the season. The Golden Eagles are led by running back Zach Nelson, who has rushed for 917 yards and 14 touchdowns. Logan Snyder also has rushed for 14 scores as well while quarterback Tanner Matlick has rushed for 10 touchdowns and has thrown for 20 more. Payton Holmes has had ten of those touchdown catches and 562 yards receiving for the season. Aledo has scored 566 points this season and has only allowed 100 points the whole year.
Belleville Althoff has a huge challenge ahead of them in a hard to stop Aledo Mercer County team that can hurt you on the ground and through the air. I don’t think that Belleville Althoff can hang with this Aledo team throughout the game and it could get ugly on the scoreboard by the second half. I’ll take Aledo Mercer County 49-20.