Illinois High School Football: Class 3A Championship Preview

By Andy Schmidt
Game of the Week

The Illinois high school football Class 3A championship game features a game for a repeat champion as the 12-1 and defending champion Aurora Christian Eagles face the 12-1 Tolono Unity Rockets on Friday at 4 p.m. at the University of Illinois in Champaign.

Tolono Unity pounded Greenville 56-21 in last week’s semifinal to make it to this title game. The Rockets are led by running back Conner Grace, who has rushed for 1,462 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. Tolono Unity has depended on quarterback Justin Deters as well as Deters has 1,272 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns with 1,049 passing yards to go along with it. The Rockets also have Mitch Negangard and his 947 yards rushing with 12 touchdowns on just 94 carries. Tolono Unity has scored 483 points this season while playing an independent schedule.

Aurora Christian handled Sterling Newman 41-7 to advance to their second straight Class 3A championship game. The Eagles are very balanced on offense with running back Joel Bouagnon’s 1,380 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns while quarterback Ryan McQuade has passed for 2,913 yards. Chad Beebe has been McQuade’s favorite target with 62 catches for 956 yards and 15 touchdowns while Cory Windle has 849 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns. The Eagles have scored 590 points this season in 13 games.

There is an experience factor that will come into play in this game with Aurora Christian being in the title game last season but this is a rematch of last year’s semifinal won by Aurora Christian. I think it is going to be hard to slow down the Aurora Christian offense and while I think Tolono Unity will keep the game close for most of the game, I just don’t see them winning. I’ll take Aurora Christian 34-23.

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