It was obvious when I woke up Friday morning for the first of four Illinois state championship games, that the weather was going to be a huge factor at the University of Illinois in Champaign, with winds gusting over 40 MPH. I really thought that the wind would help the Stockton Blackhawks, who came in undefeated and averaging over 400 yards a game rushing; for at least the first half, however, the passing and balanced game of the Maroa-Forsyth Trojans controlled things with a 20-0 halftime advantage on two touchdown runs from quarterback Jack Hockaday, while giving up under 100 yards of offense to Stockton.
It was definitely a different story for the third quarter, as Stockton fullback TJ Knutson rushed for three touchdowns; and with three 2-pt conversions, the Blackhawks had a 24-20 lead going into the fourth quarter. Hockaday, though, wouldn’t allow this game to get away from him as he passed for a score and rushed for two more in the fourth quarter, leading the Trojans to a 48-24 win to gain the Class 1A Illinois state title. The two teams tied the Class 1A state record for most points scored in a championship game.
Hockaday is only a sophomore, and playing both ways proved how good of a player he is; with five overall touchdowns and 295 total yards, while helping to stop a very powerful rushing attack from Stockton on defense, Hockaday is one of the biggest reasons why the Trojans finished the season with a 13-1 record. Stockton has a lot to be proud of, but this should be have a game that they won with the weather conditions and their rushing game.