Illinois High School Football: Class 2A Title Analysis

By Andy Schmidt

Friday’s second championship game came in Class 2A with the Aledo Mercer County Golden Eagles facing the Belleville Althoff Crusaders. The wind was blowing quite hard at the University of Illinois and points were hard to come by in the early going with Belleville Althoff using a 19 play, nearly nine minute drive and scored on a fourth and goal play from the 19 yard line. It was definitely different from the first game of the day and it didn’t help when Aledo quarterback Taylor Matlick got hurt on a fourth-down play in the second quarter. Matlick would return however and the Golden Eagles would score with 15 seconds left in the first half to tie the game at 7 by the half.

In the second half, neither team could get anything going with the only scoring coming on a call that will be disputed for a long time when Althoff’s Dennis Jackson appeared to be down at the Aledo five-yard line but fumbled and Devin Morford ran 95 yards the other way to give Aledo Mercer County a 14-7 lead and that is the way it would stay as the Golden Eagles were able to hold on to score the Class 2A title. Althoff had a chance but on a play with two minutes left, a fumble by Matlick was then fumbled by Althoff and picked up by Morford to allow Aledo to keep the ball.

This was a game full of turnovers with ten fumbles in the game and very sloppy with neither team finding much offense with that lone second-half touchdown being on the long fumble recovery. It is going to be a long offseason for Belleville Althoff and what could have been if they could have just hung on to the football.

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