Richwoods traveled to Peoria Stadium Friday night looking for their fourth consecutive victory. They had to fend off a pesky bunch of Manual Rams to do it, however, as Marcus Sierra and Davontae Keeton put on quite a show for the hosts. In the end, the Knights resorted to a strong ground attack in the second half and outlasted the Rams by the score of 49-20.
Christian Johnson and the Knights came storming out of the gate to a long touchdown run before most fans had even settled in their seats. With Sierra at the helm and having some success in the air, Manual moved into Knights territory before stalling out and punting. The Knights drove into the red zone when Damion Gillespie hit Alex Peters with a nice lob 19 yards to pay dirt and it was 14-0 with just over four minutes left in the opening quarter. The Rams were not flustered as they used a nice mix of the run and pass to move right down the field before Keeton ran it in from 13 yards out. It was 14-6 after the extra point was blocked.
Not to be outdone, Tre Hendon ripped off a 60 yard dash on the ensuing possession and it looked like the Knights were going to remain in control. While Manual had Kiontre O’Neal and the inside game of Richwoods pretty well stopped up, Hendon and Johnson were making them pay on the outside. The Knights were back in Rams territory late in the first half when Sierra intercepted a Sean O’Malley pass near the goal line and returned it to the 35. With under ten seconds left, his 45 yard bomb to the end zone was complete to Keeton and all of a sudden it was a 21-14 struggle by intermission. O’Malley took over full time duties at quarterback after Damion Gillespie went out with a lower left leg injury and did not return.
Knights fans began to sit uneasily as the start of the second half unfolded. The Rams took the opening kick into Richwoods territory before an interception by Morgan Riley at the five gave the ball to the visitors. Unable to move, the Knights punt went only to the 23 yard line and Sierra snuck it in from the one at the 7:07 mark of the third quarter. Manual unsuccessfully went for two making the score 21-20 at this point.
The Knights then got their inside running game in gear as Kiontre O’Neal and Shundale Wilcox began tearing up huge chunks of yardage. Wilcox scored from 37 yards out and O’Neal from 23 and Richwoods jumped back to a more comfortable 35-20 lead as the third quarter wound down. Manual continued to threaten on offense, but couldn’t get back to the end zone. Two late scores for Richwoods set the final tally.
Elsewhere, it was the same old story for Notre Dame as they jumped out fast to a big lead and never looked back against Galesburg. Andy Shadid rushed for 157 yards and had three touchdown to lead the Irish. Although Peyton Isaacson threw for over 200 yards for Galesburg, it was not enough as Notre Dame rolled to a 49-20 win and improved to 5-0 on the season. (www.wgil.com) Also, in the Quad Cities, Orlando Hernandez, B.J. Harris and company had another big offensive explosion as the Central Lions tore up host Rock Island, 63-15.
Finally, in the Mid Illini conference, Metamora solidified its first place position with a big win over Canton, 54-14. Pekin trounced East Peoria, 46-7, and Washington posted a shutout over Limestone, 28-0. Morton jumped out to a 21-0 lead over Dunlap, but the Eagles reeled off the next 26 points to go home winners, 26-21. (www.cinewsnow.com)