There until the end
Chad Thompson wanted to see things through.
So after sustaining what may be a broken right ankle in the first quarter of Friday night’s 34-0 victory over Peoria Notre Dame, the Quincy Notre Dame junior linebacker refused to go to the hospital. He stayed on the sideline, still wearing his pads and jersey, and hobbled around on crutches with an ice bag taped to his ankle until the game ended. He even took part in the Raiders’ post-game team huddle before heading to have the ankle X-rayed.
“He said, ‘I’m staying right here with you,’” QND coach Bill Connell said. “He said, ‘I’m staying right here with you until it’s over.’”
Connell insisted that was the strongest message of the night.
“We said we were coming here tonight 72 strong and we were going to fight,” the veteran head coach said. “Whether you were on the field or on the sideline, we were going to fight until we found a way to win this football game. It would have been awfully easy for Chad to go get in that ambulance and to go to the hospital. He left his pads on. He stood right there on the sideline. He hollered and cheered. He didn’t ask for any pain medication. He sent the message for everybody that he was right there for the fight, too. I think the players saw it, and I think obviously reacted and played the way we’re capable of.”
Thompson had seven tackles and one tackle for loss through three games and was emerging as a sideline-to-sideline run stopper before the injury.
Making the most of it
Colin O’Donnell is listed as a starting wide receiver on QND’s depth chart, but the senior had yet to catch pass in his high school career.
That changed in the fourth quarter. Facing second and 9 from the Irish 24-yard line, Raiders quarterback Evan Roush had O’Donnell split left facing man-to-man coverage and threw a fade pattern to the back corner of the end zone. O’Donnell hauled it in for his first career catch and touchdown wrapped neatly together.
“It was euphoric,” O’Donnell said. “It’s a pretty good word to describe that. It’s almost like a dream.”
Roush, who threw his first career TD pass in the second quarter and finished with three scoring tosses, put the ball where only O’Donnell could make a play on it.
“It was the perfect place to be,” O’Donnell said. “It was the perfect spot.”
Roush completed 6 of 8 passes for 70 yards and hooked up with six different receivers. That included tight end Garrett Becker and fullback Connor Obert catching their first career TD passes.
Learning the position
Alex Fitch knew to say the right thing, but you also could tell he meant it. Asked which felt better — hitting a 3-pointer or intercepting a pass — Fitch showed deference to the gridiron.
“It’s got to be an interception,” said Fitch, a junior safety who had two interceptions Friday night and is playing football for the first time in his high school career. “It changes the whole game sometimes.”
Fitch was one of the leading scorers last winter for the QND boys basketball team and will be expected to shoulder some of the scoring load this winter. Until then, he has his priorities set on helping the Raiders contend for a Mid-State Six Conference championship and another playoff berth. At 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the league, the Raiders are off to a solid start.
“This is only one step,” Fitch said. “It’s one game against a team we knew we should have beat coming in. We need to come out and prove it against Peoria Richwoods, prove it against Peoria Manual.”
Around the Mid-State Six
Peoria Richwoods picked up its first victory of the season with a 49-28 victory over Chillicothe IVC as junior running Kendrick Foster rushed for 301 yards on 25 carries. He also had three touchdowns.
“A yeoman’s 300,” Richwoods coach Roland Brown told the Peoria Journal Star in assessing the performance. “He earned it.”
This was the first-ever MS6 game for the Grey Ghosts.
“Sometimes you’re just not as good as your opponent. (Friday) we weren’t as good as Richwoods,” IVC coach Tim Heinz told the Journal Star. “They just have a few more weapons on offense than we can handle with our defense.”
Meanwhile, Peoria Central handed Peoria Manual its first loss with a 33-8 victory at Peoria Stadium. The victory gave the Lions their first three-game winning streak since 1997.
“We won up front,” Central coach Tim Thornton told the Journal Star. “When you can win in the trenches, it makes everything else work.”
Eriq Baird led Central with 179 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
“We couldn’t stop their run and we had some big penalties and mistakes that took us out of it,” Manual coach Dan Fauser told the Journal Star.
QND 34, Peoria Notre Dame 0
7 First downs 16
36-89 Rushes-yards 48-253
41 Passing yards 70
130 Total yards 323
4-8-2 Comp-Att-Int 6-9-0
7-2 Fumbles-lost 1-1
4-20 Penalties-yards 4-30
PND 0 0 0 0—0
QND 0 21 6 7—34
Q—Luke Hinkamper 1 run (Matt Doane kick), 11:22
Q—Garrett Becker 12 pass from Evan Roush (Doane kick), 7:06
Q—Connor Obert 10 pass from Roush (Doane kick), :55
Q—Blaine Wilson 9 run (kick failed), 7:10
Q—Colin O’Donnell 24 pass from Roush (Connor Reis kick), 6:15
RUSHING—PND, Zach Luebbers 14-56, Cole Kuntzman 4-24, Jacob Maloof 5-23, Dominic Comfort 4-1, Guy Dillon 9-(minus-15). QND, Nick Weiman 14-79, Hinkamper 16-76, Wilson 6-49, Roush 6-44, Obert 2-4, Andrew Reis 2-1, Shelby Venvertloh 1-(minus-1).
PASSING—PND, Dillon2-5-21-1, Comfort 2-3-20-1. QND, Roush 6-8-70-0, Weiman 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING—PND, Evan Bolden 2-16, Austin Bieneman 1-14, Will Unmisig 1-11. QND, O’Donnell 1-24, Zach Carstens 1-19, Becker 1-12, Obert 1-10, Jordan Chapel 1-10, Barry Welper 1-5.