ELGIN — Elgin Public-Pope John played a close game in the first round of the Class D-1 State Football Playoffs, defeating Southwest 60 to 50.
It’s hard to believe 110 points could be scored and the game would be close, but that’s what fans at Elgin Field witnessed Thursday afternoon under perfect playing conditions.
The Wolfpack got on the scoreboard first as they forced the Roughriders to turn the ball over on downs in their own territory. Starting on their 33-yard line, the Wolfpack relied on the strong inside running of Nathan Anderson to move the ball down to the 14-yard line. Three plays later, EPPJ lit up the scoreboard on a one-yard run by sophomore quarterback Nick Heithoff. The offensive line of Jared Seier, Corey Schindler and Caleb Pelster was instrumental in the drive, moving the Roughriders’ linemen out of the way.
Southwest answered back with a drive of their own as they went the length of the field. Quarterback Justin Malleck, one of three signal-callers the team would use, tossed a 15-yard strike to Dylan McConville who waltzed into the endzone to tie the score at 6-all.
Then, in what would prove to be the difference in the game, special teams made a big play for the Wolfpack. Kick returner Dean Braband fielded the ball on his five-yard line, then waited behind his blockers for a moment before shooting through and racing all the way for a 75-yard touchdown. Anderson added the two-point conversion for a 14 to 6 lead with 1:30 left in the quarter.
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