Boys Varsity Football
Game Summaries & Headlines.
Redbirds rally to win at Quincy 41-37
Matt Schuckman For The Telegraph
Jake Shane, Quincy Herald-Whig | For The Telegraph
IMAGE 1 OF 3
Alton’s Ahmad Sanders evades a tackle by Quincy High’s Parker Stegeman Friday night at Flinn Stadium in Quincy |
QUINCY — A big-time player made a back-breaking play that could have led to a long ride home for the Alton football team Friday night.
Instead, the Redbirds responded with poise and maturity.
Quincy’s 14-point lead with 2:47 remaining in the first half Friday night morphed into a six-point deficit by the time the teams made it to the locker room. And the Redbirds made sure the Blue Devils never recovered.
Alton scored on the first possession of the second half and then made two critical defensive stands to preserve a 41-37 victory at Flinn Stadium. It is the first time the Blue Devils have lost at home to the Redbirds since 2007 and are now 35-6 at home in the last 10 years.
“We win at Flinn. That’s what we do,” Quincy coach Rick Little said. “We win here a lot. So to talk off the field with a … I don’t even like to say the L-word … but to walk off with that, it’s tough.”
On the flip side, it’s energizing for Alton.
“That first victory,” Alton coach Eric Dickerson said. “It never seems like that first victory is easy, but we got that. I think that gives us confidence in all phases.”
So does responding the way the Redbirds did.
The first play after Alton scored to make it 14-8 with 7:53 to go in the first half, QHS senior wingback Jirehl Brock hit an open seam in the middle of the field, juked three different defenders in the secondary and raced 61 yards for the third of his five touchdowns. He then caught the two-point conversion pass from Donovan Prost for a 22-8 lead.
Brock finished with 200 yards on 29 carries and caught three passes for 65 yards, while scoring all five of Quincy’s touchdowns.
“Wow,” Dickerson said. “There’s no doubt he’s a Division I running back.”
The collection of athletes Alton countered with changed the tide.
The Redbirds’ Ahmad Sanders returned the ensuing kickoff 52 yards to the Blue Devils’ 41-yard line. Alton got to the 11-yard line before QUincy’s defense tightened up, but on fourth and 5 from the 6, Sanders squirted to the 1-yard line for the first down before fumbling into the end zone. Lonnie Tate recovered it for a touchdown for the Redbirds, trimming the deficit to 22-14.
On the first play of the next drive, Quincy quarterback Donovan Prost fumbled as he ran toward the right sideline, and Alton’s Ju’Qui Womack recovered at the 16-yard line. Three plays later, Izeal Terrell scored on a 2-yard run as the Redbirds tied the game.
An interception thrown by Prost with 33 seconds remaining in the half gave Alton the ball again, and Redbirds quarterback Andrew Jones found Moory Woods deep over the middle for a 33-yard touchdown strike with one second left in the half. It put Alton up 28-22.
“It definitely gave us some momentum,” said Dickerson, who got 155 yards rushing from sophomore Tim Johnson and 249 yards passing from Jones. “That’s what we were looking for tonight. Our kids never stopped. They stayed the course and we had some good things happen to us. Momentum is a fickle thing, and it worked well for us in the first half.”
Little knew his team could regroup.
“The plan at halftime was simple,” Little said. “We told them we’re not a team that beats ourselves. We said, ‘Hang in there. Here’s the recipe. They’re going to get the ball. We’ve got to get a stop.’”
Alton drove 68 yards on the opening drive of the second half and capped it with a 26-yard touchdown reception by Terrance Walker for a 34-22 lead.
That’s when the Redbirds made the first of their two big defensive stands. The Blue Devils had first and goal from the 8-yard line and failed to score as Brock was stopped short of the goal line on third down from the 2-yard line and Prost was stopped on a quarterback sneak on fourth down.
Alton made it hurt when Sanders turned a short catch into an 84-yard touchdown four plays later.
“We knew at that point we had to make a play,” Little said.
Brock made two. He caught a 29-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter and then scored on a 1-yard run with 5:38 to go to make it a four-point game. Less than a minute later, Quincy’s Jack Rupert intercepted a pass at midfield to give the Blue Devils the ball with 4:40 to go.
“When the music plays in a movie, it’s a climactic moment,” Little said. “We got our stop, so let’s go score.”
He had every reason to believe they would.
“We hadn’t punted the whole game,” Little said. “We felt we were in a great position to capitalize.”
The Blue Devils reached the Redbirds’ 23-yard line with 1:30 to play, but an incompletion, a run that was a stuffed and a screen pass that never materialized left the Blue Devils facing fourth and 10 with 1:05 to go.
“Now it’s a one-down territory,” Little said.
Prost’s pass was incomplete, and Alton ran out the clock on its first victory of the season.
Alton 41, Quincy 37
23 First downs 23
34-195 Rushes-yards 48-310
249 Passing yards 106
445 Total yards 416
11-21-1 Comp-Att-Int 6-12-1
8-85 Penalties-yards 6-40
3-0 Fumbles-lost 2-1
Alton 0 28 13 0—41
Quincy 7 15 0 15—37
Q—Jirehl Brock 16 pass from Donovan Prost (Devin Neally kick), 9:10
Q—Brock 2 run (Neally kick), 10:16
A—Tim Johnson 10 run (Izeal Terrell run), 7:53
Q—Brock 61 run (Brock pass from Prost), 7:41
A—Lonnie Tate fumble recovery in end zone (kick failed), 2:37
A—Terrell 2 run (Terrance Walker pass from Andrew Jones), 1:33
A—Moory Woods 33 pass from Jones (run failed), :01
A—Walker 26 pass from Jones (run failed), 7:54
A—Ahmad Sanders 84 pass from Jones (Jake Lombardi kick), :37.5
Q—Brock 29 pass from Prost (Neally kick), 11:52
Q—Brock 1 run (Drake Tournear pass from Prost), 5:38
RUSHING—Alton, Johnson 20-155, Sanders 6-15, Jones 5-14, Walker 2-9, Terrell 1-2; QHS, Brock 29-200, Adonte Crider 10-71, Garrett Drew 5-44, Prost 4-(minus 5).
PASSING—Alton, Jones 11-21-249-1; QHS, Prost 6-12-106-1.
RECEIVING—Alton, Sanders 5-132, Walker 3-51, Tate 2-33, Woods 1-33; QHS, Brock 3-65, Crider 1-21, Rod Rudd 1-15, Tournear 1-5.