DECATUR — Derrick Taylor won't be stopped.
The MacArthur senior running back didn't get to carry the ball a lot for the Generals last season, so he is making up for lost time.
As MacArthur faced Eisenhower Saturday at Millikin's Lindsay Field, Taylor made a statement — he's not only one of the best linebackers in the Central State 8, but also one of the best running backs.
Over 13 carries, Taylor racked up 192 yards, nearly all of it in the first half, and ran in four touchdowns.
For good measure, he added a kick return for a touchdown to begin the third quarter, cementing the 61-14 MacArthur victory in the Braggin' Rights game.
"I love my offensive line," Taylor said. "They make sure to get me where I'm going and they bust their tail just like I bust my tail. Without them I wouldn't be the running back I am right now."
As a senior in his last few high school games, Taylor is making the most of it.
"Derrick is a special guy. He really didn't carry the ball for us last year but he was a force for us on defense," MacArthur coach Derek Spates said. "This year you can just see a sense of urgency with these guys. He is running the ball as well as anyone in our conference and I'm glad he is playing for us."
Taylor now has 758 yards rushing for the season and 16 touchdowns.
Though MacArthur has now won the last two city rivalry games, the losses — 41-13 in 2015 and 28-7 in 2016 — still stick with the Generals upperclassmen.
"I remember in my first two years they did us real bad and so to come out and tell them that we weren't going to take it anymore, it improves our team and gives us confidence going into next week," Taylor said.
The win gives the Generals their sixth win of the season and a guaranteed spot in the postseason.
"It feels great for the seniors to know we are going in," Taylor said. "It's wonderful."
A bright spot for Eisenhower was in its special teams. Kevion Brown returned a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
But Eisenhower coach Curtis Graham is looking for more from his players.
"These guys have got to play with some more effort," Graham said. "We just didn't play with any effort today. We've played some tough games this season, but at some point we have got to play with some more effort."
During halftime, members of the Fall 2018 Decatur Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame induction class were honored in an award ceremony. Included in the presentation was MacArthur assistant coach and former NFL wide receiver Dante Ridgeway.
The Generals stayed on the field to watch the ceremony and took some lessons from it.
"Staying out here was really important to us," Taylor said. "It shows that people from MacArthur can actually go somewhere and become something and it gives us some confidence that we can, too."
Spates said he wanted his team to remember that they are Generals beyond their playing days.
"(The ceremony) was very important for our MacArthur football family," he said. "I coached Dante in his last two years here and just to see him have those type of accomplishments, I want these kids to experience that with him and for him to enjoy that with his extended family supporting him out here."
The Panthers (0-8, 0-8) conclude their season at home against Normal U-High (1-7, 1-7) next Friday. The Generals (6-2, 6-2) will travel to Springfield to play Sacred Heart-Griffin (6-2, 6-2) for Week 9. Last season, the Generals beat the Cyclones 34-32, giving SHG its first conference loss since 2010.