ARGENTA — When the Bombers got going, they didn't look back.
A quick score Fisher score to open the game could have diffused Argenta-Oreana in the second round of the Class 1A playoffs, but Makhi Stanley answered back with a 19-yard rushing touchdown and Josh Williams scored from 27-yards out to help the Bombers to a 44-23 win to advance to the quarterfinals against Central A&M.
Argenta hit a lull in the third quarter, but it wasn't enough to leave a window for the Bunnies.
“They jumped out to a quick score, but we’re glad we answered right back," Argenta coach Steve Kirk said. "We didn’t look back at all during the first half. We played pretty solid most of the game except for a little lull in the third quarter.
"Our offensive line was good; they opened a lot of good holes for our backs, who did a good job finding those holes. Defensively, we mostly played pretty well. We had a couple of mistakes, but that’ll happen against a team like Fisher with efficient runs. It was a full team effort in all three phases of the game.”
Williams ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns and Makhi Stanley had 148 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Central A&M 27, Albion Edwards County 0
ALBION — The score could have been better for Central A&M. The Raiders had negative plays on offense that slowed the high-powered attack, but it didn't matter.
A&M pitched a shutout on defense in a win over Albion Edwards County to advance to the quarterfinals.
Connor Heaton threw for 166 yards and two touchdowns — both to Jake Paradee who had seven catches for 116 yards.
"Offensively and defensively, our team dominated," A&M coach Brent Weakly said. "I challenged our guys at the beginning of the week to play hard, and they accepted the challenge and stepped up tonight. We had some negative yards in the first half. It could have been a larger night for us, scoring-wise. We didn’t have a lot of flair like we usually do, but we took what they could give us."
Gus McCoy powered his way for 95 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Concord Triopia 42, Arcola 0
CONCORD — Concord Triopia's defense held Arcola to just 60 yards of total offense and handed the Purple Riders a second-round playoff loss.
Arcola finishes its season at 8-3, while the Trojans move to 10-1 and are to travel to Camp Point Central, a team that beat Carrollton 31-6. Concord Triopia, Camp Point Central and Carrollton are all members of the Western Illinois Valley North Division.
"They did a good job taking us away on the edge," said Arcola coach Nick Lindsey. "Our perimeter game wasn't as good as it had been in the past. We never could get a rhythm and this time of year that is what it is all about making plays when you have the opportunity and not shooting yourself in the foot (high snaps, mishandled snaps, fumbles) and we did that today."
Concord's Zach Thompson, the son of coach Rich Thompson, finished with 22 carries for 109 yards and two touchdowns, while Michael Burns had 15 carries for 84 yards and two touchdowns. The Trojans finished with 325 yards.
"Our offense was great, but our defense was even better today," said coach Thompson. "The defense has just got better and better since the Beardstown game. Beardstown (a Class 3A playoff team) is a tough team and they scored 34 on us (Concord won 35-34), which doesn't look that impressive, but we kept a darn good defense form running up and down the field all night. Then they realized, 'Hey, we can play physical football' We played it very well last week against a very big Georgetown-Ridge Farm team that is physical. It was a different animal today.
"I think Arcola likes to run first and they are power running team inside, but once we shut that down they had to throw and when they did throw we were right where we needed to be. We gave up a couple of little short passes, but our game plan is we will allow you to catch it in front of us and then we are going to come and punish you. That is what our kids are believing in right now."
The Trojans also ran 59 plays to the Purple Riders 36 as they controlled the clock.
Austin Hopkins, a junior, led the Purple Riders in rushing with nine carries for 47 yards.
Downs Tri-Valley 35, Pana 31
DOWNS — Tri-Valley football coach Josh Roop has faith in his ball-control offense when time is a factor.
It was a huge one Saturday after Pana scored with 8 minutes, 16 seconds remaining to pull within four points of Roop's Vikings in a Class 2A second-round playoff game.
Tri-Valley's offense responded with a 70-yard, 18-play drive that devoured every tick on the clock and secured a 35-31 victory. All 18 plays were runs, with senior running back Zach Woodring carrying 12 times for 50 yards.
The 12th-seeded Vikings improved to 7-4 and advanced to a quarterfinal game next week at top-seeded St. Teresa (11-0). Tri-Valley lost at St. Teresa, 27-14, in the season opener.
To get there, Tri-Valley had to survive 420 yards of offense by Pana. Senior quarterback Jack Armstrong threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns and also had a team-high 73 yards rushing on 11 carries.
The fourth-seeded Panthers (9-2) were within 21-12 at the half, but lost a fumble at their own 22 on the first play of the second half. Five plays later, Reeser scored on a 6-yard run for a 28-12 cushion.
A 9-yard TD run by Pana's Lane Perry made it 28-18, but Reeser's 3-yard score pushed it to 35-18. The Panthers then closed to within 35-31 with two touchdowns in six-plus minutes, the second a 34-yard score by Perry from Armstrong.
Tri-Valley then went on its clock-eating march.
"Looking at film that's what we expected from them," Pana coach Trevor Higgins said. "You could tell they were a well-coached, well-disciplined team and very happy to go three or four yards at a time.
"We knew our defense would have to step up and try to get off the field. Unfortunately at the end, we weren't able to do that."
Taylorville 45, Columbia 23
TAYLORVILLE — There were stalled drives and missed opportunities in the first half, but Brandon Odam overcame all of them.
The Taylorville quarterback threw for three of his five touchdowns in the second half on his way to 345 passing yards, 87 touchdowns and a Class 4A second-round win over Columbia.
“I think our defense did great tonight holding them back," Taylorville coach Jeb odam said. "We did have a couple of turnovers and stalled drives early in the game, but Brandon Odam definitely figured it out in the second half for the win. We’re excited to play Rochester in the next round; it’ll be an awesome atmosphere. We’re excited for our kids and our town.”
Justin Wright had 10 catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns and Yemi Odugbesen had five grabs for 121 yards and two scores.
Highland 56, Mattoon 35
HIGHLAND — The Mattoon football team was able to give undefeated Highland one of its toughest halves of the season.
The Bulldogs made it a two-score game with about 1:30 left in the first half and were going to get the ball after halftime. So Mattoon wanted to try to make it a one-score game again.
The Green Wave drove to the Bulldogs 23-yard line and the shot at the end zone was intercepted.
Then in a blink of an eye to start the second half, the Bulldogs had control of the game. Highland scored two touchdowns in the first 2:30 of the third quarter to go up by 29 points.
The deficit was too much to overcome for the Green Wave, who saw its season end on Saturday in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Mattoon coach Troy Johnson said Highland’s offense showed its big-play ability to start the third quarter.
“We knew we needed to come out in the third quarter and get a stop and a drive and then we thought momentum could go with us. We haven’t panicked being down two scores all year long,” Johnson said. “Then first play, they get a long touchdown pass and then we have a three-and-out and just seems like every time I come down here, that’s what happens. It’s a tight game and next thing you know, you are down three scores and you are not sure what happened.”
Mattoon moved the ball well against Highland during the game and the 35 points is the most the Bulldogs have given up this season. The previous high was 21 points, which happens twice.
The Green Wave tried to take advantage of that with a score right before the half, which would’ve given Mattoon a little more leverage going into halftime. But Highland’s Dylan Apken played good one-on-one coverage and intercepted the pass at the 2-yard line with seconds left in the half.
“You think it’s a little momentum change and we had some pressure on the outside and I think we had him beat and were behind him but (quarterback) Jack (Pilson) was hit and he couldn’t follow through on it and fell up short,” Johnson said. “But that’s football. It would’ve been nice to have that one, but who knows.”