EFFINGHAM — Mattoon was eliminated from playoff contention with a 42-0 road loss to No. 8 Effingham on Friday night.
The Green Wave dropped to 1-5 and 1-4 in the Apollo. Effingham remained unbeaten at 6-0 and 4-0 in conference.
Here are some takeaways from the game.
Effingham wins up front
The Hearts had more size on the offensive and defensive lines and controlled both lines of scrimmage. They swallowed up Mattoon’s ground game from the first carry and put constant pressure on quarterback Jackson Spurgeon. Abe Baker returned for Mattoon after missing nearly three games due to injury and found no room to run. Spurgeon was sacked eight times and completed nine of 27 passes. Excluding sacks, Mattoon had minus-10 yards rushing, a long run of 4 yards on designed rushing plays and didn’t gain a first down by rush until the fourth quarter.
Mattoon’s offense lined up to punt on its first eight possessions and finished the first half with 44 yards. One of those punts turned into an incomplete pass when a blocking bust at the line of scrimmage made Caden Price scramble out and throw it away. Mattoon had seven first downs and 101 total yards.
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Spurgeon’s running ability had been one area where Mattoon has found positive yards, especially when plays break down. Effingham’s defense impressively contained the edge while supplying pressure from all over and held Spurgeon to one rushing attempt in the first half.
Mattoon started five of its first six possessions inside its own 30-yard line and gave Effingham favorable field position all night. Five Hearts drives began at their own 49-yard line or further.
The game employed a running clock for the entire second half.
Price, Cam Knierim make occasional pop
Price played in all three phases, adding new punting duties in the first quarter. He accounted for 47 of Mattoon’s yards on a second-quarter catch-and-run when an Effingham defender gambled for an interception and came up empty. He had a 13-yard catch on fourth down on Mattoon’s first drive of the second half. He made a couple open-field tackles from his defensive back spot and recovered a surprise onside kick at the Effingham 34-yard line to start the second half.
Price entered the game at quarterback for Mattoon’s final drive.
Knierim forced Mattoon’s lone turnover, a fumble to stop an Effingham drive in the red zone. He came on a cornerback blitz, hit running back Chase Woomer in the backfield and jarred the ball loose.