CHARLESTON — Three turnovers were the difference in the Coles County Clash and all three were by Charleston. The Trojans threw an interception and fumbled twice in the first half.
Mattoon took full advantage as the Green Wave found the end zone in each ensuing possession after the turnover.
The three turnovers helped the Green Wave build a 15-point lead at halftime and, even though Charleston was within six points in the final minutes of the game, the comeback fell short.
Mattoon won its sixth straight Coles County Clash with a 36-24 win over Charleston.
“Give Charleston some credit, they played hard and he is doing a good job with them. We knew they were going to be feisty and they sure were and didn’t quit,” Mattoon coach Troy Johnson said. “It was a good game for us.”
Charleston coach Tyler Hanner said while the second half comeback was nice, the turnovers put the team in a bad position.
“That’s going to kill you a lot of the time. That’s exactly it,” Hanner said. “We made a couple of adjustments on what they were doing and I felt like it paid off. We are very happy about that. It’s nice to see the offense open up and get some big plays.”
Mattoon seemed to have a big play to match Charleston’s throughout the game though, whether it was on offense or defense.
“It seemed like it. We would stall out on offense and defensively they did a great job. I give them credit,” Johnson said. “I give our kids credit for hanging in there because there were some bad things that happened to us, too. Real proud of them and things are hopefully moving forward from here.”
Mattoon led 30-12 heading into the fourth quarter, but Charleston came up with a 10-play drive. A 6-yard run by Keagan Brady converted a third-and-3 and Brayden Doyle rushed for 8 yards on fourth-and-1. Doyle then ran scored on a 3-yard run as Charleston made it 30-18 with 10:02 remaining.
The Trojans (0-4, 0-4 Apollo Conference) got the ball back with 4:30 remaining and Dalton Haworth fired deep. Alex Sweeney hauled it in and outran the defender for a 75-yard touchdown to cut Mattoon’s lead to 30-24. It was Sweeney’s third touchdown catch of the game.
Hanner said the Haworth to Sweeney connection is one he’s been looking for all year.
“Stretch that team vertically and be able to stretch them horizontally and vertically, that was nice,” Hanner said.
Mattoon (3-1, 2-0 Apollo) put the game away in the next drive. Quarterback Jack Pilson hit Londyn Fultz for a 15-yard pass and then Caden Price broke a couple of tackles and juked out a defender and went 43 yards for a touchdown to make it 36-24 with 2:42 left.
“He’s been playing a lot of football and if you count all of the plays, it’s hot out there tonight, he did a nice job,” Johnson said. “I am real proud of the team.”