Nick Feuerbach didn’t panic.
He just led the Sycamore football team to a streak-busting win.
Feuerbach, the senior backup quarterback for the Spartans who had thrown just five passes this season — all in mop up duty — took over Sycamore’s offense Friday against Kaneland after starting quarterback Devin Mottet left in the first half with an injury.
All the backup QB did was rally the Spartans as he threw for 124 yards, ran for 23 more and caught a 30-yard touchdown pass to lift Sycamore to a 31-21 Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference East Division victory over rival Kaneland, which fell from No. 2 to No. 7 in Class 5A.
“It really was nerve-racking but you want to be in the game, you want to be a playmaker and it was an amazing experience,” Feuerbach, who caught a touchdown pass as a wide receiver that went for 30 yards late in the second quarter on the play in which Mottet injured his shoulder, told the Aurora Beacon Journal.
“I had no clue Devin was injured. I was excited about the play and coach told me, ‘Take the gloves off, you’re going out there.’ It was kind of a shock. I had no time to think about it. I just had to go out and play.”
Feuerbach’s heroics also helped the Spartans — who moved from No. 3 to No. 2 in 5A — end Kaneland’s 19-game conference winning streak.
A win Friday at Yorkville would give the Spartans — coached by former Princeton coach Joe Ryan — the NIB 12 East outright title for the first time.
Camp Point Central sent a message loud and clear to Class 1A on Friday.
In a battle of top-5 ranked 1A teams at Carrolton, the Panthers made a big statement as Central controlled every aspect of the game in a dominant 33-0 thrashing.
Central — ranked No. 3 in 1A — held Carrollton, now No. 8 in 1A, to just 122 totals yards and only five first downs to hand the Hawks their first loss this season.
“To come into an atmosphere like this against a caliber team of Carrollton and win this way shows what these guys have done,” Central coach Brad Dixon told the Quincy Herald-Whig. “We told them all along how good they are, not because of who they are, but because of what they did in the summertime. I think they are starting to believe that now.”
How you finish
It’s not how you start, but how you finish.
Normal University High School learned that Friday against Mahomet-Seymour.
Despite having its quarterback sacked three times in the first quarter, U-High continued its season-long dominance over the next three quarters as it rolled to a 55-8 Corn Belt Conference-clinching victory over the Bulldogs, which fell to No. 9 in 4A.
“It feels really good. We’ve been working on this all year,” U-High linebacker Brady Murray told the Bloomington Pantagraph. “We got down at first, but we picked ourselves back up. Offense wins games, defense wins championships.”
It was the 17th-straight regular season win by the Pioneers, now ranked No. 6 in 5A.
After being sacked three times in the first quarter, U-High quarterback Arion Worthman finished with 256 yards passing and 165 yards rushing.
The ‘secret weapon’
Chester’s Brad Asselmeier showed his versatility Friday.
The senior caught two touchdowns and ran for two more as Chester — ranked No. 7 in 2A and winners of 19 straight conference games — rolled to a 34-18 victory over previously unbeaten Eldorado.
“Really, Brad Asselmeier is our Jose Qquendo secret weapon type of player, although he’s not much of a secret anymore,” Chester coach Bryan Lee told the Southern Illinoisan about Asselmeier, who also returns kicks and is a cornerback on defense. “It’s tough for linebackers to read him because he can do so many things.”
Week 9 Games to Watch
It’s the final week of the regular season and there are some key matchups to be played.
This week’s slate is highlighted by Class 3A No. 3 Winnebago playing host to 3A No. 7 Stillman Valley in a Big Northern Conference West Division showdown. A win for Winnebago would give it the outright BNC West title, while a Stillman Valley victory would create three-way tie atop the BNC West with 4A No. 7 Rockford Lutheran, which plays a BNC crossover.
Also this week, 8A No. 1 Loyola travels to 7A No. 6 St. Rita, while 2A No. 4 Eastland-Pearl City travels to 1A No. 5 Forreston with the Northwest Upstate Illini Northwest title on the line.
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.