Brayden Trimble makes a catch and tries to avoid a tackler in a 34-7 loss against Collinsville at Mt. Zion.
By BLAKE FAITH
The Mt. Zion football team defeated Breese Mater Dei 38-35 in the last game of the regular season. Makobi Adams threw five touchdown passes and threw for 236 yards for the Braves.
“They’re a good football team,” Head coach Patrick Etherton said. “They’ve got some good players, and they’re playing to get in the playoffs. So you can get a team that’s traditionally a really good football team who’s got their backs against the wall and the only way they get in the playoffs is that they win. That leads to a pretty exciting game. I told our kids afterwards and was really proud of them and the way that we played and I thought we played some really good football on that. And I thought up a couple of plays here and there, and I thought we played really well. And that’s what you want and now we guarantee ourselves in the playoffs and see what happens and see who we gotta play next and go from there.”
The game was an old-fashioned shootout where the last team to have the ball had the last chance to win. The Braves went down late in the third quarter. Drake Rensig ran for a five-yard touchdown and Marcus Kehrer nailed the extra point to give the Knights a 35-31 lead.
Mt. Zion and Mater Dei swapped possessions three times. With less than five minutes of the game, Mater Dei had possession of the football.
The Braves defense was able to stop the Knights’ passing attack. Chase Fink made an interception that gave the Braves the ball and the momentum they needed.
Adams and the Braves’ offense marched down the field. The Braves got the ball inside the Mater Dei 20-yard line. On third down, Adams threw a 19-yard pass that landed in Grant McAtee’s jeans for a touchdown. Brayden Traxler nailed the extra point to give the Braves a 38-35 lead.
The Knights received two more chances to score. On the first one the Knights turned the ball over downs. The Knights’ defense forced the Braves to punt. The Knights last drive consisted of an eight-yard pass, an incomplete pass and a sack by Cameron Schroth on the Knights’ quarterback sealed the victory for the Braves.
“I think the big thing is we didn’t turn the ball over,” Coach Etherton said. I think Makobi threw the one interception early in the game. But other than that I thought we did a nice job controlling the ball. Defensively, we got some turnovers and then our special teams played well, except for one play. But in this kind of game we have to play all phases of the game and we have to do that. It’s awesome to see when kids do that, and it’s awesome. Also see other kids step up, make plays that, you know, maybe haven’t played and we got a couple of kids out defensively and are stepping up. So it’s awesome.“
The Braves improved to 6-3 overall and finished with that and an Apollo conference record of 4-2. The Braves received the No. 12 seed in the IHSA 4A playoff bracket and will face No. 5 seeded Breese Central (7-2) at Breese Central on Saturday at 1 p.m.
We’re going to evaluate, watch what we did and fix and build on it,” Coach Etherton said. They’re (Mater Dei) a good football team and they’re really well coached and we’ll figure it out. And, at this time of the year we’re just happy to be one of the 256 teams that are still practicing and that’s a reward for our kids. We’ve been playoff eligible the seven years I’ve been here every year. So I think that’s a testament to our system coaches, and our community. We put our kids in those positions that a lot of other schools don’t have and they don’t get that opportunity. So I am just excited about it and ready to get rolling.”