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Braves football becomes undefeated at home, routes Mater Dei

The Mt. Zion Football seniors right before their senior night walkout and 41-6 win over Mater Dei. From left to right first row: Cameron Schroth: Bryson Richardson, Tyler Zuber, Tyson Evans, Logan Hutton, Jayger Damarin, Joelen Blair, Chase Fink, Braden Bolt, Grant McAtee, James Anderson, Caleb Miller, Karson Bollhorst, Landon Weigler, Makobi Adams and Brock Trump. From left to right back row: Vincent Fiore, Patrick Brock and Owen Owens.

By BLAKE FAITH
Staff Writer

On senior night, the Braves bounced back from their 21-14 loss to Effingham and defeated Mater Dei 41-6. Braves’ offensive and defensive lineman Patrick Brock led the energy with three sacks and three tackles for loss along with seniors Chase Fink, Tyson Evans and Patrick Brock making sacks. Makobi Adams led the Braves offensively with 386 total yards, 302 passing yards, 84 rushing yards with four passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown.

Last week Effingham was a good football team and it happens and they played well and we improved,” Head coach Patrick Etherton said. “Mater Dei is a good football team and they’re well coached. They got some really good players, and an opportunity came out. We played a really good first half, executed, did some great things, the second half came out, weren’t as sharp, which is, part of it. Overall I am very proud of our guys and we won every game at home this year.”

The Braves offense failed to score on their first drive, but the defense contained the Knights forcing them to punt. Brock got the Braves going on the third play when he got through the defensive line and sacked Zeebs to force the Knights to punt.

“We all wanted the home playoff game for the first week of playoffs and just being able to help the guys really helped,” Brock said. “Getting the win meant more to me than the three sacks. My last two years we’ve been 6-3, this year we are 7-2 and it feels nice to move now to the playoffs.”

The Braves’ offense set up on the 37-yard line. Makobi Adams tossed up a forward toss to Brayden Trimble. Trimble found the gap and ran the ball to the left-outside for the touchdown. Gabe Shumaker missed the extra point attempt as the Braves took a 6-0 early lead.

The Braves’ defense forced the punts into a three and out the Braves’ offense started their drive with a first down pass from Adams to McAtee for a completion. Adams then found McAtee dashing up the left side-line and found him in the endzone for a 16-yard touchdown.

Shumaker nailed the extra point to give the Braves a 13-0 lead.

Once again the Braves’ defense forced the Knights three and out and the Braves’ offense got their drive going when Adams threw a deep pass over the top to Jacob Harvey to get the Braves for 32 yards inside the 10-yard line. The senior duo of Adams and McAtee would strike again when Adams found McAtee on the left-side as McAtee finished off the 8-yard receiving touchdown through the contact as the Braves took a 20-0 lead.

“We came out here in the first half and we were on fire,” Adams said. “Our line was blocking great receivers, running their routes, everybody’s blocking great. When everyone’s doing everything perfectly, my job’s really easy. I think all the playcalling were good plays, it was just the perfect environment for me to thrive.”

Adams continued, “I think obviously the overall win meant so much more, we haven’t gone 7-2 in my time since we had the COVID year.”

The Braves’ defense came up with two more three and outs and the offense scored two more touchdowns. Adams connected with Trimble for a 62-yard touchdown and Adams rushed in an 11-yard touchdown.

“We challenged our kids and wanted them to go out there. Mater Dei’s quarterback is really good and we really like him, but our kids did a great job. Coach Potempa and our defensive staff did their job preparing our kids, getting them locked in, focused, and then our offense was focused and made plays.”

The Braves improved to 7-2 overall and will face Effingham in the first round of IHSA 4A Playoffs. Kickoff is 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

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