ELMHURST – When Michael Perrone got in the end zone, he thought there must have been a flag because something so good couldn’t have happened.
The IC Catholic defensive end picked off a pass in the third quarter and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown to give the Knights the lead for good in a 21-14 win over Aurora Central Catholic on Saturday afternoon at Plunkett Park.
“I got in the end zone and looked around like ‘Where’s the flag?’” Perrone said. “I could not believe I was in.”
Perrone’s first varsity interception was one of a number of big plays by the IC defense. On the first drive of the game Sean Sutton recovered a fumble on the Knights’ 3-yard line to stop an ACC drive. Perrone’s touchdown gave the Knights a 14-7 lead. Another interception by Randy Leslie and a 75-yard return set IC up inside the 5-yard line for the Knights’ third touchdown.
“The defense carried the day,” IC coach Bill Krefft said. “They really set us up for victory. I don’t know if we win without our defense playing like we did.”
ACC (2-1, 0-1 Suburban Christian Gold) took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, but IC (2-1, 1-0 SCG) tied it on a 24-yard run from freshman Jordan Rowell in the second quarter.
After Perrone’s touchdown, Leslie’s interception set up a Jack Copher pass to Max Eichhorn for a 4-yard touchdown. The Chargers added a late touchdown and got the ball back, but could not score again.
The Knights now face a four-game stretch against teams from the stronger Suburban Christian Blue. First up is St. Edward, the only team of the four IC beat last year. After that IC faces Marian Central Catholic, Montini and Aurora Christian. The latter two are defending state champions.
“The quality of teams we’re playing there are exceptional so we’re excited to get a chance to compete with them,” Krefft said.
IC Catholic 21
Aurora Central Catholic 14
Passing: Jack Copher 11-17, 134 yards, TD
Rushing: Jordan Rowell 8-36, TD; Rhashaun Epting: 4-40
Receiving: Epting 3-33, TD; Max Eichhorn 2-19, TD
Week 4: IC Catholic at St. Edward
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Greg True Field, 335 Locust St., Elgin
Records: IC Catholic 2-1 (1-0 SCC Gold), St. Edward 2-1 (0-1 SCC Blue)
Outlook: The Knights enter a rough patch in their schedule with four games against Suburban Christian Blue teams ahead. This game becomes a near must-win because games against powerhouse teams Montini, Marian Central and Aurora Christian await in the next three weeks. A loss to the Green Wave would set the Knights up for needing an upset against one of those teams just to have a chance at playoff eligibility. Last season IC won this match up 49-22.