ELMHURST – IC Catholic scored first on Marian Central, but eventually the Hurricanes overwhelmed the smaller class Knights at Plunkett Park.
The Knights’ Stephen Stam recovered a fumble on the second play of the game and IC turned it into an early 3-0 lead, but the Hurricanes (4-1, 2-1 SCC Blue) scored the next 28 points of the game and won 49-17 on Saturday.
The Knights play four-time defending Class 5A champ Montini tonight and two-time defending Class 3A champ Aurora Christian next week.
IC (3-2, 2-1 SCC Gold) struggled to compete with the powerhouse Hurricanes, but again showed balance in its offense. The Knights ran for 161 yards and passed for 113.
Quarterback Jack Copher is at the heart of that balance. He has completed 56.3 percent of his passes and has five passing touchdowns and another rushing score.
“He’s the guy who it’s all built around,” IC coach Bill Krefft said. “If there’s anyone to focus on, it’s him. He’s done everything we’ve asked him. He’s able to run the ball. He’s able to run option. He’s able to throw the ball.”
Senior Randy Leslie has led a balanced rushing attack with 228 yards on 44 carries. Copher (159 yards), freshman Jordan Rowell (147), Rhashaun Epting (107) and James Janowski (98) also have contributed to the Knights’ running game.
On the receiving side, Clark Brinkman (11 receptions, 237 yards) and Sutton (9 rec., 168 yards) lead the way for IC. Five different players have caught TD passes.
“There’s not really one guy that we focus on getting the ball to,” Krefft said. “Especially the running back position with the way we went about it. We don’t care if we don’t have a 1,000-yard rusher. We want to get three or four 600-700 yard rushers.”
On the defensive side it’s more focused on Sam Symeonides. The senior defensive lineman leads the team with 58 tackles and seven sacks.
“He’s been a terror,” Krefft said. “What he’s doing on defense is pretty incredible.”
The Knights will need all those players firing at their best to compete the next two weeks. If not, IC will need to beat Walther Lutheran and Chicago Christian, both teams with losing records, in the final two games of the regular season to be eligible for the postseason.
Next up is Montini, which Krefft believes is as good as anyone in the state regardless of class.
“The team we’re playing this week, on film ... they’re incredible,” he said.
Marian Central 49, IC Catholic 17
Passing: Jack Copher 9-for-23, 113 yards, 2 TDs
Rushing: Randy Leslie 14-74; Jordan Rowell 6-61
Receiving: Clark Brinkman 3-58; Sean Sutton 2-43, TD; Sam Rose 3-12, TD
Week 6: IC Catholic at Montini
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: 19W070 16th St., Lombard
Records: IC Catholic 3-2 (2-1 SCC Gold), Montini 5-0 (3-0 SCC Blue)
Outlook: The Broncos have been one of the most impressive teams in the state this year. They have quality wins and a suffocating defense that hasn't allowed double digit points since the Week 1, when Maine South scored 19. The Knights lost to Montini 49-0 last season.