By Steve Robinson | October 7, 2012 - 10:56 pm
Posted in Category: Decatur MacArthur, NCHS, The Normalite

NORMAL – In a post-game interview, Normal Community High School head coach Wes Temples said he was coaching “a young football team and sometimes, it just takes a little time to feel some teams out.”

Three turnovers by visiting Decatur MacArthur didn’t hurt, either.

It only took Temples’ troops one quarter to get a read on the Ironmen’s homecoming visitors, Decatur MacArthur, and used that knowledge to their advantage to rout the Generals, 31-0, before about 750 fans in the Big 12 Conference contest.

After a scoreless first quarter, the only scoring for either side came with 7:52 left in the second quarter, courtesy of junior kicker Grant Donath, with a 28 yard field goal, capping an 8-play, 52 yard drive, giving NCHS a 3-0 lead going into halftime.

NCHS (4-3 overall, 4-2 in Big 12) went up 10-0 on a 17-yard run by junior running back D. J. Frank with 4:16 left in the third quarter, followed by Donath’s extra point. The score capped a 5-play, 61 yard march.

On the ensuing kickoff, special teams players for Decatur MacArthur (3-4, 3-3 Big 12) could not get a grasp of the ball, leading to a fumble, which Ironmen junior defensive back Alex Broad recovered, allowing NCHS to start their next drive at Decatur’s 23-yard line. Four plays later, Frank scored his second touchdown of the night from 5 yards out, with 2:29 left in the third quarter. NCHS owned a 17-0 lead following Donath’s extra point.

After the ensuing kickoff went into the end zone for a touchback, putting MacArthur at their own 20, NCHS defensive back Justin Fish picked off Generals junior quarterback Devan Ingram, giving the Ironmen the ball at MacArthur’s 27 yard line with 2:21 in the quarter. Five plays later, junior running back Jerry Patton rushed into the end zone for a four-yard touchdown, followed by another Donath point-after. That increased NCHS’ lead, 24-0.

After the ensuing kickoff from that score, MacArthur started from their own 30, but a pass thrown by Ingram was tipped by NCHS defenders and wound up in the hands of Ironmen junior defensive back Easton Schaber. That gave the Ironmen the ball at Decatur’s 34-yard line with 31.7 seconds left until the start of the fourth quarter. Six plays later, senior running back Tony Delgado-Conner rushed in for a three-yard touchdown, followed by another Donath field goal, giving NCHS the eventual final score, with 10:29 left in the contest.

Senior quarterback Austin Jones led NCHS’ rushing effort with 12 carries for 88 yards. He was followed in that statistic by Frank, who had six carries for 69 yards. Patton had five carries for 20 yards. Ingram led Decatur’s rushing efforts, with 15 carries for 75 yards.

Temples said his team needed the win. “It’s been a rough couple weeks and they’ve responded,” he explained. “They’ve practiced hard, and they’ve bought into what we’re teaching. To have a game like that where, number one, they can all play and, for the first time in a long time, it looked like we were having fun again. Anytime you are playing athletics, you gotta have some fun, and it looked like we did.”

Decatur MacArthur head coach Derek Spates said he could not recall his team ever starting a half where they coughed up the ball three straight times leading to an opponent capitalizing each time in a score. “It is hard to explain,” Spates said. “As a football team, you have to take care of the football. You have to execute your offense. The teams in our conference are too good to give them a short field and the ball three straight times on three straight turnovers. We can’t operate like that as a football team. Once you start turning the football over, you can’t beat anybody.”

By Steve Robinson | September 12, 2009 - 10:30 pm

FootballNORMAL – Normal West High School’s Big 12 Conference showdown against undefeated Decatur MacArthur High School got off to a fast start – in Decatur MacArthur’s favor.

And although the Wildcats outscored the Generals, 16-3 in the fourth quarter in hopes of pulling off an upset, Normal West fell short, losing their second game of the season, 37-33, at Wildcat Stadium.

Decatur MacArthur (3-0) jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead, thanks to a 7-yard scoring run by senior quarterback Robert Smith at 9:55 in the first quarter, followed up by a successful point-after by senior kicker Miles Henderson.

The first series of downs for Normal West (1-2) after that ended in a fumble at West’s 20 yard line, recovered by Decatur MacArthur at the 9:14 mark in the same quarter. Four plays later, Henderson successfully booted a 35-yard field goal with 7:02 left in the first quarter and Decatur MacArthur holding a 10-0 lead.

Junior kicker Matthew Barnet’s 30-yard field goal with 43.8 seconds left in the opening quarter allowed Normal West (1-2) to cut MacArthur’s lead to 10-3.

Normal West FootballBut Generals’ senior running back Ladarion Shelby would score two impressive rushing touchdowns to pull his team further in front in the second quarter.

Shelby’s first touchdown, a 6-yard romp at 9:13 of the second quarter, capped a 9 play, 57 yard march, and put MacArthur up 17-3 after another successful Henderson point-after.

At 4:23 in the same quarter, Shelby showed off his special teams skills, running a Wildcats punt 80 yards for a touchdown, increasing MacArthur’s lead, 24-3, after Henderson’s next extra point. On the night, Shelby ran for 314 yards on 27 carries.

Normal West used a ground attack, featuring junior quarterback Tyler Marcordes, aided by a Decatur penalty, to score its first touchdown of the night. The Wildcats started from their own 47-yard line after the kickoff, and Marcordes ran for 19 yards on three plays, getting to the Decatur 32, before throwing two incomplete passes.

On fourth down, officials flagged MacArthur for pass interference, bringing West a first down at MacArthur’s 17 yard line. Marcordes scored on a run from there with 2:31 left. That score, followed by Barnet’s extra point, cut MacArthur’s halftime lead to 24-10.

West would come within 7, 24-17, on a 37-pass from Marcordes to sophomore receiver Austin Stewart, at 10:18 of the third quarter, followed by Barnet’s point-after.

But that would be as close as Normal West would get. Shelby would star in a 3-play, 45-yard running scheme ending in an 18-yard touchdown, giving MacArthur a 31-17 lead after Henderson’s point-after.

Henderson would tack on a 39-yard field goal at 1:57 of the third quarter, capping a 5-play, 67 yard drive, increasing MacArthur’s lead, 34-17, to end the fourth quarter. West would respond with a 37-yard field goal from Barnet with 11:48 in the fourth quarter, giving Mac Arthur a 37-20 lead.

Normal West would get the last two scores of the game and send fans’ hearts stirring about the possibility of an upset when senior running back Jamar Simon would score on a 26-yard run with 3:54 to go in the contest. That would cut MacArthur’s lead, 37-27, after Barnet’s extra point.

MacArthur FootballStewart scored from 26 yards out as the clock ran out, resulting in the final score. Because time had expired, there was no extra point attempt.

“(Shelby) is a tough runner,” said MacArthur head coach Derek Spates. “Normal West is great defensively, but Shelby is the kind of guy that, if you don’t wrap him up, he can escape from tackles.

“(West) had a good scheme on Shelby,” Spates said. “He’s just tough to bring down.”

“The bottom line is: This game was about fundamentals,” explained Normal West head coach Darren Hess. “Our biggest glaring (problem) was tackling. So the first thing we have to be able to do is be able to react to the football, get to the football, and make plays.

“Unfortunately, tonight, we just didn’t do that,” Hess said. “And unfortunately, tonight, (Shelby) ran all over us for over 300 yards.

“We also need to make sure (our players) know our scheme defensively, and be sound there,” Hess said. “I’m not saying we have to make wholesale changes, but we’ve got to get the kids in the right spots.”

Hess added Decatur MacArthur “took advantage” of West’s defensive weaknesses.

“(Shelby) is a big part of their offense,” Hess said in complimenting his opponents. “We knew that if we could contain him, we knew we would be very effective on the field. The bottom line, though, is they have a great quarterback (and) great receivers, but, yeah, he was a big focal point, and unfortunately, we didn’t do our job.”