Mater Dei quarterback Travis Jasper admits that competing in the Milk Bowl game against city rival Central is one of the highlights of the Knights season.
On Friday, Jasper did his part to make sure the Milk Bowl stayed at Mater Dei for another year.
Making life miserable for the host Cougars defense, Jasper threw touchdown passes to three different receivers and added a pair of scores himself as Mater Dei retained possession of the cherished Milk Bowl for another year with a 33-7 win in the battle of Breese.
“The Milk Bowl game is a big game for all of us. It’s one I really look forward to playing,’’ Jasper said. “It was big for us to get out that early lead tonight and the defense did a good job. Our passing game worked well. (They) Central were doubling down on Garrett (Foppe) and that opened things up for the other receivers.’’
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Ranked 10th in the Class 4A state poll this week, the Knights stunned the huge crowd at Central by using just 1 minute 36 seconds to march the length of the field to take an early lead. Jasper ran for 33 yards on the Knights opening possession, eventually scoring on a 10-yard run to give his team a 7-0 lead.
Central (3-2) would get no closer. Using a strong defensive effort, the Cougars kept Mater Dei off the scoreboard for the next 20 minutes, but couldn’t capitalize on its chances. Twice in the first two quarters, Central had the ball inside the Mater Dei 15-yard line but failed to score.
When Jasper connected with Logan Ratermann on a 38-yard scoring play with 1:25 left in the half, the Knights were well on their way to improving to 5-0 for the season.
“It’s right where we want to be,’’ Knights coach Jim Stiebel said. “I thought we came out and executed very well on our first drive when we went down and scored. Then we got a little bogged down. I don’t know if it was the emotion of this game or what.
“At halftime we made some adjustments and we came out and executed very well on our first drive of the second half.”
The loss is the second straight at home for Central which fell to Cahokia Conference rival Freeburg two weeks ago. But the Cougars had their chances to stay in the game in the first two quarters.
Late in the first quarter and midway in the second, Central marched inside the Mater Dei 15-yard line. The Cougars also had a 30-yard touchdown pass negated by a penalty.
“I thought we did some very good things on both sides of the football. We had our chances and we just shot ourselves in the foot,’’ Cougars coach Brian Short said. “We had a touchdown pass called by a penalty which hurt and when you have chances to score against good football teams, you have to capitalize. We diidn’t do that.
“Mater Dei is a very good football team. I wouldn’t say they outmuscled us, but they did out execute us.’’
Jasper added a 1-yard scoring run and then located Foppe for a 37-yard scoring strike early in the fourth quarter as the lead grew to 27-0.
The Cougars averted a shutout on a fourth quarter scoring run by Jordan Spangenberg.