Belleville West used a tide-turning 95-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to push it to a 48-24 victory over Quincy Friday night.
The Maroons kept the pressure on the Blue Devils with a yardage-churning ground game. Senior tailback Kriston Davis rushed 35 times for 214 yards and three touchdowns.
Belleville West finished with 258 yards on the ground and 402 total yards. Quincy had 224 total yards.
“Their offensive line did a heck of a job,” Quincy coach Rick Little said. “They got a push consistently.”
The game turned, though on West linebacker Russell March’s interception.
With 11:20 to play, the Blue Devils trailed just 31-24 after quarterback Logan Ross scored on fourth and goal from the 2-yard line. And they had an opportunity to close the gap further when West quarterback Matthew Schmidt fumbled on his own 13-yard line.
“I think we had some momentum,” Little said.
It didn’t last. Quincy wingback Rod Rudd was dragged down for a 3-yard loss on first down, and Ross had his pass thrown into the middle of the field intercepted by March II at the 5-yard line.
After picking up a couple of blocks that helped him get to the right sideline, March raced 95 yards for a touchdown and a 38-24 lead.
The Maroons never looked back.
“I couldn’t believe he could run like that,” Belleville West coach Cameron Pettus said. “It was unbelievable. I thought our defense did a nice job of getting him there. They didn’t do anything silly on that play.”
Concerning for Little were the number of injuries Quincy suffered. By the middle of the third quarter, neither of Quincy’s first-string wingbacks were still in the game. Three players left the field on crutches, and senior linebacker Brock Baird had his ankle heavily taped with ice.
“That’s not a very good thing,” Little said. “I almost got scared to look behind me (on the sideline) at times.”
The most noticeable player sitting on the sideline was Jirehl Brock. The junior running back who is being recruited by schools from the Big Ten, Big 12 and Southeastern Conferences suffered an injury to his left shoulder with 9:11 remaining in the third quarter.
Trainers added padding to Brock’s shoulder pads before he returned for one play. He came off the field after typical football contact and was in considerable pain.
His shoulder pads were removed and he spent the rest of the game with ice taped to his shoulder. Brock finished with 80 yards on 16 carries.
“This is no disrespect to our guys, but it’s almost like you’re going to a gunfight with a pocket knife,” said Little, who learned Thursday a knee injury would make senior wingback Jordan Kyles inactive. “I mean that because we were putting guys out there who hadn’t had the reps and experience. It made things difficult.”
The game was on the schedule for a 7 p.m. start, but didn’t start until after 8:30 because the junior varsity game ran long.
The Maroons (1-0) are at home next Saturday at 4 p.m. against Timber Creek Regional High School.