Jalen Cooper and Dionte Rodgers returned interceptions for touchdowns and quarterback Kendall Abdur-Rahman ran for a pair of touchdowns to lead Edwardsville to a 44-27 win at higher-seeded Evanston in the first round of the IHSA Class 8A playoffs.
It was Cooper’s 40-yard pick-6, the first of his two interception returns that put the Tigers ahead by 10 with 4:41 left to play in the first quarter. That was the slimmest advantage they would enjoy for the remainder of the game, played in the north Chicago suburb.
Evanston rattled off 20 straight points in the fourth quarter when Cooper picked off a Ben Tarpey pass and ran 21 yards for his second score of the night.
Abdur-Rahman scored on runs of 53 and 78 yards.
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Edwardsville will play the winner between West Aurora and South Elgin, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday.
The Tigers started the season 1-3, then rumbled to five straight to clinch their bracket’s 23rd seed.
Central falls at Rochester
The Rochester Rockets, winners of seven of the last eight class 4A state championships, had little trouble with Central High School in the first round of this year’s playoffs.
Rochester, the bracket’s fourth seed, ended the Cougars season with a 53-27 win.
Central, which had won four games in a row before falling to Herrin in the final week of the regular season, fell to 6-4. Rochester, 9-1, will face either Herrin or Pontiac, which play Saturday night, in the second round.