Anytime a team runs into an unfamiliar offensive scheme, it’s bound to cause some confusion. But come playoff time, it becomes even more difficult to solve.
Behind its triple-option offense No. 8-ranked Cary-Grove handed the Maroons’ a 48-7 beating in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs.
"Our game plan was trying to slow them down and score some points to help our defense out because we knew it was going to be tough," said Maroons coach Cameron Pettus.
After the Trojans defense forced a quick three-and-out on the Maroons’ (5-5) opening possession, the Trojans marched 83 yards in three minutes, jumping out to an early 6-0 lead on fullback Tyler Pennington’s 7-yard scamper.
Pennington finished with a game-high 144 yards on 21 carries and found the end zone three times.
We just wanted to thank them for everything they’ve done. Especially with the year we had with injuries, it’s been tough. But, they battled back and got us a playoff spot, so it says a lot about them.
Cameron Pettus, Belleville West head coach on his message to his team’s seniors
On third-and-14 from their own 31 on the Maroons’ next possession, quarterback Logan Betz hit receiver TeAntez Anthony for a 31-yard completion, placing them in Trojans territory. However, Anthony, the team’s leading pass-catcher, went down with a leg injury on the play and did not return to the game.
Trailing 13-0 with 36 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Betz scored the Maroons’ lone points, capping off a 72-yard drive on a 1-yard touchdown run.
The Maroons offense, which averaged 27.8 points-per-game, gained just 204 yards.
They have a really good defensive scheme…they were really disciplined and are coached really well. When we started moving the ball, they made adjustment, so all credit to them.
Logan Betz, West quarterback
Running back Sherond Boyd led the Maroons with 52 yards on seven rushes, while receiver Jarrell Anderson, who made a return from his own injury, caught seven passes for 63 yards.
"We couldn’t capitalize on offense, and it bit us in the butt," said Betz, who threw for 130 yards on 11-of-23 passing. "They have a really good defensive scheme…they were really disciplined and are coached really well. When we started moving the ball, they made adjustment, so all credit to them."
The Maroons defense kept its team in the game early on, forcing three fumbles, but the Trojans held onto a 27-7 lead heading into halftime.
"We just stopped thinking about it (how the Trojans ran their offense)," outside linebacker Dorian Hoskins said. "We just decided to go out there and make it happen."
On the opening possession of the second half, the Maroons forced a Trojans 4th-and-3, but fell victim to quarterback Bobby Collins’ fake punt, where Collins found a wide-open receiver for a 78-yard touchdown pass, all but sealing the Maroons’ fate.
Collins completed all three of his passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns.
The Maroons allowed 535 yards of total offense, 388 of them coming from the option run.
"It was just really hard to stop," Hoskins said. "We didn’t know if they were going to run the ball up the middle, toss it or pass it."
Despite the outcome, Pettus was proud of the way his team fought, especially the seniors, experiencing their last taste of high school football.
"We just wanted to thank them for everything they’ve done," Pettus said. "Especially with the year we had with injuries, it’s been tough. But, they battled back and got us a playoff spot, so it says a lot about them."
Cary-Grove (9-1) advances to the second round, where they will play the winner of Benet Academy and St. Charles North.