Four plays into its Class 4A state football playoff game Saturday, Althoff had a 13-0 lead.
Things quickly snowballed out of control after that as Althoff had 62 points midway through the second quarter on the way to a 62-27 victory over the Clinton Maroons that sent the Crusaders flying into the second round.
“That’s what I told our kids, welcome to 4A football,” Clinton coach John Hayden said. “They were bigger, faster and stronger than us and a good team. We got our eyes opened up a little bit.”
Althoff (10-0), which built a 41-0 lead in the opening quarter, will be at Quincy Notre Dame (7-3) for a second-round game.
“I don’t think I’ve ever even seen 41 in the first quarter,” said Althoff senior quarterback Jordan Augustine, who had two touchdown runs in the first half. “It means a lot to us to get the first win out of the way and keep the momentum going into the playoffs. It’s really what we’re capable of if we do our stuff right (and) we take what the defense gives us.”
ALTHOFF SCORES EARLY AND OFTEN
Althoff’s Malik Easley returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and the game was delayed while injured Clinton player Sam Nagy was transported by ambulance to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. Nagy was treated for a concussion before being released, according to Hayden.
Clinton fell behind 13-0 when Althoff recovered its own kickoff, then got a 24-yard TD run by junior Jaylon Bester.
Althoff’s C.J. Coldon had an incredibly productive first half that included an 11-yard TD reception, a 72-yard punt return for another touchdown and a 41-yard interception return for another TD.
“That’s what he does,” Althoff coach Ken Turner said. “He doesn’t shock me, he’s a heck of an athlete and he’s a heck of a football player. The sky’s the limit for C.J. as long as he continues to work hard. He can do it all.”
Trevon Mosely added a 12-yard interception return for the Crusaders, Tarkus Ferguson caught a 2-yard TD pass and Augustine had a pair of TD runs.
“That’s amazing,” Augustine said when asked about the first-half scoring explosion. “It’s the best year of football of my life. We just take what the defense gives us and we’re making plays.”
In the first half, Althoff scored via the run, via the pass, a kickoff return a punt return and two interception returns.
The first quarter alone featured 41 points and lasted an hour, though the injury delay contributed to the time.
Clinton trailed 62-0 when quarterback Noah Griffin tossed a 3-yard TD pass to Logan Winter.
“I’m proud of my kids for battling,” Hayden said. “We were going to have to play outstanding to even come close to that team. They’re big, fast and strong and (had) stuff that we hadn’t seen all season long.”
BIG NUMBERS CONTINUE
With a lead of more than 40 points in the second half, a running clock was in effect once the third quarter started.
Clinton got into the end zone again on a 15-yard TD pass from Griffin to Dalton Whitted with 3:49 remaining in the third quarter. Whitted also caught a 4-yard TD pass early in the fourth quarter.
With Althoff hitting the end zone in practically every way possible, Turner was impressed.
“That was crazy ,man,” he said. “One thing I was happy about was I thought the guys played well in all three phases. We wanted to come in and not overlook these guys and start the game off fast.
“I thought we did that.”
If it had started any faster, the Crusaders would have been issued numerous traffic citations for speeding.
“Our speed was a little too fast for them in all three phases of the game,” Turner said.
While it didn’t affect the outcome in this one-sided contest, Althoff was flagged for 11 penalties for 125 yards. That total included five personal fouls.