PEOTONE – Competing in the Interstate Eight Large is not good enough for the Peotone football team. The Blue Devils want to start winning consistently.
It came close to happening Friday night, but Coal City managed to hold on and secure a 13-9 victory.
“Our defense was good, but the team and I do not want to compete, we want to start winning in this conference,” Peotone coach Apostolos Tsiamas said. “To do that, we need to start doing the little things consistently and get rid of the mental mistakes.”
Coal City’s Nick Hayden scored from 6 yards out with 20 seconds remaining in the third quarter to erase a 9-7 deficit and give the Coalers (2-1, 1-0) the victory.
“This was a must-win for us in the conference, and the team knew that and would not give in,” Coal City coach Lenny Onsen said.
Chandler Gartner (14 carries, 117 yards) ran 70 yards to the Coal City 10-yard line on Peotone’s first possession, but the Coalers’ defense stiffened.
“That first play, the long run, was a blown assignment on our part,” Onsen said. “But give Gartner credit. He took advantage of that.”
On its second possession, Peotone (1-2, 0-1) drove to a score, with quarterback Kyle Maupin taking it in on a sneak for a 6-0 lead. Maupin kept the drive alive when he hit Alex Panning with an 8-yard pass on fourth-and-3 from the Coal City 12.
Maupin had passed for nearly 500 yards in the first two games. But for the night, the Coalers’ defense limited him to 8 of 18 passing for 102 yards with an interception.
Coal City went ahead, 7-6, at halftime as Joe Starkey scored on an eight-yard run, capping a 10-play, 63-yard drive that featured 10- and 14-yard passes from Nick Micetich to Brad Littleton and Micetich’s 16 rushing yards. Littleton kicked the extra point.
However, Littleton was ejected early in the third quarter when three personal fouls were assessed against the Coalers on a Peotone drive that ended in a 30-yard Scott Gasik field goal, giving the Blue Devils a 9-7 lead.
“Those penalties are very frustrating,” Onsen said. “I will have to take a closer look as we review films and we will work out those penalties.”
Micetich finished 9 of 16 passing for 100 yards and rushed 16 times for 85 yards.
“[Micetich] is very gutsy, plays hard and gives it his all,” Onsen said.
The sophomore game ended in a 6-all tie.