Breaking It Down: Brother Rice jumped out to a 28-0 lead over Sandburg Friday night on the backs of Andrew Walker and Martez Walker. The two rushed for a combined 330 yards and scored four touchdowns in the Crusaders' 35-14 victory over the Eagles in the first round of the Class 8A football playoffs.
At the outset, Sandburg seemed to get the momentem by shutting down the Crusaders offense, forcing a three-and-out. The Eagles marched down the field, but were stuffed after attempting to punch the ball in on a fourth-and-goal play in the first quarter. After that moment, it was all Crusaders and Martez Walker.
He scored from 28 yards out in the second quarter to cap a 99-yard Crusader drive. Martez Walker found paydirt again from 14 yards out to cap a 68-yard drive. The Crusaders led 14-0 at the half and added two more scores to start the third quarter. Martez Walker broke a 50-yard run, but fumbled the ball inside the Sandburg 5. Crusaders wideout Dan Lyons dove on the loose ball and was credited with a 10-yard fumble recovery for the score. Martez Walker also scored from 5 yards out in that third quarter.
With a 28-0 lead, it seemed the Crusaders had the game well in hand, but Sandburg made things interesting, capitalizing on two turnovers in the fourth quarter. First, a Crusader fumble inside their own 20 gave the Eagles a short field. Lemonte Booker rushed in from 5 yards out. After Brother Rice recovered the onside kick, the Crusaders fumbled on their first offensive snap. Anthony Adams ran in from 1 yard out to finish a 50-yard Eagle scoring drive.
After recovering the onside kick, Sandburg's Adams fumbled a bad snap and Brother Rice recovered. Later, Andrew Walker found the end zone from 3 yards out to put hte Crusaders up 35-14.
Patch MVP: Martez Walker had 16 carries for 183 yards and three touchdowns. He set a single-season Crusaders record with 19 total touchdowns.
Brother Rice Stat Pack: Andrew Walker finished with 147 yards on 20 carries. He scored one toudhdown. He also had one reception for 20 yards. Dan Lyons had one catch for 11 yards. He also was credited with a 10-yard offensive fumble recovery for a touchdown, and he came up with an interception.
Sandburg Stat Pack: Anthony Adams completed 13-of-20 for 107 yards and had two interceptions. He also rushed for a touchdown. Lemonte Booker rushed for 60 yards on 14 carries and scored one touchdown. Nick Lehnerer had 10 catches for 88 yards.
Quotable I: Brother Rice coach Steve Nye: "For whatever reason, we came out nervous and had some penalties and miscues early. We always like to make it interesting. We were flat and that goal line stand ignited us. It's playoff time."
Quotable II: Sandburg coach Dave Wierzal: "Our team showed some character. We stepped up defensively, and offensively we had some things happen that kept us in the game. It's easy to look at the score at 28-0 and hang your head, and our kids didn't do that. That's why I'm proud of them."
Team Records: Brother Rice improves to 7-3, Sandburg finishes the season at 6-4.
What's Next: Brother Rice will play at Downers Grove South in Round 2 of the 8A playoffs. The date and time of the game will be announced Monday.
Scores of Interest: Downers Grove South 37, Naperville North 24; St. Rita 35, Shepard 10; Lockport 18, Simeon 15; Homewood-Flossmoor 48, Marist 28; Bolingbrook 33, Neuqua Valley 14; Glenbard South 27, New Trier 0. For more scores, visit IHSA ScoreZone.