By STEVE TAPPA
Special to the Herald-Whig
MOLINE, Ill. -- The Quincy High School football team took the road less traveled, but came away with a victory.
That's all that matters to Blue Devils coach Rick Little, who deemed the game "strange."
QHS forced Moline to fumble inside the 5-yard line twice in the second half and returned them for touchdowns during the Blue Devils' 35-5 Western Big Six Conference win at Browning Field.
"We told the kids what a weird game it was. Really strange," Little said. "It would have been a ball game if they'd scored on those drives. Instead, we didn't have many offensive plays in the second half, but we pulled away on the scoreboard. The nice thing is we responded there in the fourth quarter with a nice drive to put the game away."
Brady Brockmiller scooped up the first miscue for the Blue Devils, corralling a bad pitch and returning the ball 94 yards to put QHS ahead 21-2 in the third quarter. Moline's Abe Driscal had the ball ripped away from him early in the fourth when Matt Bilgri scooped up the ball and returned it 99 yards to put the Blue Devils ahead 28-5.
Moline also had a holding penalty call back a touchdown, before settling for a third-quarter field goal, and another scoring opportunity end when QHS's Cooper Bowles blocked a field goal.
"Malik Bondon played a great game," Little said. "Brady Brockmiller scored two touchdowns, once on one of those fumble returns. Matt Bilgri played great, too (on defense). We're hopefully a playoff football team and we have players that make playoff plays."
With the victory, QHS (5-2, 2-2 WB6) became playoff eligible with five victories, while Moline (1-6, 1-3) is staring at its first one-win season since 1985.
"We're definitely happy to be in the conversation," said Little, whose team missed the postseason the last two seasons. "We just have to continue to play better than we did (Friday) now to nail down a spot."
The Blue Devils did plenty to net Friday's win, with 10 tackles for loss shared by eight different defenders.
All-WB6 back Malique Robbbins rushed for a game-best 86 yards and a score on 14 carries.
"Despite the score I'm proud of the kids," Moline coach Matt Woods said. "We're driving the football. We're playing hard. We're competing even though we're missing a ton (because of injuries) and moving guys around. I like what I saw on that end."
QHS outgained the Maroons 269-247.