By ANDRES MARTINEZ
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
HAMILTON, Ill. -- Daylin Anders and his Quincy Notre Dame football teammates knew better than to overlook West Hancock.
Certainly not with a chance to clinch the West Central Conference championship at stake.
"We still have to come in and fight for the game and not be like, ‘Oh, they're going to sit down and let us pound it on them,'" Anders said after QND claimed the crown with a 54-6 win at newly-named Repplinger Field.
The Titans showed from the start it wasn't going to be as easy as some were thinking.
West Hancock attempted and recovered an onside kick on the opening kickoff, forcing QND (7-1, 5-0 WCC) to immediately shift gears.
"For us, it's failure," QND coach Bill Connell said. "For them to kick an onside kick and get it, that's not good on our part."
QND woke up after that play and forced West Hancock to turn the ball over on downs.
"(We were) just trying to get them off guard," West Hancock coach
Travis Cook said. "We just tried something different first play."
On the flip, QND did what it does best. That's run the ball
Brady Genenbacher scored on a 4-yard run to give the Raiders a 6-0 lead. After forcing the Titans (0-8, 0-5) to punt, Anders needed just one play to rip off a 36-yard touchdown run for a 12-0 advantage.
"It all starts up front. The holes open. I hit them," said Anders, who finished with 166 yards and two touchdowns. "It all leads down to the blocking."
After forcing a fumble, QND switched things up as quarterback Joe McCaughey connected with Jordan Chapel on an 18-yard scoring play.
"We've been doing a pretty good job of passing the ball all year," said McCaughey, who finished with 84 yards passing and three touchdowns. "Our receivers have been making plays all year, and they continued to do so tonight."
The Raiders forced another consecutive three-and-out before Anders' 6-yard run set another McCaughey-Chapel connection.
This time, they hooked up on a 45-yard scoring play.
"Everybody really ran well," McCaughey said. "What it does is really opens up the passing game. It adds another option to our entire offense."
Senior defensive lineman Jimmy Kase forced and recovered a fumble on West Hancock's next possession. Anders scored his second touchdown for a 34-0 lead.
McCaughey connected with Genenbacher for a 9-yard touchdown pass for a 41-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Titans' Tyler Dooley broke a pair of tackles and scored on a 64-yard run on the first possession of the second half.
"It's enormous to get the confidence in your offensive line and the backfield," Cook said. "You're still executing, and the end result was a touchdown."
Brian Copley's 57-yard kickoff set up Parker Kientzle 18-yard touchdown run to help QND finish off West Hancock and improve the Raiders' chances of hosting a first-round playoff game.
Better yet, they can call themselves conference champions.
"At the end of the night, we win the West Central Conference," Connell said. "It was one of our ultimate goals for our senior class."