QUINCY -- After a pick-6 on the opening drive of the second half, the Quincy High School football team led Galesburg 32-0 and seemed to be heading toward a 2-0 start in Western Big Six Conference play.
The Silver Streaks weren't about to give up, however, and after a few big plays and Blue Devils' mistakes, QHS only led 32-26 with 3 minutes, 53 seconds remaining.
Quincy turned the ball over four times in the half, but when it needed to most it gutted out some tough yards and forced Galesburg to use its timeouts as the clock wound down.?The Blue Devils weren't able to score and put the game away, but they gave the ball back to the Silver Streaks with 33 seconds left at their own 30 and withstood a few desperation heaves to secure a 32-26 victory.
Running back Drae Humphrey picked up two key first downs on the final drive, one on a 7-yard scamper and another on an 11-yard burst, and Blue Devils quarterback Lucas Reis said that all came down to the big guys up front.
"We had to follow our two seniors, AJ Miller and Dion Washington, the big boys," Reis said. "We knew they were going to bring it, so we ran the same play over and over and Drae kept finding the hole and they wasted their timeouts. Once that happened, I felt a little more comfortable."
While it was a great rushing attack that sealed the game, Reis was spectacular in his own right. Reis lit up the scoreboard in the first half, throwing for 171 yards and four touchdowns on a 19-of-24 line which helped QHS (3-1, 2-0 WB6) jump out to a 26-0 lead at halftime.
Reis finished the night 24 of 33 with 219 yards and the four scores, but he doesn't take all the credit for his stats.
"We have good receivers, people that can catch," he said. "We have Drake (Tournear) and Scott (Sprick) and Clay (Hansen) who all have great hands, Jack (Rupert) is quick and even out of the backfield we have great passing options with the running backs."
All of the passing game came after senior running back Adonte' Cryder went down with an injury early in the first quarter,
"We just had to keep playing as if he was coming back," Reis said.
His favorite target on the night was Sprick, who caught 10 balls for 98 yards and a score.
"Me and Lucas have been together since kindergarten," Sprick said. "We are brothers. We grind together. There's just a lot of heart between the two of us."
Grinding is what the whole team had to do in the second half. Galesburg (1-3, 0-2 WB6) answered the Cole Parkhill pick-6 to start the third quarter with a 35-yard touchdown catch by Alexandre Egipciaco on a fourth-down play to make it a 32-6 game with 3:23 remaining in the third.
The Blue Devils went on a nice drive that got down within scoring range again, but Dillon McBride ripped a ball away from a QHS receiver in the back of the end zone to turn a touchdown into an interception and touchback, giving the Silver Streaks the ball at their own 20. Two plays later, Egipciaco took a short pass from quarterback Conner Aten for an 84-yard touchdown to make it 32-12.
QHS sputtered on the next drive and was forced to punt, but the defense held strong and forced Galesburg into a turnover on downs. One play later, however, Silver Streaks linebacker Logan Mulloy ripped the ball away from Blue Devils running back Xai Benjamin and took it in for a 43-yard defensive score, making it 32-19.
On the first play of the next drive, Reis threw an errant ball across the middle and Kannon Kleine made him pay with another takeaway, returning the interception to the QHS 25. Aten eventually scampered in for a 10-yard touchdown run to pull Galesburg within six with all the momentum.
Galesburg coach Mike Washabaugh said if his squad had just played like that in the first half they might have come out on the other end.
"I thought the physicality that we had in the second half we didn't get in the first, and that's completely unacceptable," Washabaugh said. "I went into the half and told them that, we dress 46 guys and we are just going to start firing guys and find 11 that got it."
Despite all of that mishap down the stretch, the Blue Devils still put together a closing drive and came away victorious.
"I told them you don't want to create this, but we needed something like this," QHS coach Rick Little said. "This adversity when things aren't going right, what do you do? Do you hang in there? We talk about a lot that winning is a habit and you find ways to win.
"It didn't always look good but at the end of the day the guys did enough, hung in there and stuck together to go get the win."
14 First downs 23
24-114 Rushes-yards 41-171
256 Passing yards 219
370 Total yards 389
16-35-1 Comp-Att-Int 24-33-2
8-50 Penatlies-yards 5-50
3-2 Fumbles-lost 2-0
Galesburg 0 0 6 20--26
QHS 12 14 6 0--32
QHS--Jack Rupert 17 pass from Lucas Reis (kick failed), 8:07.
QHS--Scott Sprick 4 pass from Reis (pass failed), 2:28.
QHS--Clay Hansen 17 pass from Reis (kick failed), 8:45.
QHS--Rupert 4 pass from Reis (Drae Humphrey run), 3:28.
QHS--Cole Parkhill 65 interception return (run failed), 10:05.
GB--Alexandre Egipciaco 35 pass from Connor Aten (run failed), 3:23.
GB--Egipciaco 84 pass from Aten (pass failed), 10:39.
GB--Logan Mulloy 43 fumble return (John Rehn kick), 5:31.
GB--Aten 10 run (Rehn kick), 3:59.
RUSHING--Galesburg, Dillon McBride 13-80, Aten 7-20, Kannon Kleine 3-2. QHS, Humprhey 25-107, Xai Benjamin 6-27, Adonte' Cryder 2-24, Reis 6-10.
PASSING--Galesburg, Aten 16-35-256-1. QHS, Reis 24-33-219-2.
RECEIVING--Galesburg, Egipciaco 8-159, Grant Aten 5-47, McBride 2-36. QHS, Sprick 10-98, Hansen 6-63, Rupert 5-38, Drake Tournear 2-10, Cryder 1-0.