QUINCY — For a half Friday night, the young Quincy High School football team went punch-for-punch with Moline at Flinn Stadium.
Given the opportunity to regroup at halftime, the visiting Maroons scored 27 unanswered points to start the second half and held on for a 48-35 win in the Western Big Six Conference opener for both teams.
While the Blue Devils sputtered on offense in the third quarter, Moline pulled away to reverse a 28-21 halftime deficit. Christian Reya helped Moline tie it at 28 with an 8-yard scoring scamper to start the third quarter.
After a three-and-out by the Blue Devils, the Maroons covered 88 yards in eight plays, a scoring drive capped by a 2-yard plunge by Gavin Grace. Moline once again forced a three-and-out from the Blue Devils on offense. This time, the Maroons struck quickly as Cranston Wall took a pass from Alec Ponder and raced 55 yards for a score and a 41-28 lead.
The Blue Devils managed just one first down and 11 yards of offense in the third quarter.
“They wore us down,” Quincy High School coach Rick Little said. “They ran the ball really well. They just leaned on us.”
Moline rushed for 395 yards and Ponder added another 224 through the air as the Maroons piled up 619 yards of total offense.
For a half, it appeared that the game was going to go down to the wire as the teams traded scoring blows.
Trailing 7-0, Quincy tied it on a 1-run by quarterback Adon Byquist midway through the first quarter. The Blue Devils took their first lead on their next possession as Byquist found Gregory Quince behind the Moline defense for a 55-yard touchdown strike.
The Maroons (2-1) rattled off 14 straight points before Quincy scored again. Ty Douglas made a diving catch of a Byquist pass in the end zone. The extra point failed as Quincy trailed 21-20.
The Blue Devils defense made one last stop to give the offense a chance to take the lead into halftime. Facing a fourth-and-goal from the Moline 5-yard line with 14.6 seconds left, freshman quarterback Braydn Little connected with Jack Mettemeyer on a touchdown pass. Little then hit Brian Douglas with a 2-point conversion pass for a 28-21 lead going into the break.
That was as close as Quincy would get. Little re-entered the game in the fourth quarter and led the Blue Devils on their final scoring drive, connecting with Jason Johannessen on a 9-yard TD pass with 9:55 to play.
The Blue Devils passed for more than 300 yards on the night. Byquist finished 8 for 28 for 175 yards, while Little was 11 for 21 for 137 yards. Quince led all Quincy receivers with 192 yards on eight catches.
Riley Fuller led the Maroons’ ground game with 252 yards on 37 carries.
Quincy will try to bounce back next week at East Moline.
“I like the direction our team is headed in,” Rick Little said.