Red Devils Control Crown, 44-20

Photo courtesy of Mollie Albrecht.
Photo courtesy of Mollie Albrecht.

EUREKA, Ill. -- The Eureka College football team outgained its Upper Midwest Athletic Conference opponent by more than 125 yards for the third consecutive outing and held possession for more than 38 minutes in a 44-20 UMAC rout of Crown, Saturday afternoon at McKinzie Field.

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The Red Devils wasted little time attacking the Storm Saturday, forcing a Crown three-and-out to begin the game and following with a seven-play, 57-yard scoring drive. LeAnthony Reasnover (Momence, Ill./Momence H.S.) scored on a 2-yard run for a 7-0 lead at the 9:26 mark of the first quarter.

Crown briefly pulled even later in the period when Taylor Watkins found David McIntosh with a 51-yard touchdown strike along the sideline. The extra point tied the score at 7-7 with 3:40 left in the first quarter.

The 7-7 deadlock was short-lived. Reasnover scored on a 9-yard rush on the fourth play of the second quarter for a 14-7 lead. The Red Devils doubled their lead on the next series when Rhett Rondinelli (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton H.S.) beat the Crown coverage and hauled in Nick Holman's (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.) 57-yard touchdown throw for a 21-7 lead. Crown threatened to cut into its deficit late in the half, but the Eureka defense ultimately answered the challenge and forced a turnover on downs at the Eureka 9 in the final minute, allowing EC to carry the two-score lead into halftime.

Eureka started to put the game out of reach early in the third quarter. Holman found Rondinelli again, this time on a short route near the line of scrimmage, allowing the Eureka freshman to burst down the sideline untouched for a 58-yard score and a 28-7 lead.

Reasnover delivered his third touchdown rush of the game later in the third quarter, breaking free on a 21-yard touchdown and a 35-7 lead.

The Eureka defense got into the act on the next Crown series. An illegal block on a botched kickoff return forced the Storm to start the series on its own 3. Trever Zeibert (Monee, Ill./Peotone H.S.) broke into the CC backfield on the next play, dropping Damien Jeffries in the end zone for a safety and a 37-7 lead.

Nasir Phillips (Aurora, Ill./East Aurora H.S.) provided Eureka's final score of the day, a 4-yard rush for a 44-7 advantage with 1:06 remaining in the third quarter. Crown scored a pair of touchdowns in the final quarter to set the final 44-20 score.

Rondinelli exploded for 146 receiving yards and two scores on four grabs, Eureka's highest receiving yardage total since Matt Mogged had 154 against Westminster on Oct. 5, 2013. Reasnover added 131 rushing yards on 24 carries to become Eureka's first 2,500-yard rusher since Greg McBroom in 2001. He scored three times and now has 30 career rushing touchdowns, four shy of tying Derrick Harris (1991-93) for the all-time Eureka record. Holman was 8-for-11 for 183 yards and two scores.

The Eureka defense continued its strong play, limiting Crown to 271 yards of total offense and 12 first downs. Josh Mead (Tampico, Ill./Bureau Valley H.S.) and Logan Noel (Westville, Ill./Westville H.S.) shared the team lead with six tackles. Zeibert had 1.5 tackles for loss and combined with Matt Gibson (Princeton, Ill./Princeton H.S.) for a quarterback sack.

Eureka will return to the road for a 6 p.m. UMAC kickoff at Iowa Wesleyan next Saturday in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.