STANFORD — The Rantoul offense scored early but not often as the Eagles fell to Olympia on Friday night 27-7.
After a fumble by the Eagles in the first minute of the game Olympia was able to jump out to 7-0 after the Spartans quarterback Ethan Davis found Hayden Stork for a 21-yard touchdown pass.
Following another turnover Olympia added a 24-yard field goal to take a 10-0 lead.
Rantoul head coach Tom Hess said that not having the ball a lot paired with turnovers was the main problem for the Eagles.
“For the first time in my three years as head coach the other team possesed the ball more than we did,” Hess said.
The Eagles were able to move down the field fast when Robert Bufford got into the end zone on an eight yard rush. The touchdown cut the Spartans lead to 10-7 after Jesus Aguayo made the extra-point.
Both defenses were very strong after the high scoring first quarter . The second and third quarter were scoreless by both teams.
Hess was pleased with his defenses performance.
“Our defense was very solid through the first three quarters,” Hess said “I was proud with how we stuck together. Sometimes when you’re losing you tend to fight with each other but we were able to stay together as a team.”
Olympia was able to get back on the board with 9:28 to go on an Ethan Keedy one-yard touchdown run.
The dagger came to the Eagles when Keedy struck again from 35-yards out this time to make the score 24-7 with just 5:07 to go.
The Spartans added a 32-yard field goal with under a minute to go to set the final score 27-7.
Hess knows keeping the confidence moving forward is going to be tough following the 0-3 start but he says they can do it.
“The message moving forward is to focus. Focus on what we need to do to win and really focus on our assingments,” Hess said.
The defense has been the bright spot so far for Rantoul but scoring points has been a struggle.
“We need out playmakers to start making plays,” Hess said.
The Eagles now get the defending 3A state champion Monticello Sages on Friday night.
Hess knows how difficult of a matchup the Sages can be.
“They are very tough, hard nose kids who are well coached and work hard,” Hess said.
The Sages are 2-1 to start the year defeating Olympia and St. Thomas More. The loss came in week two against the Grey Ghost of Chillocothe Illinois Valley Central 40-14.
Despite the tough matchup Hess believes in his team.
“They are very good, but they’re not the same team from last year,” Hess said. “We need to come out and play hard and execute to give ourselves a chance to win.”
Monticello defeated Rantoul 50-0 last season.
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