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Spartans' playoff berth clinched with authority

SYCAMORE – It was evident early Sycamore receiver Ben Niemann could beat Yorkville’s cornerback in a footrace.

Junior quarterback Devin Mottet helped lead him to the finish line.

The quarterback-receiver combination hooked up for three long touchdown passes in the first half, and Sycamore ended the regular season with a dominating 44-0 victory over Yorkville at home.

“We put up 44 points, which is always great,” Niemann said. “Going into the playoffs, that’s a huge win, big momentum and gives us lots of confidence.”

With its sixth victory of the season, Sycamore (6-3, 3-2 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) officially clinched a playoff spot for the fourth consecutive season.

Sycamore’s first-round opponent will be determined tonight when the IHSA releases the pairings on Comcast SportsNet starting at 8.

On the Spartans’ opening possession, Niemann took a bubble screen 39 yards on fourth down for the initial score. On the next drive, Mottet found Niemann down the left sideline for a 31-yard touchdown, and Sycamore jumped out to an early 13-0 lead.

The Spartans defense held Yorkville (3-6, 0-5) to a 49 yards of offense for the game, including 10 yards on the ground.

“Any time you get a shutout, that’s really good,” Sycamore coach Joe Ryan said. “And the way we did, I don’t think they got many first downs.”

Senior running back Austin Culton put Sycamore up by 20 with a 3-yard touchdown run, and Mottet and Niemann connected on a 48-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to make it a 27-0 lead in the second quarter.

Mottet didn’t play in the second half after injuring his ankle, but Culton added another short rushing touchdown and backup quarterback Nick Feuerbach’s rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter capped the scoring for Sycamore.

“Six-and-3 is a good season,” Nie-mann said. “We’re happy. We have a chance to host a first-round playoff game, but there’s always things, in the three losses you think back and what we could’ve done differently.”

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