YORKVILLE – Ben Niemann had himself one heck of a night Friday.
The Sycamore senior made plays on both offense and defense in the Spartans’ 41-7 win over Yorkville, which gave Sycamore (9-0, 5-0 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) the outright conference title.
The Spartans’ conference championship is their first outright league crown since 1981, when they won the Little Seven Conference. It also is the first undefeated regular season for Sycamore since 1978.
“That’s always our first goal,” Sycamore coach Joe Ryan said. “You win this conference, you’ve done some work. I’m so proud of our kids.”
Niemann caught four passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, and with Sycamore leading 7-0 in the first quarter, Niemann picked up a fumble by Foxes (5-4, 2-3 NI Big 12 East) running back Malcom Levy and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown. The fumble was forced by Michael Stinnett.
Later in the period, he caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from Nick Feuerbach in double coverage.
“I just went up and got it,” Niemann said. “[Feuerbach] gave me a chance to make a play so I just went up and got one for our team.”
Niemann gave the Spartans a 28-point lead in the second quarter, taking a screen pass 73 yards to the house.
Feuerbach came on in relief of an injured Devin Mottet in the second half of last week’s win over Kaneland, and made his first start of the season Friday with Mottet still out.
Feuerbach finished the game 7 of 8 passing for 202 yards and three touchdowns, and had a 9-yard touchdown run as well.
Sycamore didn’t only have success through the air. Junior tailback Dion Hooker ran 22 times for 133 yards behind a great performance from the offensive line.
“I always hold judgment until I see the tape,” Ryan said. “But I thought they played really well and got to the second level, made the free safety make a lot of tackles.”