SYCAMORE — Sycamore football held a 28-point lead at halftime, but Antioch made things interesting with some trick plays in the second half.
Senior quarterback Nick Feuerbach couldn’t have described the game any better.
“We came up with the win. That is the main goal and we got it down,” Feuerbach said. “Now, onto next week.”
Despite two onside kicks and a fake punt that Antioch (5-5) ran successfully, the Spartans' senior quarterback led Sycamore (10-0) to a 48-24 victory Saturday in the first round of the IHSA Class 5A playoffs.
The Spartans advance to the second round of the IHSA playoffs where they will play Nazareth Academy on the road.
Feuerbach gained 144 yards of total offense and scored three touchdowns in the win.
“I thought we did really well. We gave up some points in the second half. They did a few trick plays and got an onside kick,” Sycamore head coach Joe Ryan said. “They are going to keep playing in the playoffs. We only punted the ball once and we stopped their run. And that was the key to what we thought would be successful for us.”
After Antioch’s first possession of the game ended in a missed field goal, the Sycamore offense took over and went 80 yards on 16 plays for a touchdown. Riley Hurley punched it in from 1-yard out and the Spartans led, 7-0.
“You can’t simulate the things that they do and you have to catch up to it. So, we were just trying to catch up to it a little bit,” Ryan said. “It was a good stop to force the field goal and the missed helped us. And taking it right down on a 16-play drive to start the game for us was important.”
Sycamore scored three more times in the first half, including a Ben Niemann 59-yard punt return for a touchdown, and rushing touchdowns from Dion Hooker and Feuerbach.
Antioch pulled out all of the stops to begin the second half. The Sequoits recovered the half’s opening kickoff and eventually scored. Antioch would recover another onside kick but the Sycamore defense shut them down this time.
The Spartans’ next possession ended when Feuerbach found Devin Mottet for a 9-yard touchdown completion. Mottet, who was the starting quarterback for eight weeks before an injury saw him miss the regular-season finale, wanted to play in this game any way he could.
“Devin didn’t have a lot of reps this week. He stepped in and made sure he wanted to play because you never know that this may be your last game,” Ryan said. “And he didn’t want this to be his last game. And obviously, that touchdown catch for him was nice.”
Hooker led all running backs with 19 rushes for 235 yards and two touchdowns. The junior tailback praised his offensive line for his performance.
“All of their assignments – they just followed the keys and they did a great job,” Hooker said. “Sometimes (the holes) aren’t going to be there all of the time, but you just have to wait for it and watch it happen.”