Mattoon Downs Hearts in Apollo Battle

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Published on October 12 2013 3:58 am
Last Updated on October 15 2013 8:24 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Video from the Senior Night ceremony before the game is located here.

The Mattoon Green Wave were judged by many at the start of the high school football season as the favorites to win the Apollo Conference championship.

They showed the stuff of a champion Friday night in defeating the Effingham Hearts 46-28 on Senior Night at Klosterman Field.  The game was heard on 979XFM and www.979xfm.com

The game was a battle between two teams sitting at 3-0 in conference play, but Mattoon pulled away early, leading 12-0 after one quarter and 25-0 at halftime.

Mattoon scored with 7:36 left in the first quarter on a drive set up by a punt return to the Hearts' 13-yard line.  Four plays later, running Jacob Stephens took it in from four yards out to make it 6-0.  The Green Wave scored again with 1:11 left in the first quarter on a run of less than one yard by Stephens to cap a 15-play, 53-yard drive to make it 12-0.

The Green Wave scored with 5:53 remaining in the second quarter on a 32-yard pass from quarterback Jared Pilson to Travis Kittell to end a seven-play, 73-yard drive that made it 18-0 and Mattoon scored again on a three-play, 77-yard drive completed via a 69-yard pass play from Pilson to Stephens.  This time, the Green Wave converted and led it 25-0 heading into halftime.

The third quarter was wild, as five touchdowns were scored between the two squads.

The Hearts scored on a two-play, 56-yard drive highlighted by Billy Arndt's 53-yard touchdown run and Michael Carie's kick to make it 25-7 with 11:15 left in the third quarter, but Mattoon came right back on a 65-yard pass play from Pilson to Malik Joyner with 10:57 left in the quarter and the extra point to make it 32-7. 

Photo by Gary Stanfield of Riviera Records in Effingham. Check out Gary's work by clicking here.

Mattoon scored again with 7:22 left in the third to conclude a two-play, 61-yard drive on a 61-yard touchdown run by Pilson.  The kick made it 39-7.  Effingham bounced back, though, on a three-play, 59-yard drive capped by a 48-yard pass play from quarterback Dylan Wolff to Marcus Robinson and Carie's kick to move back within 39-14.  However, Mattoon's Payton Hartbank ran the kickoff back 94 yards for a score and the kick made it 46-14.

Effingham scored twice in the fourth quarter.  Robinson caught another touchdown pass, this one good for 26 yards that with Carie's kick made it 46-21 and Matt Wohltman made a spectacular one-handed catch that he gathered to his chest as he hit the turf just inside a corner of the end zone and that and Carie's extra-point kick accounted for the final score.

Mattoon racked up 437 total yards to 368 for Effingham.  The Hearts had the edge on the ground, gaining 224 yards to 163 for Mattoon.  The Hearts gained 179 yards rushing in just the second half.

The aerial attack was the difference, though.  Mattoon gained 274 yards through the air while Effingham only gained 144 passing yards.

Effingham ran 65 plays from scrimmage, compared to 57 by Mattoon.  Each team picked up 17 first downs.

Photo by Gary Stanfield of Riviera Records in Effingham. Check out Gary's work by clicking here.

Zach Miller again led the Hearts in rushing with 79 yards on 17 carries.  Dylan Wolff rushed eight times for 39 yards, Billy Arndt carried twice for 58 yards, Tyler Myers carried three times for 18 yards, Avery Brooks picked up 22 yards on four carries, and Griffin Paige gained one yard on a carry.

Wolff attempted 27 passes and connected on eight for 144 yards and three touchdowns.  Marcus Robinson had two touchdown receptions for 74 yards and Matt Wohltman caught four passes for 76 yards and a touchdown.  Zach Miller caught a pass for -11 yards and Tyler Myers caught a five-yard pass.

For Mattoon, Pilson carried 11 times for 63 yards and a score, Stephens rushed 12 times for 34 yards and two touchdowns, and Garrett Rice rushed seven times for 66 yards.

Pilson attempted 22 passes and connected on 15 for 274 yards and three touchdowns.  Pilson, who didn't play the fourth quarter, set an all-time record for touchdown passes by a Mattoon quarterback in a season with 22 while setting an all-time record for passing yardage in a season.

On special teams, Michael Carie punted eight times for 288 yards and kicked off three times for 101 yards.  Jordan Coleman returned a punt for 18 yards and as far as kickoff returns, Travis Durbin had three kickoff returns for 58 yards, Tyler Myers two for 32 yards, and Trent Barnhart two for 25 yards.

Photo by Gary Stanfield of Riviera Records in Effingham. Check out Gary's work by clicking here.

On the tackle sheet, Travis Durbin again led the way with 10 tackles including four solos; Billy Arndt and Brandon Loy had seven each, Arndt with two solos and Loy with one; Noah Hagen and Khye Heuerman each had six stops, with Hagen recording four solos and Heuerman three; Payton Bushue and Griffin Paige each had five tackles, Bushue two solos and one for Paige; Evan Boggs and Trevor Murphy each had three tackles, Boggs with three solos and Murphy with two; Drew Vasquez, Matt Wohltman, Blaine Koester, Michael Carie with two stops each, Vasquez with two solos and Carie with two solos; and Joe Nieman, Alex Artola, Alec Stevenson and Grant Piggush each had a tackle, with Piggush's being a solo stop, and Trevor Murphy recovered a fumble.

Mattoon improved to 5-2 on the season, with the fifth win making them playoff-eligible, and 4-0 in the Apollo Conference to claim the lead in th conference.  The Hearts slipped to 3-4 for all games and 3-1 in the Apollo.  The Hearts' only hope to reach the postseason is to win the final two weeks, at Mt. Zion and at Mahomet-Seymour to get to five wins and then hope their large number of playoff points would get them into the postseason.