QUINCY – They had Notre Dame early, then had another shot late against the Raiders. In the end, however, the Coal City football team saw its season end in Quincy with a 33-14 loss to Quincy Notre Dame.
“We came out and everyone fought as hard as we could. We came out and had some success early,” Coal City senior tight end Nick Peters said. “It wasn’t like we had one fluke play, either. We drove the ball every time we had it. It just came down to a few yard here and a few yards there. I sure am hard how everybody fought.”
The Coalers scored first to lead 7-0. That came in the first quarter when quarterback Brennen Shetina ran in from a yard out with 8:04 left in the first quarter.
“We were prepared. We had an extra day of practice this week and we took advantage of that,” Coal City senior Kasey Kaiser said. “We played hard. Sometimes mistakes happen and they ended up with a big play.”
The first of those big plays came when Quincy defensive back Jordan Chapel intercepted a Shetina pass and the Raiders then drove 66 yards to get on the scoreboard.
“We battled. After making a long trip, I was very happy with that. The kids kept battling,” Coal City coach Lenny Onsen said. “The thing is, you don’t know how the team is going to respond to the long trip.
“We came out here, got on the scoreboard early and made some plays. We just didn’t have enough horses to finish things off today.”
It was the first of 12 unanswered points in the second quarter for the Raiders. The next touchdown came on another big play – a tipped pass from quarterback Joe McCaughey to Chapel that went 60 yards. Quincy then had the conversion run fail and it led just 12-7 at halftime.
Quincy would run that total to 26 unanswered before the Coal City scored again to make it 26-14.
With 7:45 left in the third quarter, McCaughey again connected with Chapel – this time for 65 yards and Ben Nord’s PAT kick made it 19-7. The score then went to 26-7 when Anders bolted up the middle for a 91-yard touchdown run.
“In the second half I guess they just came out and pushed us around a little bit,” Kaiser said. “They had some big plays that broke us a little bit. I don’t think it was anything we were doing, they just made some big plays.”
Coal City got back into the game when D.J. Budde scored on a 3-yard run with nine seconds left in the third.
Coal City then had a chance midway through the fourth quarter to get all the way back into the game. The Coalers had the ball on the Quincy 12-yard line with 7:32 left before turning it over on downs.
“We started moving the ball well. They kind of backed up their defense a bit, but we were making plays and catches and we were feeling really good,” Onsen said. “Then in the fourth down situation we were unable to make the play. But that shows how much the kids kept working. They were not ready to give up. The sidelines were very positive and Brennen looked very savvy back there. Nate Chapman made some nice catches. Lane Cowherd and ‘Petey’ [Nick Peters] made that one big catch over there. The kids were making plays, we just didn’t finish.”
Quincy then sealed the deal with the final scoring drive of the game. That cumulated in a 1-yard run by Brady Genenbacher with 3:19 to and Cooper Reis’ kick accounted for the final point of the day.
Coal City finishes the season with a 5-5 record.
“A couple of weeks ago, nobody thought we were going to get in. Everyone was looking at the playoff points and it came down to us having to win … then maybe we’d get a shot,” Peters said of the Coalers’ playoff appearance. “Then the pairings came out and a lot of people thought we were going to come down here and lose by 50. I think we really played well. Like I said, it came down to us being short a couple of yards here and a couple of yards there. One play or another and the game could have been turned.”