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Ghosts to host playoff game at 1 p.m. Saturday



It came as no surprise that the Illinois Valley Central Grey Ghosts dominated their final regular-season opponent on senior night Friday to send them into the State playoffs with a perfect 9-0 record.


Ghosts to host playoff game at 1 p.m. Saturday

It came as no surprise that the Illinois Valley Central Grey Ghosts dominated their final regular-season opponent on senior night Friday to send them into the State playoffs with a perfect 9-0 record.

The Ghosts defeated Limestone, 35-7, despite muddy, rainy and cold weather and a sudden in change in quarterback.

“It means a lot to be a senior leader,” Cody Kentzel, Friday night’s QB, said. “It’s a lot of fun to help other kids learn to play your position for when you’re gone.”

Kentzel, who normally starts at running back, took over quarterback duties for the injured Brock Adcock, who may miss the rest of the season due to an emergency appendectomy Thursday night.

Adcock was expected to be examined by his doctor earlier in the week to determine whether or not he will be able to play in the playoffs.

“It was a little different to come out and play quarterback,” Kentzel said. “I had to be more of a leader on the field. It’s a different mindset to come out and be calmer instead of pumped up.”

Before the game, the team honored this year’s senior class of Kentzel, Keegan Horack, Nick Brenner, Shannon Zwicky, Justin McCallister, Shane Hornibrook, Kyle Doerr, Scott Hale, Luke Bartlett, Vince Robinson, Derek Moran, Harley Williams, Brandon Wendler, Ross Romane, John Hess, Thomas Foley, Chris Martin and Brandon Phelps.

“Going 9-0 doesn’t happen very often, so the kids are very excited about it,” coach Tim Heinz said.
Kentzel, a three-year player, has noticed changes in the team over his time playing for the Ghosts.

“We were more of a pass offense when I started, now we run a lot more than my sophomore year,” Kentzel said. “On defense, we swarm to the ball more now than we used to.”

Limestone received the opening kick on senior night, but the Ghost defense forced them to punt near mid-field.

The Ghost offense was forced to punt but got the ball back after another defensive stand from the stingy IVC defense.

Junior running back Dan Semtner picked up the first down with three runs.

Kentzel showed off his skills by scrambling to get the Ghosts to the Limestone 31.

“I thought he did a good job at quarterback,” Heinz said. “My biggest concern was his ability to get the snap because he hadn’t practiced it a lot, but he did a good job with it.”

Semtner then punched the ball in on runs of 13 and 18 yards.

After a missed point-after-try, the Ghosts were up, 6-0.

After a three and out by Limestone, the Ghosts moved the ball, thanks to runs from Semtner and junior Jake Innis.

On third and goal from the one, Semtner bulled his way into the endzone for the touchdown.

The Ghosts lined up for the PAT but, instead, surprise snapped the ball to junior Jared Lauber, who went in for the two-point conversion, putting IVC up, 14-0.

The Rockets were forced to another third down and did not convert it when Foley batted down the Limestone pass.

After IVC received the punt, the offense moved the ball down the field with more grinding runs from Semtner and Innis.

On second and goal, Semtner sped the ball in 4 yards for the touchdown.

“We ran the ball well and the offensive line really controlled the line,” Heinz said.

Horack threw a quick pass to Kentzel, who scored the two-point conversion to put IVC up, 22-0, at halftime.

IVC started the second half with the ball but was forced to punt.

The Ghosts received the ball back after Limestone turned it over on downs.

“We were really all over the place on defense and did a good job putting pressure on their quarterback,” Heinz said.

After short runs and a lost fumble that the Ghosts recovered, IVC was faced with fourth and 15 on the Rocket 30-yard line.

Needing a big gain to keep the drive going, Kentzel stepped up in the pocket and slung a 30-yard pass to junior Trever Black for the touchdown.

After the PAT, IVC was up, 29-0.

Two plays later, the Ghosts took the ball back when Semtner plucked a Limestone pass out of the air for an interception.

Innis and sophomore Tommy Jenkins ran the ball down the field until Jenkins took the ball in 4 yards for the Ghosts’ final touchdown of the game.

IVC was up, 35-0, after the PAT and went on to win, 35-7.

The Ghosts sent in the rest of the team for playing time and to run time off the clock.

The Ghosts are seeded first in the lower 4-A bracket of the State playoffs and will play Kankakee McNamara in the first round.

The Fighting Irish, a 5-4 team, is a perennial contender in a tough Catholic school league.

IVC (9-0) next plays at 1 p.m. Saturday at home.

Tickets will be on sale at the gates for $4.

Gates open at 11:30 a.m.