CHAMPAIGN — Illinois Valley Central fell to Champaign St. Thomas More 42-41 in a back-and-forth football game on Friday.

Bryson Lee had a passing and rushing touchdown early in the first quarter to put the Sabers (2-2, 2-2) ahead 14-0.

IVC quarterback Alex Merlo had a 2-yard rushing touchdown to end the first quarter as the deficit was cut to 14-6.

Merlo had a 34-yard run as the Grey Ghosts (1-3, 1-3) tied the game at 14-14 with 9:16 left in the second quarter.

Lee busted loose for a 65-yard rushing touchdown as STM regained the lead 20-14 in the second.

Ethan Kempf rushed into the end zone from 5-yards out to help IVC take a 21-20 lead in the third quarter.

Lee ran in for a 66-yard touchdown to give STM a 28-21 lead, but the Grey Ghosts quickly responded as Merlo cut the deficit to 28-27 with a 5-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

Merlo connected with Nick Alahi for a 10-yard score as IVC grabbed a 35-28 lead in the fourth. Lee rushed in from 15-yards out to cut the Sabers' deficit to 35-34 in the fourth.

Merlo had a 52-yard rushing score as IVC grabbed a 41-34 lead, but Lee found Dawson Magrini for a 46-yard touchdown as STM set the final, 42-41 in the closing seconds.

Merlo went 12-of-23 with 156 passing yards. He had 21 carries and 150 rushing yards as well. Kempf had 23 carries for 104 yards.

Lee finished 15-of-24 for 261 passing yards and had 15 carries for 164 yards on the ground.