IVC football dominates Kankakee

Justin Miller
Jake Innis, left, prepares to run while Jesse Hall gets ready to block for him.

After starting the season with a loss to Dunlap, the Illinois Valley Central football team has ripped off two straight wins, including a 31-15 beating of Kankakee Friday night on the road.

“I thought we did pretty good and we did well with most of our assignments,” coach Tim Heinz said. “We also had some guys step up and play great when guys went down with injuries.”

Kankakee took the ball to start the game but, several plays into the drive, Sherrarr Tate jumped his receiver’s route and plucked an interception out of the air.

The Ghosts then moved the ball down the field with bruising runs from Jake Innis and a clutch scramble from Tate when the pocket broke down.

Innis closed the drive when he flung himself into the end zone from the 1-yard line.

After Jesse Hall’s point after try, IVC was up, 7-0.

The Fighting Kays, however, would not give up so easily and began to churn out yards on the ground.

After moving into Ghost territory, the Kays powered the ball into the end zone to tie the game at seven.

Despite clutch runs from Innis and Tate, the Ghosts were unable to move the ball out of their own territory and Kankakee recovered an IVC fumble.

Not wanting to give Kankakee the lead, the Ghost defense dug deep and pummeled the Kankakee ball carrier to force a fumble which Roman Razo recovered near the 45-yard line.

“We got better on defense again this week,” Heinz said. “We gave up a couple breakout runs, but that’s going to happen when you play teams that have really good athletes. We just need to shore that up and try not to let that happen again.”

Due to an ankle injury to Tate earlier in the quarter, Hall played quarterback for IVC for the rest of the game.

“The trainer looked at him and it’s just a sprained ankle,” Heinz said. “I’d imagine he’ll play next week but I’ll know more during the week.”

The Ghosts quickly capitalized on the turnover when Tommy Jenkins dodged his way through down the field to move into Kankakee territory.

Despite great runs from Hall and Jenkins, the drive stalled deep in Kankakee territory.

Rather than go for the first down on fourth-and-5, the team called on Hall to kick and he hit a 33-yard field goal to put IVC up, 10-7, going into halftime.

Innis gave the Ghosts a spark right out of the gate to start the second half when he flew down the field for a 40-yard kickoff return.

On the second play from scrimmage of the half, Innis again turned on the afterburners and flew into the end zone on a 30-yard run.

IVC took a 17-7 lead after the PAT.

The Kays did nothing with the ball and punted it back to the potent Ghost offense.

After several big runs by Jenkins to move into Kankakee territory, and a key pass to Konnor Smithson, the Ghosts faced fourth-and-one.

IVC would have to do nothing to pick up the first down as Kankakee jumped offside.

Two plays later, Jenkins powered his way 3 yards into the end zone to give IVC a 24-7 lead.

IVC scored the first goal in the final quarter when the team put together a drive that resulted in a 32-yard touchdown run from Jenkins.

Kankakee scored once more but IVC went on to win.

The Ghosts next play at 7 p.m. Friday at home against Peoria Richwoods in IVC’s first game in the Mid-State 6 for the season.

“The team is going to again face a team with great athletes,” Heinz said. “We have to do a good job on our assignments and not have the mental mistakes and penalties. We are going to have to play an almost perfect game to beat Richwoods.”