IVC season ends with shut out loss to Taylorville, 28-0

Drew Veskauf TimesNewspapers
A host of Grey Ghosts take down the Taylorville quarterback in the back field.

It was a somber night at Taylor Field as 16 seniors took the field for one last time. The IVC varsity football team fell to visiting Taylorville, 28-0.

“We had a good group and a fun group to coach I told them. They came and worked hard pretty much every time and it was a pleasure to come to practice with them,” coach Tim Heinz said.

Although the loss was a shutout, the Grey Ghosts offense and defense connected on several plays and pressured their foe until the end.

The IVC defense forced four punts and one turnover on the Tornadoes.

The first Tornado punt came on the first possession of the game. Senior Riley Beard made sure a complete past didn’t get far for just a 1-yard reception. He was on coverage again on third-and-9 to force the fourth down punt.

Taylorville responded on its next possession with the first touchdown of the game with 6:29 on the clock in the first quarter.

The Grey Ghosts then took the ball on its own 28-yard line from junior Luke Patty’s 24-yard kick off return.

Thirty yards rushing by senior Andy Culbertson, 15 by sophomore quarterback Jordan Mercer on keepers and a 17-yard reception from Patty got IVC on Taylorville’s 18-yard line. IVC was held and a 35-yard field goal kick went wide left to keep IVC off the board.

“When you get the ball inside the 5 or 10, we had our opportunities to get in, but we just didn’t score. We had a few plays to do that,” Heinz said.

Despite the efforts, Taylorville countered with a three-play, 80-yard drive to take the 14-0 lead.

With three plays, IVC took possession into the second quarter and followed up with a 38-yard drive to get on the Tornadoes 7. On the drive, the Grey Ghosts were stopped and on fourth-and-3, Beard swooped in on the snap on a fake punt to rush down 40 yards. Culbertson and Mercer couldn’t get past Taylorville’s defenders and another field goal went awry from a faulty snap.

To stop the Tornadoes next attack, Beard stepped up again for a six-yard sack to push Taylorville back to fourth-and-13 and punting once again.

“(Beard’s) a good player. He fights for everything. You know, he’s got that wrestler mentality. He’s the only one on the mat so he flies around,” Heinz said. “He’s a good player and has played very hard on the varsity level for three years for us. He really has.”

In the start of the third quarter, IVC was forced to punt again and gave the ball back to Taylorville. The Tornadoes faulted with its possession and coverage by sophomore Alec Buob in the endzone broke up a big pass to stop a possible touchdown.

The Tornadoes struggled for its third touchdown of the night in the fourth just inching its way down the field, but was finally successful with 8:06 left on the clock.

It wasn’t the case on the fourth touchdown from Taylorville, needing just two plays to get in the endzone.

Closing out their IVC football careers were seniors Sam Christian, Andrew McMorrow, Noah Gould, Jake Lauber, Drew Dunn, Connor Gillespie, Chase Dietrich, Jordan Ladd, JD Jezek, Brendon Bangert, John Mattingly, Tom Bohannon, Nick Destefano, Trey Batey, Beard and Culbertson.

“I’m very proud of them. Our defense played hard and our offense moved the ball good,” Heinz said. “I was very proud of the way we played, but we just didn’t make the plays.”

Sophomore quarterback Jordan Mercer goes to launch a pass with senior Andy Culbertson providing the blocks Friday against Taylorville.