St. Joseph-Ogden dropped a 48-16 contest to their long-time rival Unity Rockets in an Illini Prairie Conference tilt at Hicks Field in Tolono last Friday.
SJO began the game on offense and had a nice, sustained drive, using junior running back Keaton Nolan on nearly all the first drive plays. Nolan would finish the game with 26 carries for 141 yards and a fourth quarter rushing touchdown.
However, the story of the game was the high-powered Unity offense, led by quarterback Blake Kimball through the air and running back Lane Innes on the ground. Kimball wasted no time turning Spartan stalled drives into points, finding Innes for a 40-yard score early, then hooking up with Nate Drennan for 81 yards that took the wind out of the SJO sails. Innes would find the endzone again late in the first quarter on a 22-yard jaunt, and just like that, the Rockets led 21-0 at the end of one quarter of play.
The Spartans couldn’t muster much on offense for much of the first half, going three and out on several occasions and trailing 28-0 going into the halftime locker room. SJO quarterback Evan Ingram finished the game 6-16 for 132 yards with a fourth quarter touchdown to senior Jackson Rydell that totaled 57 yards.
Rydell, as if shot out of a cannon, streaked down the middle of the field and Ingram found him, and Rydell increased his speed in outrunning the Unity defenders in giving some semblance of life to the SJO offense.
Rydell finished the game with two receptions for 83 yards, while three other Spartan receivers, Brock Innes (1-2), Alex Funk (1-17) and Brady Buss (2-30), caught passes from Ingram.
SJO (1-3, 1-2) tackled Unity backup signal caller Cade Rawdin in the endzone on a misdirection play late in the game to record a safety, arriving at the final score.
The Spartans will return home this coming Friday evening to battle the Saints of Bloomington Central Catholic in their final home game of this unique, truncated spring season. BCC defeated Pontiac 48-12 on Friday night in Bloomington and come into the game with the Spartans at 1-3 overall.
Game time on Friday evening from SJO will begin at 7 p.m.