HERRIN — The Herrin defense held a potent West Frankfort rushing attack in check and picked up a 52-6 win Friday in SIRR Ohio Division prep football.
The Tigers (6-1, 4-0) limited the Redbirds to just 101 rushing yards and clinched at least a share of the conference championship as well.
“I’m pleased, and tonight was a good overall team effort,” said Herrin coach Jason Karnes. “I was really impressed with our defense. Our defense has been playing well since Week 4 against Benton. Anytime you can hold this West Frankfort team to six points and around 100 yards rushing it’s a good day. But their quarterback is a tough kid.”
Kyle Matuszczak and Tate Johnson scored rushing touchdowns in the first quarter to make it 14-0 Herrin.
West Frankfort quarterback Connor Eaton threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Hammers early in the second quarter. The Redbirds (4-3, 2-2) pulled to within 14-6.
But the Redbirds couldn’t do much on offense after that. Herrin defensive back Chase Flowers delivered 11 tackles and intercepted a pass.
“All week we practiced real hard and studied their offense so we’d have it down,” Flowers said. “Whatever they ran, we were just ready for it. It’s good to share the conference championship right now, but we want to come out next Friday and win it. We don’t want to share it.”
Chance Karnes threw a 41-yard scoring pass to Jackson Yates, which gave the Tigers a 21-6 advantage with 3:36 left before halftime. Jake Baumgarte booted a 43-yard field goal just before halftime for a 24-6 lead.
West Frankfort lost three fumbles and had a pass picked off as well.
“We didn’t play a good enough game, and we were too sloppy to beat a team like Herrin,” said West Frankfort coach Brian Beery. “You’re not going to be able to compete at this level against a team this big when you take care of the ball like that. I can’t wait to watch film and learn from this. I want to know why we weren’t able to run the ball like we normally do.”
Jase Gosha rushed for 103 yards in the second half and crossed 1,000 yards for the season. Johnson scored three touchdowns and rushed for 137 yards on just 10 carries.
Eaton ran for 62 yards for West Frankfort, and Madison Allen added 42 rushing yards.
But the story of this game was Herrin’s great defensive effort.
“Flowers got his opportunity this year as a senior and he’s a great kid,” Karnes said. “He flies around the field, and I’m very happy for him, especially to do this on Homecoming night.”