By Mike Carpinelli
Four more state champions were crowned in Champaign on Saturday, joining Sacred Heart-Griffin (Class 4A), IC Catholic (Class 3A), St. Teresa (Class 2A) and Lena-Winslow (Class 1A) as Illinois high school football champions for the 2022 season.
Here is a quick look at Saturday's action:
Class 5A: Nazareth Academy defeated Peoria 45-44
The 5A state championship was a thriller as Nazareth Academy was able to hold on for a 45-44 victory. Peoria scored with just over 5 minutes to play, but the Roadrunners' defense was able to stuff the 2-point conversion attempt to maintain their one-point lead. Peoria had another possession, but the Roadrunners intercepted a pass with under 2 minutes to play to ice the game.
After starting the season 2-4, Nazareth won their final eight games of the season to earn the 5A state championship crown, marking the first time a team has rallied back from a 2-4 start and won the title. This is Nazareth’s fourth championship since 2014.
Player(s) of the Game: Roadrunner sophomore quarterback Logan Malachuk led the offensive effort with 245 yards through the air and four total touchdowns (two passing and two rushing). Peoria running back Malachi Washington was tough to bring down as he had 47 carries for 273 yards and six touchdowns in the loss.
Class 6A: East St. Louis defeated Prairie Ridge 57-7
After allowing Prairie Ridge to score on their opening possession, East St. Louis took over as they ran away with 57 unanswered points to close out the game (including 28 in the third quarter). In a rematch of the 2019 6A title game in which East St. Louis also won, the Flyer’s showcased their talent on Saturday and the Wolves could not match it.
The East St. Louis offense racked up 569 yards of offense, which was just short of the 6A title game record of 611.
Player(s) of the Game: TaRyan Martin ran wild and scored three touchdowns to pace the Flyer’s offensive effort. Prairie Ridge quarterback Tyler Vasey finished off his historic season with 107 yards on the ground and a touchdown.
Class 7A: Mount Carmel defeated Batavia 44-20
Mount Carmel would not be denied a perfect season in the 7A state championship game as the Caravan took care of Batavia. Loyola Academy opened the scoring with four Blainey Dowling touchdown passes to take a comfortable 28-0 lead in the first half. The Bulldogs were able to get in the end zone twice before halftime but Mount Carmel controlled the game in the second half.
This championship marks the 14th state title in the Mount Carmel football program’s history.
Player of the Game: Senior quarterback Blainey Dowling paced the Caravan offense as he completed 25 of 40 passes for 262 yards and four touchdowns.
Class 8A: Loyola Academy defeated Lincoln-Way East 13-3
Loyola got this game started off with a score on the first play of the game after the Ramblers ran a flea flicker and senior all-state quarterback Jake Stearney connected with Declan Forde for an 80-yard touchdown pass.
Lincoln-Way East got on the board with a field goal in the second quarter and trailed just 7-3 at halftime. Stearney found Forde for another touchdown in the third quarter to make it 13-3 and the Loyola defense was solid the rest of the way.
The Caravan earned their fourth state title and finished the season with a 13-1 record.
Player(s) of the Game: Stearney, an All-state quarterback, was solid in completing 14 of 19 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Forde caught three passes for 110 yards, including both of Stearney’s touchdowns, as the duo handled the scoring effort for Loyola.
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For updates and complete statewide results, bookmark our Illinois high school football scoreboard: STATEWIDE ILLINOIS FOOTBALL SCOREBOARD