8/24 7:30 @
2004 1A State Finals vs.Alexis (United)(12-2)
Title, Ball, Slip Away
Champaign (Memorial Stadium) - When small schools come together, big things happen. Alexis United, a new consolidation of Monmouth (Warren) and Alexis high schools, started their first State Championship game with some big plays.
Greg McGraw of Alexis United ran in a 1 yard touchdown after a 67 yard drive by the United offense in the first seven minutes of the game.
Stockton got the ball back on a kickoff but soon had to punt unable to convert. United's Tyler Nelson ran the ball back for an 82 yard punt return touchdown, helping the Red Storm jump out to a 14-0 lead.
Stockton took advantage of an United fumble, recovered by Trent Shelton and drove the ball 51 yards, before capping it off on a 1 yard touchdown run by Kyle Korth. A failed 2 point conversion still had the Blackhawks down by 8, as the score remained unchanged going into the half.
After halftime, United continued to dominate the time of possession and besting Stockton's defense by gaining almost 200 more yards than the Blackhawk offense , by the end of the third quarter.
The Red Storm scored a third time after a 9 play, 67 yard drive. Jared VanFleet of walked in for a 3 yard touchdown and the games deciding score.
Stockton's offense may have found their answer to the Storm defense just a little to late in the game though. Korth & the Stockton offense blazed down the field with some help from the Stockton offensive line. As they put up a 10 play, 91 yard drive ending with 8 points.
After forcing United to go 3 and out on their next 2 possessions. Stockton would be their own worst enemy.
With 2:35 left to play. Stockton would get the ball on their own 39 yard line after David Heidenreich return a United punt for 11 yards. But sophomore defensive back Corey Rundle would knock the ball out of Stockton's Pete Loehr's hands after he gained just 1 yard on a run on their first play from scimmage.
In a mad scramble, Stockton players would see the ball roll out of reach and into the arms of United's Greg McGraw, just as they'd watch their shot at a title dwindle away with the seconds of the clock after VanFleet ran for 7 yards on a 4th and 1. Helping United keep the ball & the clock rolling to capture their first state title in football.
by Vincent Johnson
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