The Effingham Flaming Hearts defeated the Lincoln Railsplitters Friday 46-7 in an Apollo Conference matchup as well as the Flaming Hearts’ first home game.
Logan Brown helped set the tone, taking the opening handoff 23 yards. After he converted on a fourth-and-1 to the Railsplitters six yard line, Brown punched it in on the next play. The extra point was missed however, giving the Hearts a 6-0 lead.
On the ensuing defensive sequence, it was Brown who came up big, stopping the runner short on third-and-7 to force a punt.
After hitting Tristin Duncan and Jett Gillum for chunk gains, Chase Woomer punched it in from nine yards out to go up 13-0 with the extra point.
The Flaming Hearts defense stood strong on the ensuing defensive sequence, forcing yet another Railsplitters punt.
On the first play after receiving the punt, Shackelford round Duncan over the top for a 47-yard touchdown to go up 20-0 with 34 seconds remaining in the quarter.
After forcing another three-and-out, Shackelford found Gillum for a 21-yard gain, followed by a 16-yard pass to Duncan. After a run advanced the Hearts to the Railsplitter’s 39-yard line, Shackelford found Duncan again for a 39-yard score after breaking multiple tackles along the left side to go up 27-0 with just over seven minutes remaining.
But on the ensuing drive for Lincoln, the Railsplitters got its biggest play of the day on a 73-yard pass to Alex Bogdanic that led to an eventual five-yard touchdown run from Payton Anderson for what would prove to be Lincoln’s only score of the contest.
The Flaming Hearts would turn the ball over on its next offensive possession, but the defense forced a three-and-out.
With just over two minutes remaining in the first half, the Hearts turned the ball over.
With the Railsplitters looking to make the Flaming Hearts pay for back-to-back turnovers, Brown stepped up yet again, stripping the ball from the quarterback’s grasp into his own and took it the other way for a 67-yard touchdown to go up 33-7 at halftime.
The Flaming Hearts defense forced a punt on Lincoln’s first possession of the second half and after big first down passes to Gillum and Duncan, respectively, Brown punched it in for his second offensive score of the night to go up 40-7.
The Railsplitters looked like they were going to run the kickoff back for a touchdown, but Gunnar Franklin chased the returner down for a touchdown-saving tackle. On third-and-goal, Jacob Stoneburner picked off a pass in the end zone that was tipped by Jakob Logan to give the Hearts possession.
Looking to put the game to bed, Shackelford scrambled for a first down on a third-and-11 to extend the drive before finding Duncan for a 22-yard gain.
Woomer was the feature back on the possession, earning a nine-yard gain before converting a fourth-and-1 try to the three-yard line. Woomer was then able to cap off the drive for a touchdown to go up 46-7 and secure the win.
Brown finished with 82 yards on the ground on 12 carries and two touchdowns, while Woomer also had two scores on the ground to go with 63 yards on 12 carries.
Duncan finished with 12 receptions for 187 yards and two touchdowns, while Gillum had six catches for 91 yards.
Up next, the Flaming Hearts will be back on the road to take on Jerseyville.
Newton 31, Sullivan 21
The Newton Eagles defeated Sullivan in its home opener Friday.
After Adam Bridges had eight carries for 62 yards on the opening drive, it was Payton Birch who capped off the drive on fourth-and-goal to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
After the Eagles got a stop on first down, Marshall Tarr took a handoff 33 yards to the end zone to go up 14-0 after the first quarter.
At the halfway mark of the second, Ben Meinhard scored on a 20-yard touchdown run to go up 21-0.
A 44-yard run got Sullivan on the board 21-7. After the Eagles were unable to score on the ensuing possession, they were able to get an interception from Terrance Hance to set up a first-and-goal at the nine, which was punched in by Bridges to go up 28-7. However, Sullivan took the kickoff back to cut the lead to 28-14 going into the half.
The Eagles were able to score on a 30-yard field goal from Frank Cucinella to go up 31-21 and go on to win by the same score.
Argenta-Oreana 27, Cumberland 7
Cumberland Pirates fell to Argenta-Oreana in its home opener Friday 27-7.
The lone score for the Pirates came in the first quarter on a touchdown to Michael Flier.
Colt Guyon was 14-for-22 for 78 yards, while Rayce Zike was 2-for-4 for 50 yards and a touchdown.
Guyon also had 10 rushes for 48 yards. Wyatt Brant had eight carries for 22 yards.
Flier had five catches for 48 yards and a touchdown. Blayne Donsbach had five catches for 30 yards.
The Pirates had no answer for the run game, as the Bombers’ Makail Stanley had 19 carries for 198 yards and three touchdowns.