BLOOMINGTON — Central Catholic High School football coach Kevin Braucht found “wins out there” in the Saints’ 47-16 Illini Prairie Conference loss to Chillicothe IVC on Wednesday at Bill Hundman Memorial Field.
Yet Braucht was quick to label them “small wins. That wasn’t the performance I would like to put on from a competitive standpoint.”
Many of the Saints’ highlights came on special teams.
“Actually, we worked a lot on special teams in the two days we had,” said Braucht. “We felt like we were superior in the kicking game on both sides.”
Central Catholic enjoyed kickoff returns of 43 and 71 yards from Isaac Whitaker, a 23-yard field goal and a 56-yard punt by David Broadbear and blocked two IVC extra points.
IVC scored one huge special teams win late in the first quarter when Peyton Feldman blocked a Broadbear punt and Aiden Carder ran it back 26 yards for a touchdown.
Ian Whitaker rushed for 89 yards and Jake Slaughter 80 for the Saints, who finished with 219 yards of total offense.
IVC (2-1) burned Central Catholic (0-3) on the ground with 284 yards rushing and 449 yards of total offense.
“That’s a good team. We knew they had a lot of offensive weapons,” Braucht said. “The thing I’m probably most disappointed about is this is the first game since we’ve been here we weren’t really competitive.”
Jack Merlo rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries for the Ghosts. Quarterback Nolin Hulett completed 11 of 15 passes for 165 yards and two TDs.
“We tried to emphasize the running game this week because we haven’t had much of one,” said IVC coach Tim Heinz. “I thought our running backs and offensive line did outstanding. It started there and then we could work the rest of our offense.”
Central Catholic registered second-half touchdowns on a 1-yard run by Slaughter and a 9-yard pass from freshman Colin Hayes to Matthew Trosino.
“I like how we played the second half,” Braucht said. “We’ve got to get better.”
Hayes and Saints starting quarterback Jadyn Ellison combined to complete 6 of 16 passes for 58 yards.
Contact Randy Reinhardt at (309) 820-3403. Follow him on Twitter: pg_reinhardt