Aurora Christian has won the last two state championships in class 3A. The key players on those two teams are now playing football in the MAC at NIU and Western Michigan. But the Eagles have simply plugged in new, equally talented players this year.
"They’re doing the same system and finding some new kids to plug in some key spots," says Stillman coach Mike Lalor. "They’ve got it rolling pretty good."
The Eagles lost three games to three, bigger, powerhouse teams late in the regular season, but the Eagles were battling through some injury issues at the time. Now those players are healthy again including 6’4 quarterback Austin Bray.
"I’ve seen him throw 50-60 yards on the dot down the sideline," says Lalor. "You just don’t see that very often, and he’s a real big kid, so it’s tough tot get him down."
Aurora Christian spreads things out with four and five receiver sets. The passing game is what their head coach, former Packers receiver Don Beebe, is all about.
"I’d say they’re 60 to 70 percent pass," estimates Lalor.
Bruno Herrera, Defensive tackle)
In…(7:14) "As defensive linemen our responsibility is to try to get more pressure on the quarterback hopefully our defensive backs get their jobs done," says Stillman defensive tackle Bruno Herrera.
"Our defense will just have to play a lot harder because I know they’re pretty good at passing, and I think our offense will need to work a lot harder too," says Stillman offensive tackle Wyatt Stockton.
Stillman’s best defense might be a ball-control offense. Another key in this game will be winning the turnover battle.
Stillman and Aurora Chritian are no strangers. The Cardinals beat the Eagles in the 2010 playoffs. The Eagles beat Stillman in the regular season opener the following year.
"I think people kind of want to get revenge after we played them the last time," says Stillman guard Thom Hess. "I think it was a tough loss there."
"They’ve been pretty intense competitions," says Lalor. "We’ve each gotten each other one time, so it’s kind of the rubber match."
That’s a five o’clock start Saturday at Aurora Christian.
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