On to round two...

Tom Batters
Metamora senior Brandon Freeburg climbs on top of a pack of Redbirds before Saturday's game.

Mahomet-Seymour fumbled on its first play of the game, and things went even further downhill after that.

Senior lineman Preston Butner recovered the fumble and senior David Tracy scored on the Redbirds’ first play to give Metamora the early lead on its way to a 54-26 win in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs Saturday at Malone Field.

All 54 of those points came in the first half. The Redbirds scored on their first eight possessions.

Mahomet-Seymour (6-4) went three-and-out on its second possession and Metamora (9-1) needed just two plays to score again. Tracy broke free for a 24-yard gain and senior Jake Ferguson scored from 17 yards out to give Metamora a 14-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.

After the game, Mahomet-Seymour coach Keith Pogue ran off the field and did not speak to reporters. I don’t blame him, but it would have been nice to ask him about the game plan Metamora coach Pat Ryan used to shut down the Bulldogs 3-3 stack defense and stifle its high-powered passing game (quarterback Quentin McNew was just 7-for-18 for 85 yards and one interception).

“We had a great week of practice, and we were prepared for everything they were doing,” said Metamora senior offensive lineman Lane Mitzelfelt. “We watched a lot of film, and we knew what their defensive stunts were all about. It was pretty sweet —to be able to go out and do it on the field after such a great week of practice.”

Even McNew’s karate kick jump move was no surprise.

In the second quarter, McNew ran into the secondary and flung his leg up in an attempt to kick his way over Metamora senior Brett McKinney. McKinney took the leg in the stomach but made the tackle.

“We saw that on film. He (McNew) tried to hop over a few people, but I was ready for it,” McKinney said.

Ferguson, who rushed for 105 yards and three touchdowns, said the offense was “rolling.” He also credited a strong week of practice.

“Coach Ryan didn’t yell much in practice this week, In fact, I think he smiled a couple times,” Ferguson said.

Metamora led 54-13 at halftime and Ryan played several reserve players for most of the second half.

“It was nice to get a variety of guys in there,” Ryan said. “As we move forward, we’ll need a lot of guys to contribute. We can’t just rely on one guy.”

That one guy he referred to was senior quarterback Michael Fay, who ran for 45 yards and two touchdowns to increase his touchdown total to 21 this season.

Ferguson, seniors Colton Willett and Brandon Freeburg, and junior Charlie Nowotnik are all sharing the load in the running game.

“I’ve said all along that we have a few guys who can help us offensively,” Ryan said. “We’ll need that. We’ll need to be balanced.”

Willett also caught a 35-yard pass that set up a touchdown.

The defense held the Bulldogs to just eight first downs. Metamora had 28 first downs.

The defensive line, led by Butner and seniors Drew Cullett and Andrew Jones, teamed with senior linebacker Tom Bieneman and sophomore linebacker Blake Mason to apply heavy pressure on McNew.

The defensive backfield led by Tracy, McKinney and seniors Beau Geier and Mark McDaniel, maintained tight coverage on receivers downfield.

Senior kicker Brennen VanMieghem continued his flurry of touchbacks after every Metamora touchdown, which helped Metamora control field position for the entire game.

One of VanMieghem’s touchbacks hit the crossbar (which I have never seen happen in a high school game).

Odds and ends...

• Junior Adam Parr saved a touchdown when he sprinted to catch McNew from behind at the eight yard line after McNew broke free for a 70-yard run.

• Ferguson appeared to be stopped at the 10-yard line when he kept going and dragged two defenders another 10 yards into the end zone for a touchdown.

• Fay only attempted two passes, but completed both of them (to Willett and McKinney).

• Sophomore Dekota Doerr ran for 103 yards on 16 carries in the second half.

• M-S attempted a fake punt early in the second quarter, but the Metamora defense was not fooled. The pass fell incomplete against tight coverage by Tracy.

• Metamora had 454 rushing yards. M-S had 156.

• After his touchdown run made it 54-6, Willett was slammed to the ground in the back of the end zone by a M-S defensive back, but the referee did not call a penalty.

• The Bulldogs recovered an onsides kick late on the first half, but McKinney came up with an interception three plays later.

• Sophomores Andrew Dixon, Bryan Burk and junior Travis Ahrens also got plenty of carries in the second half.

Up next...

Metamora will play Mt. Zion at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Malone Field.

Mt. Zion’s only loss came in week one against Mahomet-Seymour (yeah, the same team Metamora destroyed on Saturday).

If the Redbirds win, they will play either Pontiac (10-0) or IVC (8-2) in the quarterfinals. Pontiac beat Manual, 46-14. IVC beat Herscher, 42-0, in the first round.

Most fans have their eye on a showdown with Pontiac, which has been ranked in the top 10 in Class 4A all year, but Ryan is not looking ahead.

“We get to defend our state title for one more week. That’s all we’re guaranteed,” Ryan said. “If you look ahead, you can get into big trouble. We learned that a long time ago. You just have to focus on your next game.”

• Tom Batters is sports editor of the Woodford Times. He can be reached at 686-3261, or tbatters@timestoday.com.