Sterling ends Redbirds' 2015 season

Lonnie Schwindenhammer GateHouse Media Illinois

The high school football season for Metamora ended on a cold and rainy day and at the hands of a former Redbird.

Sterling scored on its first two drives and had Metamora out of its element most of the way in a 44-12 victory in a Class 5A first-round playoffs game on Saturday at Malone Field.

Sterling (8-2) will host Washington (10-0) in the second round at 1 p.m. next Saturday.

“We got in a big hole early and it happened fast,” Metamora coach Pat Ryan said. “We had some opportunities to score early but couldn’t take advantage, and they did.”

Metamora (7-3) went three-and-out on the first series.

Sterling had a 53-yard scoring drive on the second, capped by Andrew Spaulding’s 14-yard TD run.

Golden Warriors sophomore Latrell Vaughn, on his first carry, broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage, avoided a tackle attempt in the defensive backfield and straight-armed his way into the end zone on a 68-yard run that made the lead 14-0 in the first quarter.

Vaughn on his second carry went untouched for a 55-yard TD that put the visitors up 21-0 midway through the second quarter.

“I hit the hole and all I saw was open field,” he said.

Sterling quarterback Sterling Thornton later in the quarter ran for two TDs, the second of which made the score 35-0 and followed the first of Metamora QB Jacob Mitchell’s three interceptions.

Mitchell threw a 62-yard TD pass to Garrett Dominy to put Metamora on the scoreboard.

Sterling blocked Kyhl Willey’s punt out of the end zone for a safety that made its lead 37-6 at half.

Sterling overall out-rushed Metamora 349-126 and had a 364-232 advantage in total yards.

“They did a nice job in bad weather and were maybe a little more of a north-south team than most of the year,” Ryan said.

Sterling head coach Jon Schlemmer in 2001 was Metamora’s senior starting quarterback under Ryan.

He and Sterling split two games with Metamora in 2013 and 2014, the latter a loss at Malone Field.

“All week we talked about getting out early on these guys and we did that about as well as you could hope,” Schlemmer said. “I think we played our best game today. To come here and win is special for our program.”

Metamora got its final TD on a 42-yard halfback pass from Brock Modglin to Dominy.