Springfield High, Rock Island set playoff records in wild first-round shootout

Bill Welt Ryan Mahan
State Journal-Register
Springfield's Tyree Coleman (4) rushed for 255 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries in Springfield High's 94-72 win over Rock Island in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs on Friday. Coleman is seen here scoring against Jacksonville on Oct. 8, 2021.

ROCK ISLAND — Springfield High football coach Roy Gully will take any kind of playoff win.

The No. 9-seeded Senators outlasted Rock Island 94-72 in a frenetic first round of the Class 6A playoffs on Friday.  

SHS (7-3) shattered a pair of 6A playoff records, including most points by a winning team and most points combined in a game. Joliet Catholic set the former in 2005 with 72, while Huntley’s 70-63 win over Batavia had stood since 2008. 

It is also the all-class playoff record for most points in a game, eclipsing the 161 scored in Deer Creek-Mackinaw's 91-70 win over Chicago Hope in the second round of the 2016 playoffs. 

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The Senators will host top-seeded Lemont (10-0) in the second round. The upcoming visitors blanked No. 16 Chicago Kennedy 45-0.

“Of course you’re happy and proud of the win, the records are probably going to stand a long time, but I don’t know if my blood pressure, my heart or my head can take any more record-breaking games,” Gully said. “I’d love for us to play a normal game and come out ahead next week, so we’ll see what happens.” 

Gully, who recently announced he would resign after the end of the season, chalked up his first playoff win in his seventh season at the helm. It was also the school’s first playoff win since 2010 when the Senators made the third round of the Class 5A playoffs. 

“It’s absolutely everything I expected it to be and when you get to possibly your last game, you just want it to be a victory and there’s a lot of positive things to dwell on. There’s a lot of things we can point to and clean up and do better, but the biggest thing is we get to play another week,” Gully said. 

SHS trailed 14-0 to start the game and 21-6 by the end of the first quarter.  

Senior running back Tyree Coleman then reeled off two touchdown runs — including from 72 yards — and senior quarterback Rashad Rochelle added a short TD run to rally the Senators ahead 30-21 with 5 minutes, 17 seconds remaining in the second quarter.  

Rochelle subsequently threw a 47-yard TD pass to Peyton Webster and the Senators led 42-35 at halftime.

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The Senators' Rutgers-bound QB started the third period with a 53-yard TD to Antwione Alwerdt and dialed up a 68-yard TD pass to Mitchell Logan for his longest throwing score of the game and a 62-50 advantage with 1:57 left in the third quarter.  

Coleman’s 28-yard TD run provided SHS a 68-50 lead by the end of the third quarter. He ended the night with a 52-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 1:11 remaining in the fourth. 

Gully called it the greatest win of his career. 

“There’s a lot of people who never get a playoff victory who coach,” Gully said. “I know people who played, I know people who put a lot of time into football and these playoff victories don’t come around very often, so you got to give an awful lot of respect to these other coaches and programs that just roll off playoff runs and championships all of the time.

"It is absolutely so tough to do and so I’m very appreciative no matter what it took that we were able to get it done. I’m just extremely proud of everyone in the program.” 

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Gully said he approached Rochelle and asked the Big Ten recruit to put the team on his shoulders after falling behind 14-0.

Rochelle completed 9 of 16 passing attempts for 253 yards and six TDs while also rushing for 148 yards and three TDs. Coleman totaled 26 carries for 255 yards and four TDs. 

Alwerdt had three receptions for 80 yards and three TDs. He also added 64 rushing yards. 

Quonterrion Brooks led the Rocks (6-4) with 300 rushing yards and five TDs. He also returned a kickoff 78 yards into the end zone in the fourth quarter before Coleman reciprocated seven seconds later. 

“He earned every accolade he’s ever received in that game tonight," Gully said of Rochelle, "because he absolutely saved our season."