What we learned: 4 takeaways from Week 3 high school football around Peoria

Adam Duvall
Journal Star

Mid-Illini Conference play set up a fun Week 4, state-ranked Peoria High continued its winning ways — and yet another long losing streak was snapped.

Those storylines and more make up our top takeaways from the high school football scene in Week 3 around the Peoria area:

Pekin, Washington in key Mid-Illini matchup

Week 4 features one heck of a Mid-Illini battle when Washington heads to Pekin for a key league battle. But how the teams got there in Week 3 needs to be recognized.

Washington's offense suddenly came alive — to the tune of 343 total yards — after scoring a combined seven points in the first two weeks to beat rival Metamora, 44-22. It marked the fifth win for the Panthers in the last six meetings and the most points scored by Washington in the 41-year history of the M-I regular-season series.

The Washington defense provided a huge momentum swing by blocking a pair of punts on successive Metamora possessions. The first went for a defensive touchdown followed by the second blocked punt setting up Jake Stewart's 29-yard TD pass to AJ Jones.

Pekin, on the other hand, forced a fourth-quarter turnover to hang for a 28-19 win at Dunlap.

This was the first road victory for Pekin in the series since 2013. The 1-2 punch of 260 rushing yards by Tanner Sprecher (148 yards, TD) and Kanye Tyler (112 yards, TD) made life very difficult for the Dunlap defense.

High school football Week 3:Scores around the Peoria area

Peoria High head football coach Tim Thornton doles out some advice to one of his players in the first half Friday, Aug. 26, 2022 at Peoria Stadium.

Peoria High carries Big 12 banner

Class 5A sixth-ranked Peoria High remains undefeated, rolling to a 62-16 nonconference road win over Cahokia.

This game was a late addition following Urbana's move to a junior varsity-only schedule for 2022. The Lions (3-0) now are averaging 45.3 points a game as it heads back to Peoria in Week 4 for a meeting with Normal Community.

Peoria High went for 678 total yards paced by Malachi Washington. The senior running back rushed for 300 yards on 36 carries.

Quarterback Tino Gist threw three touchdowns — two to TQ Webb (139 receiving yards) and one score by Kenny Rutherford, who had 98 receiving yards. Gist finished 12-for-17 with 226 yards.

Peoria High's victory marked the lone bright spot for the Peoria teams of the Big 12 Conference. The other three squads — Richwoods, Peoria Notre Dame and Manual — all took losses.

PND surrendered three second-quarter TDs in an 18-12 loss to Bloomington. Jack Hanley started the scoring with a 3-yard TD with 1:55 left in the first quarter, then saw PND QB Liam O'Neill set the final score thanks to a 1-yard keeper at the 6:09 mark of the fourth quarter.

Manual got on the board once — a 37-yard TD catch by David Johnson just before halftime — in a 49-6 loss to Big 12 visitor Danville at Peoria Stadium. The Rams (0-3) head to 5A No. 2-ranked Kankakee next week.

Finally, Richwoods still searches for its first win after dropping a 45-20 contest to Champaign Centennial. Next week, the Knights (0-3) will be at Dozer Park to meet PND for the renewal of the annual Shamrock Classic series.

More:The Peoria area's top performances from Week 3 of the high school football season

These three small schools playing large

Convincing victories by a trio of small schools make Week 4 even that more intriguing.

Eureka, ranked No. 8 in Class 3A, used five total TDs from QB Jake Morin in a 59-0 victory against Heyworth. Morin, who tossed three and ran for the other two, helped build a 35-point halftime advantage and never looked back.

Elmwood/Brimfield (3-0) welcomes Stark County (2-1) in Week 4 after dispatching South Fulton, 36-14. The Trojans utilized 308 rushing yards including 100 as well as a 70-yard kickoff return by Aiden Frail to grab the home Prairieland Conference win.

Farmington has scored 50-plus points in back-to-back weeks while giving up under double-digits like in Week 3's 57-6 victory against Warsaw West Hancock. Gage Renken was his usual consistent self at QB, throwing for 202 yards on 7-for-8 passing with two TDs.

The East Peoria Raiders prepare to take the field against the Limestone Rockets on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022 at Clatt Field in East Peoria.

Another EP streak snapped

A week removed from ending a 26-game losing streak, East Peoria is now 2-1 after a 33-20 victory over Limestone. This win means EP can finally put to bed a losing streak of 21 games within the Mid-Illini.

EP senior running back Gabriel Zeigler-Harris has 10 TDs over two weeks, rushing again for five TDs. EP (2-1, 1-0 Mid-Illini) now heads to Canton (0-3, 0-1) for a Week 4 test.

Adam Duvall is a Journal Star sports reporter. Email him at aduvall@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamDuvall.