FOOTBALL

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

Adam Duvall
Journal Star

Correction: Richwoods snapped a nine-game losing streak to Peoria Notre Dame. The length of the streak was incorrect in previous versions of this story.

Richwoods got itself in the win column, Pekin proved where it belongs in the Mid-Illini and the left foot of a future Illini decided a big game.

These headlines and more make up our top takeaways from the high school football scene in Week 4 around the Peoria area:

High school football Week 4:Scores around the Peoria area

Richwoods snaps losing streaks

Streaks, streaks and more streaks were snapped for Richwoods on Friday.

First, the Knights, who beat Peoria Notre Dame, 48-35 in the Shamrock Classic at Dozer Park, won their first on-the-field game since Week 7 of the 2019 season, a span of 16 games without a victory. This also gives Richwoods its first-ever win in the Shamrock Classic, having appeared twice before only to lose in 2017 and 2019.

Finally, Richwoods beat its rival PND for the first time since 2012 and ended a streak of nine losses in the series.

The Richwoods Knights battle the Peoria Notre Dame Irish in the first half Friday, Sept. 16, 2022 at Dozer Park.

More:Why this victory tasted a little sweeter for the struggling Richwoods football team

Downright offensive for Pekin, Peoria High

The Mid-Illini and Big 12 conference's lone state-ranked teams — Class 7A No. 6 Pekin and Class 5A No. 6 Peoria High — showed off their offense in Week 4.

Pekin held off pesky Washington, 49-28 with Peoria High cruising to a 64-30 victory over Normal Community. Both teams are now 4-0 and look to become playoff eligible with wins next week.

Dragons wideout Bo Benassi needed just three catches from quarterback Scotty Jordan to haul in 161 yards and a TD. The running back tandem of Tanner Sprecher (133 yards, three TDs) and Kanye Tyler (149 yards, two TDs) make Pekin such a balanced, yet dangerous team.

Peoria High scored 60-plus points for a second successive game as coach Tim Thornton let Malachi Washington run wild. The senior running back rushed 43 times for 252 and four TDs. QB Tino Gist had three TDs and 208 yards passing at halftime as the Lions led 34-17.

Pekin's Elijah DeGroot, left, and Bo Benassi celebrate a touchdown against Washington in the second half Friday, Sept. 16, 2022 at Memorial Stadium in Pekin.

Duley helps keep EP-G undefeated

Freshly Illinois committed Declan Duley's left foot helped keep El Paso-Gridley undefeated and one win away from qualifying for the playoffs.

Duley booted two fields — and an extra point — as the Titans held on to beat Heart of Illinois Conference visitor Deer Creek-Mackinaw, 13-8. The senior punter/kicker gave his verbal commitment to the Fighting Illini on Wednesday.

His 20-yard FG with 2:33 left in the opening frame extended the EP-G (4-0, 2-0) lead to 10-0. Duley, whose two punts went for an average of 37.5 yards, then booted a 37-yarder just 69 second before halftime for a 13-0 advantage. The Titans defense came up big in the final minutes of the game, halting a Dee-Mack drive at the EP-G 15 with just 1:32 to play.

More:The Peoria area's top performances from Week 4 of the high school football season

Metamora quarterback Kaden Hartnett tries to avoid a Washington tackler in the second half Friday, Sept. 9, 2022 at Babcock Field in Washington.

Mid-Illini madness

Canton, Dunlap and Metamora all picked up their first league victories on Friday. This puts each of those teams at 1-1 in conference play along with East Peoria, Morton and Washington. Pekin is the only 2-0 team, while Limestone falls to 0-2.

Dunlap beat Limestone 41-0 as Canton won by the exact same score over upstart East Peoria.

Metamora found its footing by beating Morton, 38-21. The Redbirds tallied 316 total yards of offense including a monster night from Kaden Hartnett. The senior quarterback rushed for 147 yards on 15 carries and three touchdowns. He also added a 26-yard TD pass to Broderick Schroers.

Plus, Hartnett added a 97-yard blocked FG return for a score.

Adam Duvall is a Journal Star sports reporter. He can be reached at aduvall@pjstar.com or @AdamDuvall on Twitter.