BETHALTO - In the final game of the regular season, the Civic Memorial High School Eagles football team took down the Mt. Zion High School Braves 46-28.

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“It’s great for these seniors to go out on a win,” CM Head Coach Justin Winslow said. “I give all of our seniors the credit they deserve. They did great out there.”

For the Eagles, the night was emotional before the kick-off even took place. The seniors on the football team, as well as on the Pazazz dance team, cheerleaders and marching band members were honored in their special Senior Night ceremony. Students and their parents walked out on the track of Hauser Field to relish in the memories that the kids have built in their four years of study and extracurriculars at Civic Memorial High School.

After the ceremony, the game finally began. Only a minute and a half passed before Eagles senior John Whitworth (#34) ran in his first touchdown of the game. With 10:31 on the clock, Colin Hall (#60) kicked in a good extra point and the Eagles took the early lead of 7-0.

Mt. Zion made a huge push for yards, but it was no match for the strong defensive line that CM possessed. After Whitworth made a great 55-yard run that ended at the 3-yard line, Coach Winslow called a time out to assess the situation with his team. Whitworth came through again for the Eagles and scored his second touchdown of the night for his team in a tackle in the end zone, raising the score to 14-0 after a good kick by Hall.

With a little less than four minutes left on the clock, Mt. Zion Braves back Matthew Wike (#8) scored a touchdown after being tackled just over the goal line. After a good kick, the Braves brought the score to 14-7. The buzzer followed shortly after to end the first quarter.

With possession of the ball in the second quarter, the Braves were forced to turn over the ball due to downs. Shortly after with eight minutes left, Whitworth scored his third touchdown, bringing up the the score to 21-7 after a good kick.

A little under two and a half minutes later, CM quarterback and senior Adam Hill (#12) completed a 7-yard pass to senior Jack Walker (#2) for the fourth touchdown of the evening for CM. After Hill’s good kick, CM held a hefty lead over Mt. Zion at 28-7.

The Braves weren’t exiting the second quarter without putting up a fight. With 3:44 left to go of the quarter, the Braves made an excellent rushing touchdown that brought the score to 28-14 after a good kick point.

With under a minute to go in the second, the Eagles made their way inside of Mt. Zion’s 20-yard line. Hill successfully completed a 7-yard pass to senior Tim Klocke (#15) to score yet another Eagle touchdown. The score at the halftime buzzer was 34-14 in the Eagles’ favor.

Using the fresh start of a new quarter to their advantage, the Mt. Zion Braves pushed their way to the Eagles’ end zone after taking over on their own 43-yard line following CM’s punt. Braves running back and junior Steven Schettini (#12) brought in a touchdown for his team, bringing the score up to 34-21 after a good kick.

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After a great return by Whitworth from the punt, CM junior David Lane (#6) made a good receiving run towards the end zone. Eagles junior running back Zach Williams (#5) ran in a touchdown pass. The officals then called the Braves out for holding onto one of their opponents’ face mask. The opportunity for the point after touchdown was missed by the Eagles, and the score was raised to 40-21.

With less than a minute to go of the third, a touchdown pass was completed by Braves junior Jaylen Cameron (#23). After a good kick, the score was now 40-28. The buzzer ending the third rang shortly after.

Early in the fourth, the Braves lost possession yet again to CM after reaching their allowed downs and began play on Mt. Zion’s 22-yard line. At around nine minutes to go, Williams rushed an amazing 76-yard touchdown for the Eagles, making the score 46-28 after their two-point conversion attempt was batted down by the Braves.

After an incomplete pass by the Braves, the Eagles took over possession on the 32. A punt by CM landed in the arms of the Braves for the first down with 10 yards to go. CM tight end and senior Dylan Sutton (#17) made a great interception that gave the Eagles possession with less than 2 minutes to go of the fourth. In the last 30 seconds of the game, the team took a knee and accepted their seventh victory of the regular season with a score of 46-28 against the Mt. Zion Braves.

“Mt. Zion is a great offensive team,” Coach Winslow said, “and they presented a lot of different problems to us. We played very well defensively in the second half of the game.”

The playoff schedules will be revealed Saturday evening, and for the Eagles, an opportunity to play at home would be great.

“We hope this isn’t our last game here at home,” he said.

The team already began celebrating their path toward the playoffs after the game. Quarterback Adam Hill (#12) was thrilled to have participated in the highly successful regular season with the Eagles. 

"Now that we have seven wins, it was probably one of the biggest achievements of my entire life," Hill said. "I give it to my line, we've all been working for this. It's a really great feeling." 

Looking toward the playoffs, Coach Winslow is just focused on the team bringing their best stuff to the field. 

“We have to continue to be physical and run the football,” he said. “We must be confident and physical, and if we can do that, I like our chances.”

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