Hononegah leads at halftime, but succumbs to St. Rita in the end


At halftime, the score was 10-7, with Hononegah leading.

The Hononegah Indians ended their undefeated football season by losing to the St. Rita Mustangs in the Class 7A quarterfinals on Nov. 13, 2021. But it was the first time since 1996 that the Indians had reached the quarterfinals.

Hononegah had a better season record, but when comparing individual statistics, St. Rita had an advantage. This season, St. Rita's Tommy Ulatowski had averaged 106.5 passing yards per game - twice the national average - compared to Hononegah quarterback Isaac Whisenand's 69.9. Likewise, St. Rita running back Kyle Clayton averaged 131 yards per game, while Hononegah's Stuart Hale averaged 106.

The two teams had never played against each other before, and they hadn't even played common opponents, so no one could be sure what the match  would be like. On average this season, St. Rita tended to end games stronger than Hononegah. Hononegah tended to start stronger, usually gaining about 12 points more in a first half than St. Rita would.

Sure enough, at halftime Hononegah led 10-7, after Whisenand sent Hale a touchdown pass in the second quarter. St. Rita must have wondered if they had a tougher opponent than they had expected.

After halftime, St. Rita's Kaleb Brown caught a 47-yard touchdown pass - the kind of thing he hopes to do at Ohio State. A St. Rita safety followed, then another touchdown by the end of the third quarter. The Mustangs were in the lead, 22-10.

Minutes into the fourth quarter, St. Rita added another touchdown pass, plus an extra point, keeping the Mustangs in the lead, 29-10. Still another touchdown pass pushed the score to 36-10, with less than five minutes to go. In the end, Hononegah added another touchdown, but mathematically, 36 is greater than 16, and the St. Rita Mustangs will advance to the semi-finals of the IHSA Class 7A playoffs. Their opponent will be the winner of tonight's game between Jacobs and Prospect.

You can view game photos on Flickr, courtesy of Hononegah Photos.

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