Hawks roll in season-opener

Matt Kerns and Wyatt Steidinger each rushed for more than 100 yards as Prairie Central ran past Rantoul 52-28 in an Illini Prairie Conference football tilt Friday night.
    The Eagles looked to be ready to defend the home field as Rantoul put the first points on the board with a 67-yard touchdown pass with 3:14 left on the clock in the first quarter.
    Robert was the leading receiver for Rantoul with just the one reception.
    The Hawks quickly returned with a 40-yard drive that ended with senior Wyatt Steidinger ran for a 29-yard touchdown. Kerns ran in the two-point conversion to put PC up 8-7.
    Rantoul would come back again with a running touchdown of their own by the quarterback Angelo Brown. Brown lead Rantoul in rushing with 14 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown, as well as completing 7 of 12 passes for 150 yards and a passing touchdown.
    At the end of the first quarter, Rantoul lead 13-8.
    Prairie Central was able to control the line of scrimmage and put together scoring drives on four possessions over the next two periods. The Hawks started the second quarter with a 62-yard touchdown drive. Sophomore Kaden King scored on a 12-yard run  and quarterback Collier Palmore added the conversion run for a 16-13 lead with 7:14 to go in the first half.
    With 2:37 left in the half, the Hawks recovered a fumble resulting in a 1-yard touchdown run (and conversion) by senior Matt Kerns. This took the game to halftime where the Hawks lead 24-13.
    Prairie Central had an efficient second half, opening with an 85-yard, four-minute drive resulting in a 34-yard touchdown run by Palmore.
    Rantoul struggled to stop the Hawks offense in the second half.
    On the next drive for PC, Palmore would find Steidinger for a 33-yard touchdown pass with 4:07 left in the third quarter.
    Rantoul returned with a quick 59-yard drive ending in a touchdown making the score 38-21 at the end of the period.
    The Hawks wasted no time scoring in the fourth by getting a 41-yard touchdown run on a sweep by Steidinger with 11:50 still to play.
    PC closed the game out on its next drive, a short, 36-yard journey that ended with a 6-yard rush from Kerns.
    Leading rusher for Prairie Central was Matt Kerns with148 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. Steidinger contributed eight carries for 111 yards and two touchdowns, as well as one reception for 33 yards and a touchdown. Palmore had 70 yards rushing and completed his only pass attempt for 33 yards and a touchdown. King had eight carries for 61 yards and a touchdown.
    The Hawks (1-0) scored on all four of their final drives in the second half finishing with 395 total rushing yards and 33 passing for the game.
    “It is nice to win the first game but we still have a lot to work on,” PC head coach Kirk Brandenburg said. “We made a lot of mistakes tonight that need to be fixed. We need to cut down on big plays and play more efficient defense next week against Central Catholic.”