WILLIAMSVILLE -- The Du Quoin football team's good season came to an end Saturday at the hands of unbeaten Williamsville in the second round of the IHSA Class 3A playoffs.
The Bullets turned a close game into a lopsided affair during a three-minute span in the second quarter and went on to a 48-14 victory.
After trailing 15-0 in the second quarter, Du Quoin found some life on offense with the passing game. Alex Zimmerman threw a 62-yard touchdown pass to Dasani Edward, which pulled the Indians within 15-7 with 6:50 on the clock.
But in less than three minutes, the Bullets scored twice and intercepted a pass. Suddenly, it was a 28-7 contest.
"It was tough, but we felt like we still had a shot if we got a couple stops," said Du Quoin coach Derek Beard. "We've produced big plays all year, and Dasani got a little banged up on that touchdown he scored. Then we tried to run a one-on-one out there with (Ethan) Zettler, and that's when the interception happened. It's just tough to bounce back against a good football team."
The Indians still had life in the final minutes of the first half. The squad used a 10-play drive to advance the ball to the Williamsville 15. But like they did twice in the first quarter, the Indians turned the ball over on downs.
"I thought we started the game really well," Beard said. "We moved the ball a little bit, but we got to that fourth down a couple times. In games like that, you've got to convert in those situations and put points on the board. Points were hard to come by for us."
Du Quoin couldn't run the ball effectively and only rushed for 50 yards as a team. On the Williamsville side, it was a different story. Grant Ripperda, Conor McCormick and Stephen Gleason combined to rush for 340 yards.
"They were tough to stop all day," Beard said. "We did a good job in the first quarter getting a turnover on downs. But then they come right back and score, which was kind of a blow to us."
The Indians committed two turnovers, but the defense couldn't force any on the Williamsville side.
"They aren't flashy, but they don't turn the ball over," Beard said. "That goes a long way in the game of football."
Zimmerman threw for 215 yards with a touchdown and ran for a score in the fourth quarter as well. But it wasn't nearly enough. Williamsville (11-0) was simply a better football team.
Overall, it was good first season for Beard as head coach. His first group of seniors meant a lot to him.
"I can't say enough good things about these seniors," Beard said. "They bought in from day one, and they did what we asked them to do. We didn't have bad practices. They brought it every day and had great leadership. It's a great senior class."
Beard, a longtime assistant coach prior to this season, enjoyed a solid campaign that saw his team win its first eight games, which included a conference championship.
"It's different from being an assistant with constant planning and staying organized," Beard said. "It was different but definitely enjoyable for me."
Du Quoin finished the season with a record of 9-2.