The Central A&M football team is headed back to the IHSA Class A State Football Championship game this weekend and will play Lena-Winslow. A&M beat Athens in the quarterfinals on Saturday, 35-21.

Central A&M is headed back to the big game for the 1st time in 18 years, since coach Brent Weakly had played at state.

The Raiders jumped out, like they have done all season, to a big lead early. They led 14-0 after the 1st quarter. The Raiders got Athens to cough up the ball and A&M drove for the first score. A&M also fumbled, but Brennan Simmons recovered it an scored.

The Raiders scored again in the 1st and Athens was shut out. Athens scored in the 2nd, but A&M matched it to lead at the half, 21-7.

Athens didn’t fumble on their first possession of the 3rd quarter. They ran off 7:00 and drove to inside the 10 yard line. The Raider defense refused to give anymore ground and stopped Athens on 4th down.

Neverthless, Athens scored in the 3rd and A&M didn’t. The lead was just 21-14 in the 4th. No one had played A&M that close all season.

The Raiders pulled out one of their trick plays to put a dagger in Athens heart. Quarterback pitched to Jacob Paradee for a halfback pass. Paradee found Connor Hutchins in the end zone for score. Athens scored once in the 4th, but so did the Raiders. That gave A&M the win.

Paradee was the standout in the game. He led the team with 24 tackles, including 17 solo tackles. He had an interception. He threw a touchdown pass and caught 5 passes for 79 yards. He also kicked off 6 times for 302 yards.

Quarterback Connor Heaton was the leading rusher for the Raiders, rushing 19 for 119 yds (6.3 avg), 2 TDs. He threw 6-of-16 for 114 yds (19.0 avg) and one interception.

Saturday 1A Quarterfinals

Central A&M 35, Athens 21

Athens 0-7-7-7--21

C A&M 14-7-0-14--35

CAM stats: RUSHING- 35 for 205 yds, 2 TDs; Heaton 19 for 119 yds (6.3 avg), 2 TDs; Gregory 5 for 52 yds (10.4 avg); Jac Paradee 6 for 19 yds (3.2 avg); Hutchins 4 for 12 yds, (3.0 avg); B Patton 1 for 3 yds; PASSING- 7-of-17 124 yds, (17.7 yds avg) 1 TFD, 1 INT; Heaton 6-of-16 114 yds (19.0 avg) 1 INT; Jac Paradee 1-of-1, 10 yds, 1 TD; RECEIVING-Jac Paradee 5 for 79 yds (15.8 avg); Hutchins 2 for 45 yds (22.5 avg) 1 TD; TACKLES-Jac Paradee 24 (17 solo/7 asst); Hutchins 13 (6/7); Heaton 8 (5/3); Jas Paradee 8 (4/4); Gregory 7 (3/4), 1 for loss; Perkins 7 (2/5), 1 for loss; Maples 7 (2/5); Myers 7 (2/5); Robertson 6 (1/5); Simmons 5 (2/3); Burgener 4 (2/2), 1 for loss; Kelso 1 (0/1); Brown 1 (1/0); Nichols 1 91/0); Sloan 1 90/1); Whitney 1 (0/1); Enge 1 (0/1); INT- Jac Paradee 1; FUMB REC- Hutchins 1; FUMB-Gregory 1; KICKOFFS-Jac Paradee 6 for 302 yds (50.3 avg); PUNTS- Hutchins 3 for 93 yds (31.0 avg); KICK RET-Patton 1 for 16 yds; Barnes 1 for 7 yds; PAT- Robertson 5 of 5; 1st DOWNS 18; PENATLIES- 3 for 25 yds; POSS- 18:27

The previous week in the 3rd Round, the raiders beat Arcola, 42-8.

November 16

Central A&M 42, Arcola 8

Arcola 0-0-0-8--8

CA&M 21-7-7-7--42

CAM stats: RUSHING- 43 for 165 (3.8 avg), 4 TDs; Heaton 8 for 64 (8.0 avg), 2 TDs; Hutchins 19 for 58 yds (3.1 avg), 1 TD; Gregory 5 for 19 yds (3.8 avg); Jac Paradee 4 for 17 yds (4.3 avg), 1 TD; Patton 3 for 6 yds (2.0 avg); Barnes 1 for 2 yds; Nichols 3 for -1 yds; PASSING- 19 of 35, 270 yds (14.2 avg), 2 TDs; Heaton 18-of-34, 254 yds (14.1 avg), 2 TDs; Jac Paradee 1 for 1, 16 yds; RECEIVING- Jac Paradee 5 for 149 yds (29.8 avg), 2 TDs; Burgener 7 for 56 yds (8.0 avg); Brown 3 for 40 yds (13.3 avg); Hutchins 2 for 14 yds (7.0 avg); Jas paracee 2 for 11 yds (5.5 avg); TACKLES-Jac Paradee 8 (4/4); Hutchins 8 (3/5), 1 for loss; Daniels 7 (2/5); Maples 7 (4/3), 3 for loss; Robertson 6 (5/1); Burgener 4 (3/1); Enge 4 (3/1), 1 for loss; Simmons 3 (1/2); Collins 3 (0/3); Barnes 3 91/2); Jas Paradee 3 (0/3); Heaton 2 (2/0); Gregory 2 (1/1), 1 for loss; Sloan 1 (0/1); Myers 1 (0/1); INTs- Jac Paradee 2 (14 yds); Heaton 1; FUMB RET Jac Paradee 1; KICKOFFS-Jac Paradee 7 for 367 (52.4 avg); PUNTS- Hutshins 1 for 44 yds; KICK RET- Heaton 1 for 10 yds; Simmons 1 for 0 yds; PUNT RET- Jac Paradee 3 for 38 yds (12.7 avg); PAT- Robertson 6 for 6; 1ST DOWNS- 19; PENALTIES- 6 for 38 yds;

John Curtis can be reached at john.curtis@shelbyvilledailyunion.com

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