The Mattoon Green Wave hosted the Effingham Hearts in Apollo Conference play on Friday night in Mattoon’s homecoming game.
Neither team scored in the first quarter as Mattoon was forced to punt the ball twice and also turned the ball over on downs once and Effingham fumbled on their first possession while driving into Mattoon territory and punted on their next possession.
After each team punted once again to begin the second, Mattoon finally got on the scoreboard. A pass from Nick Poorman found Michael Smith behind his defender and scored from 40 yards out. Quinn Camfield’s extra point was good and the Green Wave led 7-0 in the second.
Effingham punted yet again and also turned the ball over on downs in the second quarter. Mattoon turned the ball over on downs and punted later in the second to lead 7-0 at halftime.
The Hearts received the second half kickoff and fumbled it right back to Mattoon just a few plays into the drive. Mattoon capitalized on the mistake and scored on a seven yard fade pass from Poorman to Alec Raboin to make it 13-0 in the third.
Effingham began to drive again, getting into Mattoon territory before Lucas Vasquez was picked off by Julian Gittens. Again, Mattoon took advantage, this time it was an 18 yard pass from Poorman to Raboin again and Mattoon looked like they were cruising, up 20-0.
The next possession, Effingham throws another interception, this time it was quarterback Landon Wolfe who was picked off. A few plays later, Gittens runs in from nine yards out to extend the lead 27-0 still in the third.
Finally, Effingham was able to get on the board on their next possession. Terrence Hill took it in from three yards out to give the Hearts their first score, but still trailed 27-6 after the missed extra point.
A one yard quarterback keep up the middle from Poorman began the fourth quarter and extended the Green Wave lead to 34-6.
After both teams punted on their next possession, Effingham was threatening again. Again, from three yards out, Hill finds the endzone and cuts the Mattoon lead to 34-12 about halfway through the final quarter.
Early in Mattoon’s next drive, Effingham’s Terrence Hill, who usually does not play on the defensive side of the ball, finds the football in his hands after a Mattoon fumble and Hill took it back 49 yards for the quick touchdown. Effingham was threatening a comeback late after the score made it 34-19.
Trailing by two possessions late in the fourth, Effingham had to attempt the onside kick. They did, and Danny Hortenstine was able to bounce it off a Green Wave player and into the arms of an Effingham player.
The Hearts then drove deep into Mattoon territory and actually got into the endzone on a five yard carry from Hill, but was called back for an illegal shift penalty.
A couple plays later, Vasquez rolled out to pass and ended up finding the hands of Reece Prior on the three yard line and Prior had nothing but 97 yards of sideline in front of him. He took it in for the score and the dagger to the Hearts comeback and possibly their playoff hopes.
With the win on homecoming night, Mattoon improves to 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the Apollo Conference which is good for third place. Mattoon will need to win at least one more game to be in the playoff consideration. The Green Wave will play at second place Taylorville next week.
With the loss, Effingham falls to 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the Conference. Effingham will need to win both of their remaining games against Mt. Zion and Mahomet-Seymour to be in consideration for a playoff spot. The Hearts host first place Mt. Zion next week.
Also, check out the coaches interview with coach Johnson