Originally Posted Online: Oct. 05, 2012, 11:31 pm
Last Updated: Oct. 06, 2012, 12:45 am

Alleman crashes Browning birthday bash

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By Steve Tappa, stappa@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Gary Krambeck
Alleman's John Tracey (9) runs through an opening in the line during the second quarter against Moline Friday Oct 5. Aleman won 20-0.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Gary Krambeck
Moline's Jared Requet (24) finds an opening as he runs for extra yardage Friday evening against Alleman at Browning Field. Alleman won the game 20-0.

Tom Noe missed last year's showdown for the Western Big 6 Conference football crown.

Alleman's senior fullback/roverback made sure Friday that wouldn't happen this fall.

With Noe rushing for 189 and two touchdowns, plus adding an interception to a five-turnover night by the Pioneers' defense, Alleman spoiled Moline's Senior Night and the 100th anniversary of Browning Field, 20-0.

The victory also kept Illinois Class 4A's top-ranked team unbeaten (7-0, 4-0) heading into next weekend's winner-take-all league finale back at Browning with crosstown rival Rock Island (6-1, 4-0), the state's fourth-rated 6A squad.

"That's a pretty cool thing,'' Noe said about figuring in the last Big 6 title, with the league expanding to the Mid-West 10 next fall.

"We know Rocky is going to be a good team. We want to see how we do against them. We want that last one pretty bad. Our main goal this year was winning the Big 6 and we have a chance to do that next week.''

That's thanks partly to Noe returning from a season-ending knee surgery last fall, which forced him to miss the league title game, won last year by Moline.

"Having to watch that was definitely tough,'' Noe said. "So that gave me a little motivation (Friday).''

Noe scored Alleman's first two touchdowns in the first quarter, capping a nine-play, 58-yard drive to open the game with a two-yard run, and then racing 90 yards untouched on the first play of the Pioneers' third possession.

But after that, the contest descended into a defensive battle, with Alleman managing just 137 yards and six first downs in the final three quarters.

Meanwhile, penalties prevented Moline from scoring on three drives inside the Pioneers' 10-yard line. All three times featured ill-timed illegal shift flags, two negating first downs on the goal-line and another calling back a touchdown.

"That's happened to us a lot this year,'' Moline coach Crick Sant Amour said. "Maybe it's my fault for not being hard enough on these guys and making them disciplined enough. We seem to make those mistakes at inopportune times.''

The Maroons also committed five turnovers, two of them drive-killing interceptions (by Noe and another by Connor Whan on the 5-yard line to prevent another Moline score).

Also recovering fumbles in the fourth shutout this season by the Pioneers were Sean Wetherell, Nate Gilbraith and Ben West.

"We were able to get off to a good start and then hung in there defensively. We got some stops when we needed it,'' Alleman coach Dave DeJaegher said after outgaining the hosts, 290-249.

"I don't think we had a great night offensively, but a lot of that was Moline. They really came at us hard on defense. We had a hard time moving the football. But the defense always bailed us out.''

After foiling Moline's many chances, Alleman delivered the knockout punch with 5:11 remaining.

Senior quarterback John Tracey hooked up with top target Adam Hoogerwerf on a 20-yard scoring strike on third-and-long.

The loss knocked Moline's defending Big 6 champs out of the playoff race at 2-5 (1-3).

"It's so disappointing,'' Sant Amour said. "I've told these guys all year about their potential, and what they could accomplish.

"Our defense played really well in the second half, but every opportunity we had, we didn't finish, and you can't do that against Alleman.''

Ever Avila (2 TFLs) and Cooper Sant Amour (1.5 TFLs) led a Moline defensive effort that registered seven tackles-for-loss.

Wetherell, Scott Schilb and Aiden Ford also had stops behind the line of scrimmage for Alleman.

Moline QB Marc Ashcraft accounted for more total yards (114) than Tracey (90), but was intercepted twice in a 5-for-11 night of passing for 51 yards. Tracey finished 3-for-6, for 34 yards in the air.

Jared Requet was Moline's top ground-gainer, rushing 8 times for 70 yards.

``It was a hard-hitting football game,'' DeJaegher said. ``We know we have a big game next week. It should be fun. But we need to enjoy this one. The kids worked hard and have a lot to be proud of.''

Despite the loss, Moline had plenty to smile about, too, after celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first high school game at J.T. Browning's donated cow pasture.

Vintage cars marked the unbeaten teams that have played at Browning. A pre-game ceremony included the release of 100 Maroon-and-White balloons, speeches by dignataries and the rededication of the Paul Carlson Memorial Travelling Trophy, named for the former Moline Dispatch sports editor and first awarded to the Moline-Alleman winner in the 1970s.