For most football teams, finishing a game with an average of one first down per every 3.5 rushing attempts would be a good night.
For the Quincy Blue Devils duo of Jirehl Brock and Adonte Crider, they are reaching the end zone a combined once every 3.5 carries in Western Big 6 Conference play. That drops to one per every 3.9 carries overall.
That is correct — they have scored 23 touchdowns on 81 carries in the conference and 40 on 154 carries overall. And when you start talking first downs, Brock (111 carries for 1,442 yards and 27 TDs) is averaging 13.0 yards per carry overall and 16.9 in the WB6; Crider’s (43 carries for 709 yards and 13 TDs) averages are even higher at 16.5 overall and 17.7 in league play.
“I was looking at a Tweet after last week’s game against Alleman and I told Jirehl that we are really doing some amazing things,” Crider said.
Quincy coach Rick Little is also in awe of what his dynamic duo has done this fall.
“I believe Jirehl is the best player in the state of Illinois,” Little told the Quincy Herald-Whig. “When you start with a guy like that, you have such an advantage. And we’ve seen the evolution of Adonte, not only as a runner but, most impressively, he’s become a more physical presence on the offensive side.
“But you can’t do that — and I know this is cliche — without the big boys up front.”
Brock became the Big 6’s all-time leading ground gainer with his 261 yards on Saturday. He passed Rock Island’s Alonzo Wise (4,397) and now has 4,419 yards with tonight’s game against Moline to play.
“It does amaze me,” Brock said of his records. He is two TDs shy of the school record 29, which he set as a sophomore in 2016. “I never thought this could happen to me. I remember growing up watching Quincy football and all their struggles.
“For me, I took that as a challenge when I got to high school and I wanted to be part of changing the program. I guess the record speaks for itself that we have changed it. I knew in 2016 I wanted to keep the program rolling and I not only want it to keep going, I want them to be better after I graduate.”
Before that happens, Brock and Crider are looking forward to trying to win the Big 6 title tonight when defending champ Moline comes to town. Both teams are 4-0 in league play.
“We are pumped for (tonight),” Crider said. “I’m sure the crowd will be huge and we will be focused.”
Moline coach Mike Morrissey, who has a top-notch duo of Harrison Bey-Buie and Aboubacar Barry in his backfield, knows it may be difficult to stop Brock and Crider. His focus is to not allow them to turn the game into their own individual track meet.
“They are extremely talented,” Morrissey said. “As fast as Brock is, I think number 5 (Crider) might be faster, and he is getting more physical. The big thing we have to do is make them earn everything they get. We need to limit the points they score and get some stops.”
Crider has, indeed, grown up this season after playing a more limited role last fall as a sophomore.
“Last year he was timid at times, but now he is a big part of our offense,” Brock said. “It helps me because teams can’t stack one side and it helps the team because he is so explosive.”
Added Crider, “I was a little scared last year and I had to get that feeling out of my mind this year.”
Brock has more than twice as many carries as Crider, but the junior is more than fine with bowing to his elder back.
“The most I’ve had this year is nine or 10 carries in a game, and as long as it is working, I’m fine with it,” Crider said. “I know next year will be my time and I’ll be ready for it. The biggest thing about both of us is the big guys up front. They open the holes for us and make it easier.”
Having made his decision to commit to Iowa State in July has helped Brock with his senior season.
“I don’t have to pay attention to anyone else but my game,” he said. “I play on Friday and go to the Iowa State games on Saturday.”
That’s not to say he still isn’t getting his fair share of calls from programs looking to woo him away from Iowa State, including Ohio State which was one of his favorites who had not offered when he talked about his recruitment last fall
“I got calls from Oklahoma and Ohio State the last two days,” Brock said. “I’m still getting new schools who are looking for running backs. It would take a lot for me to de-commit from Iowa State. It wouldn’t be anything someone did trying to get me, it would have to be something Iowa State did to make me not want to go there.”