FULTON, Ill. – In a return to playoffs, the Fulton Steamers soared to a 42-0 shutout win over Chicago Raby in the first round on Saturday afternoon on their home field.
Their defensive shutout was paired with an impressive offensive effort. Five different athletes found the endzone for Fulton during the contest.
“We got a lot of guys involved today,” senior Brock Mason said. Mason scored the final touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter. “And that’s what our offense is best at, getting guys involved.”
It was a hot start for the Steamers, who ended their regular season on a two-game winning streak. Their first drive featured runs by Jacob Jones, Keegan VanKampen and Ryan Eads to move them up into Raby territory.
It was Eads who finished the drive out and pushed the first points across the board. Eads broke away from a couple of tackles and ran into the endzone AT 9:45 to put the Steamers on the board.
Endi Quanaj came out and kicked a touchback, and just a few plays later the Steamers got the ball back. More offensive output from multiple players put them within striking distance. Jacob Jones swept to the outside and dove toward the goal line to give Fulton first and inches, then Keegan VanKampen powered it in for the second touchdown with just over four minutes left in the first quarter.
The next drive featured a big pass play to Baylen Damhoff and some runs by Brock Mason. Early in the second quarter, Daken Pessman was the one to score. Pessman pulled down a pass from Patrick Lower and the Steamers went up by three scores.
“I think our options showed a lot. Our goal coming in was punch them in the mouth, punch them in the mouth,” Mason said. “They started blitzing a lot, they brought people and it started giving Keegan [VanKampen] fits in the middle. But then we can run Jacob [Jones], Ryan [Eads] and me. Even Daken [Pessman] caught a touchdown pass. We got a lot of guys involved.”
In all, five different athletes scored touchdowns for Fulton. VanKampen ran in two scores, Pessman had a touchdown reception, Eads broke away for his 35 yard run, Baylen Damhoff scored on an 11-yard pass play and Bock Mason scored the last in the fourth quarter.
The Steamers had 378 total yard of offense. Meanwhile, their defense held Chicago Raby to just 97 total yards and no scores.
“I think it puts out there to other teams that we focus on defense because defense wins championships,” Mason said. “Every drive, we go out and try to force a turnover or force a down. We’re doing whatever we can to get them off the field and get our offense out there, that’s our main goal.”
Fulton also avoided penalties. While Chicago Raby wracked up penalty yards, the Steamers minimized their errors to just a couple of flags thrown. It was a mix of senior experience on the roster and keeping focused according to Mason.
“It’s huge because it doesn’t push us back any,” Mason said. “It doesn’t stop any momentum we have. It helps us get down the field.”
The Steamers now move on to the second round, traveling this Saturday to Ottawa Marquette.
“Week by week,” Mason said. “Focus on the team we have that week. We want to stay on task. When we’re at practice, it’s football. It all pays off on Saturdays.”