MAPLE PARK – The Sterling defense kept creating turnovers, and even when the defense didn’t score on its own, it put the Golden Warriors’ offense in prime position.
Four interceptions and a fumble by Kaneland led to five touchdowns for Sterling in the Warriors’ 46-20 win in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs on Saturday at Peterson Field.
The big night for the Sterling defense included two touchdowns for Marquez Williams. The first came on a fumble recovery that he returned 54 yards.
“I just picked it up,” he said. “I thought that it was a dead ball, so I stopped for a second, but I didn’t hear any whistles, so I took off.”
His second score came on the first play of the second half, a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Isaiah Ryan got in on the act later in the third quarter. With Kaneland threatening at the Sterling 7-yard line, Ryan jumped in front of a pass in the end zone and went 103 yards for the score.
“We were in man coverage and I was just over the top,” Ryan said. “The quarterback threw it and I read his eyes. He threw it right to me, and then I just took off, got a good block at the end, too.”
Kaneland’s next offensive play resulted in a Turner Garcia interception, and Williams cashed in on the following play with a 9-yard touchdown run.
An Alek Duran interception on Kaneland’s first offensive snap of the game led to a Trey Morse-to-Duran touchdown pass six plays later.
Kaneland quarterback Jack Douglas was 11-for-31 passing for 193 yards, but was intercepted four times.
Sterling’s Nyrel Sullivan had 23 carries for 104 yards and two touchdowns, scoring from 37 yards out on the game’s opening drive, and cashing in from 2 yards out after back-to-back passes from Morse found Marcus Shetter and Weston Sisson for long gains.
With the win, the Golden Warriors are in the quarterfinals for the second year in a row.
“This is where we wanted to be at coming from last year,” Sullivan said. “We were ready to get back here.”
Sterling 46, Kaneland 20
Star of the game: Marquez Williams, Sterling, 1 fumble return TD, 1 interception return TD, 1 rushing TD
He said it: “We just came out to play. I’m really proud of [the defense], especially Marquez Williams. We’ve played football our whole life, and it was just really good to seeing one of my good friends come out to play.” – Sterling wide receiver/defensive back Alek Duran.
Up next: Sterling at Woodstock Marian, Saturday, TBA