HAMPSHIRE – Crystal Lake Central wide receiver Isaiah Mosher looked up at a spiral headed his way Friday and knew that a catch would equal a touchdown.
Mosher reeled in passes from quarterback Kyle Lavand for long-distance scores from 44 yards and 50 yards as the Tigers beat Hampshire, 27-8, in both teams’ FVC Fox Division finale.
“The ball was set perfectly where the defender couldn’t reach it and only I could get it,” Mosher said. “It’s just pure speed at that point.”
The next goal for Central (7-2, 5-1) is to go deep into the postseason. The Tigers will find out today which team they will play and whether they will be at home or on the road.
Meanwhile, the Whip-Purs (3-6, 2-4) will look toward next year to build upon an up-and-down season that ended with five losses in their last six games.
A sloppy surface preceded a messy first half for the Tigers, who trailed 8-6 at the break before Mosher scored twice in the first four minutes of the third quarter. Lavand’s first pass of the game was intercepted by Hampshire linebacker Mason Fleury, and by halftime he had completed only three of five pass attempts for 11 yards.
In the second half, Lavand was 9-of-15 for 156 yards and two touchdowns.
“We knew we had to get it together,” said Lavand, who also scored on a 32-yard run in the fourth quarter. “We came out determined, and we got it done.”
Central coach Matt Fralick said a dominant second half was the result of simple execution rather than complicated adjustments. The Tigers’ lone touchdown of the first half came on a 1-yard run by Connor Hines.
“We just made a few plays, really,” Fralick said. “We had stuff open in the first half. Really, the only difference is that we just made a few plays in the second half.”
The Tigers’ defense limited the Whips to 171 yards of total offense. In his final game for Hampshire, senior Phil LaPointe scored on a 13-yard run and led the team with 88 rushing yards on 19 carries.
Hampshire did not complete a pass against the Tigers’ defense except for a two-point conversion from Kyle Anderson to Chris Calvin. Tigers cornerback Brent Pfaff picked off Anderson on the opening series of the second half.
Once the final whistle sounded, Mosher and his teammates looked to the playoffs.
“We’ve just got to have the best week of practice and get ready for playoffs,” Mosher said. “The second half that we had tonight, we have to have a full game of that.”
Fralick said he believed in his team.
“The kids are real excited,” Fralick said. “One week at a time. ... Why not us?”