Homefield advantage in the first round of the playoffs — check. First eight-win season in six years — check. Win streak extended — check.
James Hua chipped in three touchdowns to help the Knights take care of a grocery list of accomplishments during the team’s 42-14 win against Davenport North on Friday at Brady Street Stadium.
Hua, a senior playing in his final regular-season game, led the Knights with 121 yards on 13 carries, most of which came in the first half.
Hua said the team focused on beating North during the week, but winning an eighth game to secure a home playoff matchup in the first round was also discussed.
“This win marks us a good team in the playoffs,” he said. “Now we have to get ready. We have a game on Wednesday.”
The Knights have not won a playoff game since the team’s last eight-win season, which was in 2007.
Assumption coach Wade King said while reaching eight wins, after going 7-2 the past few years during the regular season, is good, the team’s preparation this week was focused on beating North.
“It was a game we had to play and prepare for like any other game,” he said. “North does a good job. They kept their kids in the game.”
Assumption takes a seven-game win streak into the playoffs. While North didn’t break the streak Friday, the Wildcats scored two touchdowns on the Knights, who have prided themselves on stingy defense this season.
First-year North coach Guy Dierikx said his team’s performance against Assumption was part of a culture he is working to build.
“We’ve been able to persevere and stick together,” he said. “And that’s what we’re trying to do here.”
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North (1-8) was led by senior Jordan Trowers, who carried the ball 27 times and recorded 107 yards and a touchdown.
Dierikx said Trowers grew into the team leader during the season.
“The way he took over the leadership of this team was amazing to watch,” Dierikx said. “He has many positive things to look forward to.”
Trowers broke a tackle at the line and rushed 26 yards for a touchdown on the 21st of his 27 carries midway through the third quarter. Hua and the Knights, however, already had the game in hand.
Zach Adrian restored Assumption’s four-touchdown lead, making it 35-7, with a 4-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
North struck again midway through the fourth quarter when Quilin Johnson snuck away from the Assumption secondary and was alone around the Knights’ 20-yard line when he caught a Corey Iossi pass for a 44-yard score to make it 35-14.
The Knights again responded by restoring their 28-point lead when Jack Fitzgibbon threw a 7-yard pass to Matt Wiedenhoeft to make it 42-14.
Assumption started building its lead on its first possession of the game when Hua pulled away from North’s defense for a 35-yard score up the middle. The run came four plays after Assumption’s defense halted North’s opening drive on downs. The Wildcats reached the Knights’ 22-yard line before a fumble forced a third-and-16 situation that North could not overcome.
Hua made it 14-0 only minutes later on an 18-yard run. Jake Gervase connected with Jordan Allen and Ryan Coughlin on passes of 21 and 12 yards respectively to help set up the score.
The Knights added a third touchdown when Kolton O’Day and a cadre of blockers rushed 30 yards into the end zone to begin the second quarter.
North nearly got on the scoreboard when the team drove the ball to Assumption’s 10-yard line in the final seconds of the first half but a 27-yard field goal attempt was partially blocked, leaving the score 21-0 at halftime.
Assumption lifted its lead to 28 on Hua’s third touchdown of the night, a 12-yard run with eight minutes left in the third quarter. The score came after North surprised the Knights with an onside kick to open the second half. The Knights recovered a North fumble a few plays later, setting up Assumption’s score.