Seeking its first winning streak of the season, the Moline football team used an inspired effort on defense to beat Galesburg 34-13 at Browning Field on Friday night.
Galesburg (1-5, 0-4 Big Six) had negative yardage in the first half, scoring only on a 76-yard kickoff return before the intermission.
Moline (4-2, 3-1 Big Six) had two first-half sacks and an interception in the game, which Moline coach Mike Morrissey said featured the best defense the team had played all season.
“Defensively, we were incredible,” Morrissey said. “I think the kids were psyched up for things. We had to switch things up because of some injuries and some guys got some opportunities tonight and they stepped up big time. Our coaches had the kids prepared.”
One Maroon who stepped up was Jaheim Mitchell, who had an increased workload after Aboubacar Barry reaggravated an ankle and had just two carries. Though Kaeden Dreifurst led the way with 136 yards with two scores on 25 carries, Mitchell showed burst of his own early on.
His 60-yard touchdown run in the first quarter put Moline up 13-7. He finished with 118 yards rushing and two touchdowns on just eight carries.
Mitchell said he was prepared knowing Barry could be limited.
“It was my big time to step up and fill in for (Barry),” he said. “Being able to help my team out however I can, whenever I can, it’s the best thing I can do.”
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Morrissey said Barry probably could have returned, but he was dressed in regular clothes after halftime.
“He felt OK in the second half, but it’s better safe than sorry with him at this point,” the coach said.
Moline fans changed Friday's theme to a "red-out" to stand in solidarity to support sophomore Maroon Dakovion “Kovi” Kennedy, the 15-year-old Moline football player in critical condition at Peoria’s OSF Saint Francis Medical Center as doctors work to diagnose an apparent virus affecting his heart that he developed shortly after a game on Sept. 23.
“That’s a teammate, a friend, a brother,” Morrissey said of DK. “Our deal is, while we’re at practice we stay focused, we try to do the things we can to get better as a team, but off the field, I think these kids are thinking about him an awful lot.”
Moline QB Zidan Sterling was 4-for-7 with 67 yards and one touchdown, a 15 yarder to Jacob Pauwels in the second quarter.
Moline heads to Sterling next week in a pivotal game in the Big Six.
“I think we’re going to come in focused,” Mitchell said. “We’re going to come in and try to dominate as best we can.”