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Ironmen dominate defending 4A Champs in team-effort

Mr. Jeff Christopherson
Mar’Quan Gary pulls in a 27 yard touchdown. Gary had four receptions for 86 yards and scored on a nine-yard run in the season opener. Photo Courtesy of:

Five Ironmen found the end zone in Friday’s 54-14 rout of defending 4A State Champions Sacred Heart-Griffin.

Tailbacks Tommy Davis and Calen Taylor and wideout Mar’Quan Gary were key offensive contributors in the statement victory over the Cyclones, scoring two touchdowns apiece in the season opener.

Davis scored from six yards out on the second play of the Iron’s opening drive to give Community a 7-0 first-quarter lead.

The Cyclones responded with a touchdown of their own, converting on fourth and goal to knot the score at 7-7.

Cyclone QB Levi Hanauer’s two-yard TD rush capped an 83-yard drive for SHG.

After that, Head Coach Jason Drengwitz said, the Ironmen defense “settled in,” containing Hanauer and the Cyclone’s zone-read offense and quick passing game.

“We had a better feel for what they’re trying to do formation-wise, schematically,” Drengwitz said. After SHG’s 1st quarter score, “we did a better job” playing “assignment-sound football, knowing what our responsibilities were.”

Community regained the lead when Kyle Beaty and Mar’Quan Gary connected on a 27-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone.

The 6’1” receiver pulled in the throw in tight coverage to give the Iron a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Ironmen extended their lead to 20-7 after Calen Taylor took a screen pass into the end zone from 17 yards out.

The screen, Drengwitz said, is “an integral part” of the Ironmen offense, and to do it well requires precision.

“Every play in football requires all 11 people to do their job,” Drengwitz said. “It’s why football is a beautiful game.”

Getting “the linemen downfield blocking and the receivers downfield blocking,” the coach said, can mean the difference between “a good play” and “a huge play.”

On Friday, the result was a 2nd quarter touchdown.

Returning to play after a nearly hour and a half lightning delay, Community’s defense was electric.

Cornerback Aiden Boundy intercepted a Hanauer pass, bolting for a 27-yard score.

The defense struck twice when, on the next drive, linebacker Brady Augstin intercepted a pass deflected by Kaden Maas.

Augstin surged 63 yards, streaking down the home sideline for a score, giving Community a 34-7 half-time lead.

The duo, Drengwitz said, are intelligent football players who “can execute their technique” and “know the defensive scheme really well.”

“When you prep the right way, and you understand what we’re doing, you’re going to find yourself in positions to make plays.”

Davis extended the Ironmen lead to 40-7 as the senior went untouched as he sprinted 69 yards for his second score of the night.

Davis finished the contest with 97 yards on eight carries.

Davis’ explosive second-half performance, Drengwitz said, is “the end result of a great off-season, a great summer and an outstanding fall camp.”

Drengwitz credits the offense as a whole with excelling in the second half.

“I really thought everyone played well, our offensive linemen up front, our receivers, our tight ends.”

The team effort was evident when Mar’Quan Gary scored on the ground early in the fourth quarter.

Gary, with a host of Ironmen blocking downfield, took a sweep in from the nine-yard line to put the Iron up 47-7.

The junior receiver finished Friday’s game with four receptions and 86 yards.

Gary, Drengwitz said, has the potential to be “really special, a generational player.”

“He is very talented and an explosive player,” the coach said. “We feel really fortunate and blessed that he plays for the Ironmen.”

SHG backup quarterback Trent Caldwell connected with Christian Pollard for an 86-yard touchdown throw to cut the Iron’s lead to 47-14.

Caldwell entered the contest as starting SHG QB Hanauer appeared to be sidelined by cramping.

The weather, Drengwitz thinks, was a factor in the contest, as 5A SHG was “starting a handful of guys both ways.”

“That adds up on a hot night like Friday,” Drengwitz said.

“We don’t start anybody both ways. We have guys that are involved on both sides of the ball,” but the team’s depth, Drengwitz said, “allowed us to play a fresh 11 on each side of the ball.”

Sophomore Calen Taylor looked fresh in the fourth quarter spelling Tommy Davis in the backfield.

Taylor broke a tackle, going 53 yards for his second score of the night, to seal Community’s 54-14 win.

Taylor and Davis, Drengwitz said, are “both extremely talented,” something that might see both featured in the offensive attack together in the upcoming season.

Their skill, the coach said, “allows us to do some things where we get them both on the field at the same time eventually.”

Beaty finished the night with one TD pass, going 8 of 13 for 108 yards.

Community combined for 320 yards of total offense, with 212 coming on the ground.

The Iron head to Champaign Central Friday, facing the 0-1 Maroons in their first Big 12 action of 2023.

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About the Contributors
Inkspot Staff
Stories published under Inkspot Staff are unattributed to a single reporter because they: have been produced through a collaborative staff effort; individual staff member contribution is not easily distinguishable; and/or the story was disseminated from announcements or press releases.
Brantley Dumas II
Brantley Dumas II, Senior Staff Reporter
Brantley Dumas is a senior at Normal Community High School. He is the president Black Student Union and is on the varsity bowling team. He is a second-year Staff Reporter on the Inkspot. If I were to win a million dollars I would definitely pay for college, then buy all the shoes and clothes I could ever want. I enjoy fashion, making and listening to music and anime. So, if you like any of those we can probably be friends. My biggest pet peeve is when people chew too loud. Gross.
Jeffery Woodard
Jeffery Woodard, Senior Staff Reporter
Jeffery Woodard is a senior at Normal Community High School and is involved in track & field. This is his third year working with the Inkspot, and he is a senior staff reporter. On the weekends, I enjoy hanging out with friends and going to the gym. In my free time, I enjoy watching movies of all sorts. My favorite film is "Black Panther."
Zachary Knox-Doyle
Zachary Knox-Doyle, Senior Staff Reporter
Zachary Knox-Doyle is a junior at Normal Community High School and plays on the school's tennis team. He is a Senior Staff Reporter at the Inkspot. One of my biggest inspirations is Candace Parker because of her insane skills on the basketball court, never back down attitude and the work she's done for ESPN behind the mic. I am most comfortable and content when I'm playing tennis and basketball simply for the love of the sport.
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