CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) A.J. Christensen rushed for 183 yards and a touchdown and added a 93-yard kickoff return for a score to lead Forreston past Decatur St. Teresa 35-7 in the IHSA Class 1A state football finals at Memorial Stadium in Champaign on Friday.
Christenson's kickoff return happened just after St. Teresa tied the game at 7 with less than six minutes left in the first half.
"The kickoff was big for sure, but bigger, I think, was holding them out of the end zone twice in the first half," Christensen said. "Those stands made the difference. It took the momentum completely away from them and kept us going."
The goal-line stands came in the second quarter with the score tied or the Forreston Cardinals (14-0) ahead by a touchdown.
"We had success with the package that we had in there all year," St. Teresa coach Mark Ramsey said. "I was happy with the guys we had in. We just didn't get it done."
The Cardinals, running a triple option offense, fooled the Bulldogs (12-2) time and again in the game. The first touchdown of the game came when Forreston quarterback Hunter Daws made two play action fakes and then threw the ball over the top to Sam Barkalow for a 54-yard score.
"I thought we did some good things and some that weren't so good." Forreston coach Denny Diduch said. "Offensively, we really ran the ball well and when we shored some things up defensively, we played much better."
St. Teresa standout sophomore Jacardia Wright, an all-state selection this year, was held to just 46 yards on 16 carries. Senior quarterback Ryan Fyke threw for 209 yards for the Bulldogs.
Forreston, which won the Class 1A title in 2014, rushed for 368 yards as a team.