Defense digs in to give QND chance, turnovers prove costly in loss to Richmond-Burton


Quincy Notre Dame coach Jack Cornnell, center, will try to lead the Raiders to their first victory next week against Mahomet-Seymour after losing the first two weeks on the road. | Matt Schuckman photo

RICHMOND, Ill. — Everything Quincy Notre Dame football coach Jack Cornell and his staff saw in practice has them convinced better days lie ahead.

The effort the Raiders put into Friday night’s trip north backed that up.

QND limited Richmond-Burton to to six points in the second half, proved it could move the ball against a state-ranked defense and came away with some good vibes despite the 25-6 loss.

“We can see improvement,” Cornell said. “Right here talking to most of the coaches after the game, there are things we are improving at, things we can build on, things we need to correct. There are a lot of positives going forward.”

Those have to continue to build in practice the way they did last week following the 55-12 loss to Quincy High School.

“What we saw this week in practice is a more motivated team, a more dedicated team,” Cornell said. “I would expect the same effort next week. We’re excited we get to play at home. What I like about this team is these guys are competitive. They want to win.

“We’ll continue to do the right things off the field and in practice and it will lead to the right results on the field.”

Not many opponents have had good results playing Richmond-Burton over the past five seasons.

The Rockets, ranked fourth in Class 4A, won their 39th consecutive regular-season game by controlling the clock from the start and snuffing out the Raiders’ offense by creating turnovers.

Richmond-Burton opened the game with a six-minute drive that began with a kickoff returned to the QND 40-yard line. The Rockets used 10 plays to produce an 8-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback JT Groh to senior fullback Braxtin Nellessen.

QND proceeded to turn the ball over on its first two possessions, the second of which was an interception returned 16 yards for a touchdown by junior defensive lineman Logan Garcia.

“Regardless whether it’s five hours away or five minutes away, you have to play a clean football game,” Cornell said.

Eliminating mistakes enabled the Raiders to score their lone touchdown in the second quarter and trim the halftime deficit to 19-6. QND senior quarterback Noah Lunt connected with Joseph Doellman on a 37-yard touchdown pass with 2:05 remaining in the third quarter.

“We started moving the football in that game, and we’re starting to show what we can be,” Cornell said. “We have to keep trying to eliminate mistakes and play a clean football game.”

Lunt completed 9 of 20 passes for 104 yards with three interceptions. The running game churned out 40 yards on 18 carries with Ivan Hun carrying the ball four times for 30 yards. Junior linebacker Taylin Scott had 14 solo tackles and a forced fumble.

The Raiders (0-2) will play host to Mahomet-Seymour at 7 p.m. next Friday in the home opener.

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