MACKINAW — Injuries to Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley’s top two scorers forced the Falcon offense to rely on other ways to score throughout the game.
Isaiah Chatman led the Falcons with 93 yards on 12 carries and a third-quarter touchdown as GCMS closed out the regular season 8-1 and tied for second in the Heart of Illinois Conference Large Division at 4-1 with a 19-0 win over Deer Creek-Mackinaw on the turf in Mackinaw.
GCMS had to play without running back Aidan Laughery, who left the game with an elbow injury on a tackle on the first play from scrimmage. Senior linebacker Payton Kean was out for the night with an ankle sprain.
“Kean is about 80 or 85 percent right now, but we wanted to keep him fresh and keep him healthy, it gives Isaiah a chance at fullback,” head coach Mike Allen said. “He, Jones and Kallal did a nice job.”
Nick Culler and Daniel Jones each had one touchdown, Culler on a 16-yard catch in the first quarter and Jones on a one-yard carry in the second.
GCMS finished with 308 total yards, 197 on the ground and 111 through the air.
Daniel Jones had 46 yards on 14 carries and Nathan Kallal had five carries for 36 yards. Kallal led the Falcons through the air with 43 yards on two carries.
“Kallal came in and played wingback for us and played very well,” Allen said. “He ran the ball, caught a couple of passes and blocked very well for us.”
Quarterback Cade Elliott finished 7-of-12 passing for 111 yards.
“Cade threw the ball very well, missed a couple of passes to Nick Culler in the first half, which would have walked it in,” Allen said. “We spread the call around and we’re going to give our opponents something to look at.”
A 48-yard run by Mitchell Cleaver would be the only highlight of the night for the Chiefs (2-7, 1-4), who were held to just 86 total yards, 76 on the ground and a 10-yard pass.
Karson Eccles had 32 yards on 13 carries, while quarterback Zack Horve had only one completion for positive yardage.
Allen said he will work on finishing drives, as GCMS stalled on the final possession of the first half after key penalties, and was held on another key possession in the second half in the low-scoring affair.
“We had three opportunities in the red zone, and we have to punch those in,” he explained. “We cannot get stopped three different possessions on the goal line. We have to put it in. One of the things we’ll correct.”