PEORIA — The final rush of the night came from the grandstand, not the line of scrimmage, for Limestone last weekend.
The Rockets buried a 19-game losing streak with an 18-13 victory over East Peoria at home.
Sweet mayhem followed.
"The student body rushed the field," Limestone head football coach Darin Driscoll said. "It was an exciting moment. I just let our kids stay and soak up the moment.
"I woke up Saturday morning and it still hadn't quite sunk in, but it was a good feeling."
Limestone's last win was on Sept. 9 of the 2016 season, a 28-8 decision against — East Peoria.
The Rockets got to the finish line this time by building an 18-0 lead and hanging on for a white-knuckle finish.
Defensive back Nathan Thornton had two interceptions, while linebacker Gerald Cummings forced two fumbles to help Limestone get to the win column.
"We had a shutout going in the third quarter," Driscoll said. "It got real stressful when it was 18-13, I'll tell you that. It had been a while since we'd won a game. We got into a situation where we were trying not lose this one."
POLL POSITION: Metamora was hoping a road win over No. 6-ranked Dunlap last week would push their unranked team into the state poll.
It did, as the Redbirds landed at No. 7 this week and head into a home duel with Morton.
"We think (Morton) is the best team we've faced this season," Metamora head coach Pat Ryan said. "We are in the gauntlet now, and we'll have to take another step up. We didn't really have a lot of time to enjoy that win over Dunlap last weekend.
"This group from Morton scored 55 on us last year. Their QB (Nolan Donald) is bigger and stronger now, he's like the ultimate wildcat quarterback. They have a different running back but he's really good, and the kids up front are the same ones we saw last season."
PLAY BALL: Manual faces Notre Dame High School in the annual Shamrock Classic at Dozer Park on Friday.
"We're pretty excited," Manual head coach Gene Cagle said. "To me, it's just another football game, we could play in the street as far as I'm concerned and I'd be excited and it'd be OK because it's football.
"But the kids, the location of this game is everything. Playing a game at Dozer Park will be tremendous for them, they've had this game circled on their calendar all season."
REDZONE READINGS: Notre Dame's 48-42, four-overtime win over Champaign Centennial on Saturday matched its longest since a four-overtime game in the 1991 season. ND beat Peoria High 49-48 in a Mid-State 9 game in that 1991 duel. Irish kicker Steve Carroll was 7-for-7 in point-after kicks and Tom Kirchgessner recovered a fumble for a TD in the third OT and blocked a PAT for the deciding edge. Stick taps to PJS ace Joe Bates for the research on that. ... Washington, ranked No. 1 in the state Class 5A poll, could end up in the 6A playoff field, according to prep analysis by Steve Soucie of the Joliet Herald-News. He says Dunlap and Peoria High, both ranked in 5A, project to be 6A playoff teams. ... Limestone's last two victories against Mid-Illini Conference teams — going back to the 2016 season — are both against East Peoria. The Rockets last beat an M-I team not named East Peoria with a 19-15 decision over Dunlap on Oct. 16 of the 2015 season. ... Ticket prices for the Shamrock Classic (Notre Dame vs Manual) at Dozer Park are $6 for general admission. ... The Morton at Metamora game will be the featured game carried by 95.5 GLO radio on Friday.
Dave Eminian covers the Rivermen and Chiefs for the Journal Star. Reach him at 686-3206 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @icetimecleve.