PEORIA — The Normal Community High School football team wasn’t especially flashy, just effective during a 48-22 victory over Peoria Notre Dame in Big 12 Conference football action on Friday.
The Class 7A No. 6-ranked Ironmen, who got three touchdowns from Jalen Coleman and two special teams TDs from Franky West, improved to 3-0 overall and in the league while Notre Dame fell to 1-2 and 1-1.
“Jalen is a difference maker,” said NCHS coach Wes Temples. “Our guys understand that on any given night, it could be somebody else. Tonight, I thought they had a hard time covering Jalen. He’s explosive.
“They were singling him up over there and we like that opportunity. Daylen (Boddie) did a good job getting him the ball. Our line did a good job giving Daylen some time.”
NCHS, which lost to the Irish last year 21-14, watched Boddie complete 5 of 13 passes for 98 yards and two TDs. He also rushed nine times for 71 yards and a 26-yard score. Coleman caught three balls for 75 yards, scoring on 27- and 37-yard receptions and a 29-yard run.
Nick Hesse ran five times for 76 yards and a 44-yard score while Varshaun Dixon rushed eight times for 58 yards.
“I don’t know how many yards in penalties we had, but we had way too many,” said Temples, whose team committed 14 penalties for 100 yards. “We got away with it tonight, but we’re not going to beat a team as good as Normal West (next week) doing that.
“If you can win by 26 points and it was as ugly as it was, there’s a lot to build on. The bottom line is they are not always going to be pretty. I truly believe sometimes you’ve got to be in some battles. The score may not represent it, but that (Notre Dame) is a good team. They are well-coached team and our kids had to fight through some situations they haven’t been in the first two games.”
Notre Dame, which was coming off a 72-7 victory over Peoria Manual, received 77 yards on 14 carries from Giorgio Grivetti. Quarterback Caleb Haisler completed 6 of 13 passes for 127 yards. He was intercepted by Jaxon Peifer. Dalton Tevis of NCHS recovered a fumble.
“They are very good,” said Notre Dame coach Sean Gillen. “I would probably put my money on that being the best team in the conference. I know they will probably go home and say they had a lot of penalties and didn’t play as efficient as they wanted to, but that is a very great team.”
The first NCHS possession came after Jordyn Newman blocked a punt. The Ironmen proceeded to march 40 yards in six plays with Coleman polishing it off with his 29-yard scoring run. Josue Nsukami added the first of two extra-point kicks with 7:08 left in the first quarter.
Notre Dame punter Thomas Foley also had his second punt blocked, this time by West, who returned the ball 30 yards to make it 14-0 with 3:44 left in the first period.
“I feel bad for Logan (Fricker), but Logan had it first,” West said. “We were just fighting for it.”
West also returned the opening kickoff of the second half 80 yards for a TD. Camron Hinman added one of his four extra-point kicks to make it 28-7.
“Any time you can score on special teams, it’s special, but he did it twice,” Temples said. “It was two explosive plays and two game-changing type plays. Franky has done an unbelievable job at DB for us all year.”
West shared the credit for his kickoff return.
“My return men gave me a good block,” West said. “They said they were going to give me the blocks to get me in the end zone. We played great, but we still have stuff to fix.”