CHAMPAIGN — Senior Nick Hesse scored five touchdowns Friday night as Normal Community High School's football team wrapped up the Big 12 Conference championship and its first undefeated regular season since 2007 with a 50-21 victory over Champaign Central.
Hesse rushed for 176 yards and four touchdowns on nine carries. He also caught a 29-yard TD pass from Daylen Boddie.
The Class 7A No. 4-ranked Ironmen improved to 9-0 overall and won the outright Big 12 title at 8-0. Champaign Central fell to 2-7 and 2-6.
"He (Hesse) ran hard," NCHS coach Wes Temples said. "I thought we blocked awfully well, but he did a good job with the ball.
"I thought up front we were physical. Central plays so many different defenses and shows so many different things, it took a while for our guys to figure out where they were going. But I thought once our guys figured it out they did a good job."
Varshaun Dixon added 102 yards rushing and a touchdown on five carries for NCHS, which led 29-13 at the half. Boddie ran for 45 yards on four carries and was 3 of 6 passing for 56 yards and two TDs.
Jalen Coleman had the other touchdown reception, a 21-yarder.
NCHS totaled 373 yards rushing to end with 429 yards of total offense. Champaign Central had 228 yards rushing but no yards passing. The Maroons were led by Jalen Booker's 65 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries.
"Goal number one for us every year is to win the Big 12 and I'm happy for our guys that they were able to accomplish that," Temples said. "I think they've put themselves in good position (for the playoffs). But like any time we'll take it one game at a time.
"We'll worry about who we draw tomorrow night and prepare for those guys."
The Ironmen defense was led by Jaxon Peifer's 12 tackles (10 solos). Dalton Tevis had two sacks, while CJ Christian and Mike Hampton had six tackles each. Christian also recovered a fumble.
Temples said the Ironmen "had too many penalties."
"I thought our kids played hard, but we're giving teams way too many extra downs," Temples said. "We just have to be more disciplined to get where we want to go (in the playoffs)."