The pin-point passing of quarterback Nic Baker, combined with a 300-yard rushing attack, led No. 1 state-ranked Rochester to a 42-6 victory over Prairie Central in a Class 4A opening round game at Rochester.

Baker tossed touchdown strikes of 9 and 21 yards to Cade Eddington in the first half to help the Rockets to a 28-0 halftime lead. Baker's 30-yard TD run and a 7-yard scoring strike to Jayden Reed early in the third quarter gave Rochester a 42-0 advantage forcing a running clock.

Prairie Central (5-5) got on the board late in the game when quarterback Billy Printz hooked up with Wyatt Steidinger on a 64-yard pass play for the game's final score.

Printz was 8-of-15 for 151 yards. Eddie Shumaker caught five of the passes for 68 yards. Cade Kerns rushed for 47 yards on 10 carries for the Hawks.

Baker completed 14-of-16 passes for Rochester for 193 yards. Jacob DuRocher rushed for a game-high 107 yards on nine carries. Rochester, 10-0 and the reigning Class 4A state champs, advance to face the winner of Saturday's game between Belleville Althoff and Carterville.


Byron 28, Eureka 7: For the second consecutive year, Eureka (6-4) lost its playoff opener at Byron.

Byron (10-0), the No. 3 seed in the upper bracket, advanced to face the winner of Saturday's contest between Poplar Grove North Boone and Monticello.

Nolan Bielskis put Byron on the board late in the first quarter on a 1-yard run. Ricky Messling added a 1-yard run of his own to give the Tigers a 14-0 halftime lead.

Bielskis' second 1-yard plunge made it 21-0 early in the fourth quarter, but  Eureka struck quickly on a 72-yard TD pass from Jonah Hahn to Jake Bachman just 14 seconds later. 

The Tigers sealed the win with a 22-yard pass from Pauly Rico to Hayden Jancek with 4:21 to play.

Michael Criscone had 166 yards on 21 carries for the Tigers. Bachman totaled. 61 yards on 23 runs.


Dunlap 64, Streator 20: Tray Fisher had touchdown runs of 38 and 13 yards for No. 16-seeded Streator but top-seeded host Dunlap pulled away behind four rushing TDs from Luke Bennyhoff.

After Dunlap (10-0) struck first, the Bulldogs (5-5) answered with a 6-yard pass from John Benckendorf to Lucas Sharisky. Fisher's first TD run made it 14-14 before the Eagles reclaimed an eight-point lead before the end of the quarter and never looked back.

Fisher earned his second score on the first play of the fourth quarter, cutting Dunlap's lead to 57-20.


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