DeKALB – Richmond-Burton won behind its defense all year.
On Saturday, the Rockets claimed a state title behind it.
Richmond-Burton won its second state championship and the first under Hall of Fame coach Mike Noll with a 50-14 win against Murphysboro in the Class 4A title game at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb.
The defense didn't allow a point in the win for the Rockets (14-0) against the Red Devils (11-3) until 3:04 was left in the game.
"Their defense just overpowered us," Murphysboro quarterback Jamarr McZeke said. "Every time we handed the ball off they were there."
Despite holding the ball for 30:42, the Red Devils were outgained 370-252. They ran 62 plays to 36 for the Rockets.
Dezmond Clark led the Red Devils with 71 rushing yards.
"They had great closing speed in the gaps and they got to our plays fast," Clark said. "They could read our plays and knew what we had coming towards the."
Dalton Wood ran for 106 yards and Nick Legnaioli added 97 for Richmond-Burton, with each scoring twice.
Already up 17 at the break, Legnaioli returned the second-half kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown. After tiptoeing along the sideline, he cut inside through traffic to the opposite side to finish off the scoring run.
Wood added a score in the third from 7-yards after the Rockets defense forced a fumble to push the score to 31-0. Tyler Anderson added a short scoring run with 5:05 still left in the third to grow the lead to 38-0.
Rey Guajardo brought the game to the running clock with a 35-yard touchdown run with 2:03 left in the third. Murphysboro's Dezmond Clark put the Red Devils on the board with a kickoff return for a touchdown, bringing the score to 44-7. Clark added a rushing touchdown with 3:04 left.
The Rockets scored on all three of their first-half possessions. Legnaioli started the scoring with a 14-yard run, then later in the first Dalton Wood added a 1-yard run.
Legnaioli tacked on a 25-yard field goal late in the second to push the lead to 17-0 at the break.
"We talked about getting off to a fast start, which we had done all year," Noll said. At home, on the road, we get off the bus and are ready to go. I think that's important. Plus we saw the way they were playing early, they wanted to possess the football and bleed the clock so we needed to get points on the board."