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Aurora Christian coach shoulders blame

AurorChristian quarterback Ryan McQuade (7) winds up pass as Immaculate Conceptidefender James Janowski (21) arrives just late for sack. |

Aurora Christian quarterback Ryan McQuade (7) winds up to pass as Immaculate Conception defender James Janowski (21) arrives just to late for a sack. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 6, 2012 6:16AM

Don Beebe’s candor is refreshing, whether the Aurora Christian coach is assessing his players, or himself.

After the Eagles held on to beat conference rival Immaculate Conception 28-21 Saturday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Class 3A playoffs, the former NFL receiver was in an analytical mood.

He was asked about the interception his nephew, QB Ryan McQuade threw that halted his team’s opening drive at the Knights’ 15-yard-line. The ball was thrown just a bit too high for receiver Chad Beebe, glanced off his fingertips and bounced up before finally settling into the hands of DB Sam Antes.

A crisp drive that had started at the ACS 21 came to a screeching halt.

The throw, a physical error, didn’t bother the elder Beebe so much as the read his passer made. And more than that, was the play before it, when McQuade overthrew a wide open TE Ryan Suttle in the middle of the field.

“We’ve gotta be able to settle down at the quarterback position and make that play,” said Don Beebe of the earlier throw. “Ryan was wide open, there wasn’t anyone within 10 yards of him and he just overthrew Suttle. And (McQuade) knows that. He’d be the first to admit it.”

On the pick, Beebe said his QB made a bad read. A better throw and something positive would have come out of the play, “but he should have thrown to the outside. (Chad Beebe) is not the guy who should have got the ball. That’s two bad things in a row but those are live and learn as a young guy.”

And then, the coach pointed a finger in his own direction.

The Eagles held a 28-14 lead with time winding down in the fourth quarter when defensive end Jackson Carpenter came up with a big play, making like the Bears’ Charles Tillman. As he chased scrambling IC quarterback Dimitris Carr, Carpenter reached out and punched the ball loose. It rolled nearly 15 yards before Joel Bouagnon recovered for the Eagles on the IC 40 with 3:59 remaining in the game.

On the very next play, though, with everyone thinking ACS would run out the clock with its strong ground game, McQuade threw to the far sideline, only to have the ball picked off by Danny D’Angelo. Six plays later the home team had scored to pull within the final margin with 2:56 remaining.

It made for some tense moments before the Eagles recovered the onside kick and ran out all but six seconds of the clock then held off IC’s last-ditch pass attempt.

“My personality is to go for the jugular a lot and get the game over,” a sheepish Don Beebe would say later. “That was my mindset there because I was thinking they didn’t expect it.

“It was a bad call, no question about it. You guys can put it in the paper.”

Quarterfinal times

Aurora fans with no close ties to either program but an interest in the quarterfinal matchups will have to decide between going to Aurora Christian’s next playoff game or Waubonsie Valley’s next game.

The fourth-seeded Eagles (10-1) will play host to No. 9 Winnebago (9-2) on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Class 3A.

The fourth seeded Warriors (10-1) will travel to district rival and top seed Neuqua Valley (11-0) for a 6 p.m. rematch with their district rivals, who prevailed 35-34 in double overtime in the regular season matchup at North Central College.

“It was pretty easy to agree,” said Beebe, whose team beat Winnebago 48-13 last year in the quarterfinals on their way to a state championship. “I think both teams play all their games at night, plus you’ll get a bigger crowd then.”

The school is also hosting a concert featuring two Christian bands on Sunday and a semi truck is scheduled to deliver equipment to set up the stage for the event on Saturday afternoon which would have made playing the game any earlier impossible.

Waubonsie Valley coach Paul Murphy told his kids after their earlier loss to the Wildcats that they could see their rivals in a rematch at some point if they took care of business in each of the following weeks. They’ve done it.

“We played on Saturday last week and they played on Friday but the further you go in the playoffs, you want to get on the Saturday schedule because if you get downstate you’ll play on Saturday and you want to take advantage of that extra day,” said Murphy, adding there was no discussion about moving the game to a neutral site like North Central.

“The IHSA doesn’t allow that unless there’s a problem with the field and I don’t imagine Neuqua would want to give up a home game. We originally requested 1 p.m. Saturday and they wanted 7, because they want their band there and the band has a commitment earlier in the day. We settled on 6.”

Kaneland setback

Maybe the top-seeded Knights’ loss to Lincoln-Way West wasn’t so shocking after all, given that junior QB Drew David has played the past two weeks with a broken thumb suffered in practice that will require surgery, according to published reports, and given the quality of the Warriors’ defensive line.

David completed just 9 of 29 pass attempts for 79 yards in the 31-15 setback and was intercepted three times. The Knight ground game also struggled, leaving David vulnerable to a topnotch pass rush that harassed him all game and sacked him nine times.

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