The Sterling Golden Warriors put a damper on the Pekin football team’s home opener, defeating the Dragons 54-13.
The No. 5 team in IHSA Class 5A forced seven Dragon turnovers on the night.
Pekin finished the game with four fumbles and three interceptions. Six of the seven giveaways came in the first half for Pekin.
Sterling got on the board early, leading 16-0 after the first quarter.
After a Turner Morse 33-yard run to spot the ball in field goal range, kicker Antonio Diaz launched a 25-yard field goal to get the Golden Warriors’ first three points of the game at the 7:43 mark.
On the ensuing kickoff, Pekin fumbled the football for the Dragons’ first turnover of the night. Sterling recovered at Pekin’s 7-yard line.
Sterling quarterback Trey Morse crossed the goal line at the 6:31 mark on a quarterback draw to make the score 9-0 in favor of the visiting team. Diaz converted the extra point to extend the lead to 10-0.
The Dragons fumbled on the sixth play of the following drive, giving Sterling the ball at the Pekin 37-yard line.
On the fourth play of the Sterling drive, Trey Morse hit wide receiver Marcus Shetter for a 37-yard touchdown pass on fourth down, pushing the Warriors’ lead to 16-0 with 3:10 left to play in the half after the failed extra point attempt.
Sterling’s offense didn’t let up early in the second quarter, scoring off a 25-yard pass from Trey Morse to Alek Duran to extend the lead to 22-0 with 9:18 left in the second. The extra point extended the lead to 23-0.
Pekin responded quickly on the ensuing kickoff when Julian Hill ran an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown at the 9:05 mark of the second quarter, making the score 23-6 after the Dragons failed to convert the extra point.
On the third play of the following drive, Trey Morse found Turner Morse for a 64-yard touchdown strike with 8:12 left in the first half. The extra point gave the Golden Warriors a 30-6 lead.
The Dragons and Golden Warriors exchanged turnovers before Sterling’s Brady Hall recovered a fumble by way of a strip sack of Pekin quarterback Mason Carr. Four plays later, Trey Morse scrambled into the endzone on a 5-yard keeper with 4:23 remaining in the half. The extra point made it 37-6 at halftime in favor of Sterling.
Sterling added 10 points in the third quarter. Diaz connected on a 33-yard field goal with 3:13 remaining in the third.
Latrell Vaughn scampered to the end zone on a 69-yard run with :20.9 left in the third to start the running clock to begin the fourth quarter. The extra point extended the Golden Warrior lead to 41 points, 47-6.
Andrew Spaulding scored on a 4-yard run to make it 54-6 in the fourth.
Pekin’s Garrett Liggett scored on a 1-yard run with 3:48 to give Pekin its first offensive TD of the night, making it 54-12. Nathan Righi’s extra point made it 54-13.