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Aurora Christian quarterback Ryan McQuade (7) scrambles for a first down during the first half of their game against St. Edward in Elgin Friday. August 31, 2012. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Aurora Christian football coach Don Beebe was well aware of how his team’s schedule was laid out before the season started.
Knowing his team would likely need six wins to reach the playoffs for a chance to defend its Class 3A state championship, Beebe knew the tough part of the schedule would come later in the year.
The Eagles went ahead and took care of business against the soft part of their schedule, going 4-0 with a 201-17 point differential. Friday at 7 p.m., the schedule gets much tougher against 3-1 St. Francis, which is coming off a loss to Montini last week.
“Those were wins we thought we could get, so we had to get them,” Beebe said of the first four weeks. “We had to be playing good football going into Week 5 when we hit that stretch of five games (in addition to St. Francis, a tough Immaculate Conception squad and defending Class 5A state champion Montini await). You can win 40-0 by playing ugly. We have played really well, so that bodes well.”
The biggest obstacle, literally and figuratively, for the Eagles is Michigan-bound St. Francis lineman Kyle Bosch. He is one of the best offensive linemen in the Midwest and also dabbles on defense when the Spartans need a big stop. Offensively, quarterback Michael Robinson and running backs Dan Beck and T.J. Jackson lead the way.
“They’ve got some players,” Beebe said. “They have a lot of depth. Their second and third guys coming in are just a notch below. We do have more guys that go both ways. Depth could be a big factor. I think we can match up, except against Kyle. We have to play smart football.”
Even though the competition level hasn’t been great the first four weeks, Beebe knows he has a quarterback that can run his spread offense effectively in senior Ryan McQuade. He has already thrown for over 1,000 yards with 19 touchdowns and five interceptions, four of which came in one half against St. Edward.
“Ryan’s ability to mature at quarterback has been huge,” Beebe said. “He played one bad half. He has made some good decisions throwing the football. Now as a coach I feel very comfortable against teams like St. Francis spreading it out like we have in the past with the three quarterbacks we’ve had here.”
Something the Eagles haven’t been forced to do is run the ball, but Beebe is confident that if the situation arises the rest of the way, Northern Illinois recruits Joel Bouagnon and Brandon Mayes will be more than capable.
The Eagles will certainly be tested more down the stretch than they have been in the first month, but it’s an opportunity they relish.
“We’re in a stretch now that we’re looking forward to,” Beebe said. “It’s going to be competitive. I think this is a mature team.”