MOLINE, Ill. -- It was a play the Moline football team hadn't used the entire season but one that Maroons coach Mike Morrissey thought was there for the taking.
Facing third down and 13 from the Quincy High School 31-yard line and trailing 32-29 in the closing minutes Friday night at Browning Field, Morrissey made the call. He wanted to run one receiver to the post and have Xavier Scritchfield run a wheel route to the deep corner.
Eric Maffie took the snap, stepped back and saw Scritchfield a couple of yards behind Blue Devils cornerback Aaron Shoot. He threw a perfect strike and Scritchfield hauled in the pass that gave the Maroons a 35-32 victory and control of the Western Big Six Conference title chase.
"We haven't called the wheel route all year," Morrissey said. "We knew we had them in the right coverage and it worked."
The Maroons' fifth straight victory moves them into first place in the WB6 all alone at 4-0 with a matchup with Rock Island Alleman looming next week.
Quincy, which had a 10-game WB6 winning streak snapped, needs to beat United Township on the road next week and Moline to lose to share the title.
Scritchfield made the catch that created that scenario.
"I was so happy when I saw the ball in the air," he said. "All I was thinking is I hope the ?defender isn't close and that ball falls in my hands. As great as that play was, I'm more proud of the block in the first quarter that got Eddie (Doran) into the end zone."
Added Maffie, "Everything went right on that last series. Everyone did his job."
Quincy coach Rick Little thought he had the right man defending Scritchfield.
"We had Aaron Shoot on him, and he is our best coverage guy," Little said. "I think he peeked in to the post route and got beat on the wheel."
The final touchdown marked the 10th lead change in a wild and wacky night that saw Quincy's Jirehl Brock run 31 times for 249 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 12 carries for for 2 or fewer yards.
"He is a special talent," Morrissey said. "We made him earn his yards, and we made some huge stops on hm at the end to get the win."
Trailing 12-7, the Maroons got a big run from Aboubacar Barry to move into Quincy territory before Maffie hit Javon Foy at the 5 and he dove through a tackle into the end zone to put Moline ahead with 1:24 left in the half.
Quincy came right back with a 35-yard Logan Ross to Aaron Shoot connection. Then, foregoing the field goal try because of the rain with six seconds left in the half, Ross found Adonte Crider in the end zone for a TD to put the Blue Devils up 18-14 at halftime.
The Blue Devils got the ball to start the second half but a fumble turned it over to Moline and the Maroons promptly took the lead back on a Maffie run.
"We had some trouble with the center-quarterback exchange and that hurt us," Little said. "I would say, yes, the rain bothered us, but it was raining for Moline, too. I guess you can say they overcame it better than we did. It cut our playbook in half because it was just too hard to get to the outside on the slick grass."
Quincy went back ahead on a 30-yard TD jaunt by Brock, but Barry erased that seconds later as he returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a score.
Brock scored again four minutes later and Quincy got a huge break on the next kickoff when Avery Wilson blasted a line drive off a Moline front-line man and recovered the ball. Moline got a quick three-and-out stop to end that momentum.
"We were just looking for the line drive kick to keep the ball away from Barry, because he was so dangerous on the kickoff returns," Little said. "I would be lying if I said we were looking for the ball to hit their guy and bounce right back to Avery, but it could have been a big play if we go down and score there we take some time off the clock and get up two scores.
"Give Moline credit, they stepped up and got or offense off the field quick."
Moline 35, Quincy 32
18 First downs 18
54-250 Rushes-yards 39-217
87 Passing yards 125
333 Total yards 342
4-7-0 Comp-Att-Int 5-12-0
5-1 Fumbles-lost 1-1
7-59 Penalties-yards 7-50
Quincy 10 8 0 14--32
Moline 7 7 7 14--35
Q--Avery Wilson 27 field goal, 5:08
M--Eddie Doran 34 run (Alex Rios kick), 3:35
Q--Jirehl Brock 5 run (Wilson kick), 2:57
Q--Safety, intentional grounding in end zone, 6:14
M--Javon Foy 40 pass from Eric Maffie (Rios kick), 1:24
Q--Adonte Crider 23 pass from Logan Ross (run failed), 0:00
M--Maffie 4 run (Rios kick), 9:33
Q--Brock 30 run (Wilson kick), 11;54
M--Aboubacar Barry 95 kickoff return (Trenton Lamphier run), 11:39
Q--Brock 24 run (Wilson kick), 7:36
M--Xavier Scritchfield 31 pass from Maffie (run failed), 2:18
RUSHING--QUINCY, Brock 31-249, Jake Kelley 9-28, Crider 6-4, Ross 8-(minus 31). Moline, Barry 15-99, Doran 13-65, Maffie 11-53.
PASSING--Quincy, Ross 3-6-0-64, Brock 1-1-0-6. Moline, Maffie 5-12-0-127
RECEIVING--Quincy, Aaron Shoot 2-58, Crider 1-23, Ross 1-6. Moline, Scritchfield 2-55, Foy 1-32, Barry 1-15.