The top performances from 1st-round playoff football games in the Springfield area

Bill Welt Ryan Mahan Trevor Lawrence
State Journal-Register

The high school football playoffs are here.

Each week, The State Journal-Register will take a look at the top performing teams and players from across the Springfield area.

Players from Springfield High, Rochester and Athens lead our list for the first round of the Illinois High School Association playoffs:

Scoreboard:Where and when Springfield-area teams play in the IHSA football playoffs

Ja'Kyan Shanklin, Athens

The running back put the team on his back as he rushed 26 times for 260 yards and scored four touchdowns in the Warriors' 42-14 victory over Macon Meridian in Class 1A. Shanklin scored the first two touchdowns of the game with TD runs of 45 and 2 yards. After Meridian took a 14-13 lead into halftime, Shanklin put Athens (9-1) ahead for good with TDs of 61 and 11 yards. Camden Austin (89 yards) and Jared Chandler (62 yards) ended the scoring with touchdown runs as the Warriors compiled 476 yards on the ground and outscored the Hawks 29-0 in the second half. 

Hank Beatty, Rochester

Rochester’s Hank Beatty (8) launches a pass against Loyola Academy in the first half at Hoerster Field in Wilmette, Ill., Saturday, September 4, 2021. [Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register]

The University of Illinois commit ran for 91 yards and two TDs in a 48-0 win over Cahokia in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs. He opened the contest with a 16-yard TD run on the Rockets' opening possession.

He also completed 7 of 11 passing attempts for 101 yards and one TD while catching two passes himself for 32 yards.

Rashad Rochelle, Springfield High

Springfield's Rashad Rochelle (8) pushes through a tackle from Jacksonville's Nathan McCombs (21) in the second half at Kraushaar-Rosenberger Field in Jacksonville, Ill., Friday, October 8, 2021. [Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register]

The senior quarterback completed 9 of 16 passing attempts for 253 yards and six TDs while also rushing for 148 yards and three TDs in a record-setting 94-72 victory over Rock Island in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.

Talon McElroy and Luke Kratochvil, Pawnee 

McElroy had 127 all-purpose yards and Kratochvil totaled 87 yards in rushing and receiving as Pawnee (6-4) fell to Milford/Cissna Park 38-20 in the 8-man playoffs. McElroy had just four carries and finished with 68 yards and a 40-yard touchdown run. He caught six passes for 44 yards. Kratochvil ran for two scores and rushed 17 times for 51 yards, while catching three balls for 36. Defensively, Kratochvil had four solo tackles and nine assisted. Milford/Cissna Park broke open a 14-14 halftime game and outscored Pawnee 24-6 in the second half.  

Austin Henschen, Pana

The senior running back had 273 yards and three touchdowns in Pana’s 49-19 Class 2A first-round win over Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond on Friday.  

Big win:Pana keeps its simple in IHSA football first-round playoff win

Kaden Brown, North Mac 

North Mac's Kaden Brown (17) scrambles on a rush against Williamsville in the second half at North Mac High School in Virden, Ill., Friday, October 1, 2021. [Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register]

Brown totaled 121 yards in rushing and passing and scored North Mac's one touchdown in the Panthers' 35-6 loss to undefeated Bismark-Henning in Class 2A. Brown had 23 carries for 89 yards and completed 6 of 11 passes for 32 yards. He had a 6-yard TD run with 7 minutes, 55 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. The Panthers finished 5-5.  

Richard Jackson, Sacred Heart-Griffin

The junior running back/linebacker provided seven tackles on defense and totaled six carries for 53 yards and two TDs in the Cyclones' 49-13 win over Columbia in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.

Ayden Tiburzi and Marcus Patton, Carlinville 

The quarterback-running back tandem combined for four touchdowns to lead the Cavaliers (8-2) past DuQuoin 40-26 in Class 3A. Tiburzi completed 21 of 25 passes for 194 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He connected with receiver Carson Wiser for touchdown receptions of 10 and 16 yards. Patton had the go-ahead TD with a 2-yard run in the third quarter and sealed the victory with a 4-yard score in the fourth. He finished with 113 yards on 24 carries.