Notre Dame walks off with 56-52 win over Normal West at Dozer Park
PEORIA — Luke Shadid made the first of what will probably be many big plays at Dozer Park.
This one, however, came on the football field. The Notre Dame running back’s go-ahead touchdown completed a 56-52 comeback victory over Normal West at the home of the Peoria Chiefs on Friday night.
“Holy moly,” ND coach Joe Walters said. “What a game.”
Shadid has committed to play baseball at Bradley, which calls Dozer Park its home.
“I guess you kind of see it as a walk-off touchdown,” the 5-foot-10, 185-pounder said with a smirk.
He finished with 351 rushing yards and five TDs, running behind a stout offensive line — Isaiah Ward, Joe Schlink, Marenis Kansfield, Colin Foley, Jett Schmitt, Bryce Hinton and John Epley. His 4-yard score with 24 seconds left was his 36th carry of the night.
“Everyone that’s on that field believes in the team,” said Shadid, who saw ND trail 52-42 with 5:43 remaining in the game. “It’s a brotherhood. It’s a family. All you have to have is heart.”
He had TD runs of 1, 23 and 1. His 53-yard score opened the second half for the Class 5A No. 3-ranked Irish (6-0, 6-0).
An onside kick recovery by Max Bousky at the 2:07 mark of the fourth set up Shadid’s game-winning touchdown. Bousky credits a big hit from Shadid to spring the ball loose.
“The ball was just laying there for me to dive on,” said Bousky, whose 7-yard TD run made it 45-42 with 6:32 left in the game. “It was honestly easy after Luke made that play.”
Normal West (3-3, 1-2) looked in complete control of the first meeting between Big 12 Conference foes. Dajour Forrest’s 1-yard TD run gave the Wildcats a 45-27 lead with 3:31 left in the third.
But ND chipped away with 146 yards on the ground in the final quarter. Shadid accounted for 94, while Bousky added 39 and Alex Shaw (40 yards, TD) rushed for 13.
“At the beginning of the fourth quarter, I kind of settled down and I realized, ‘We’re going to win this game,’” Walters said. “We just needed things to kind of go our way.”
The Irish rolled up 484 rushing yards on 63 totes. ND recorded 310 yards (294 rushing, 16 passing) and 20 first downs in the second half alone.
“We knew they had a great running game and, unfortunately, we didn’t do enough to stop it in that second half,” Normal West coach Darren Hess said. “I think we let one slip away.”
Forrest finished with 172 yards on 20 carries for West. His 68-yard score pushed the lead to 10 in fourth.
ND quarterback Patrick Dillon completed just two passed, but one was a 7-yard TD to Keenan Streitmatter just 16 seconds before halftime.
Adam Duvall can be reached at 686-3207 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @AdamDuvall.