A rivalry game. Two undefeated conference foes. Homecoming.
Everyone knew it was going to be a wet and wild football game when and took to the field Friday night.
Even in the rain, East quarterback Blake Winkler seemed to have no trouble throwing the ball, going 14-of-24 for 230 yards and four touchdowns, leading the charge in the Griffins' 31-7 victory. And, by the way, only four of those completions came in the second half.
Winkler is in his second year heading a high-powered Griffin offense, one that can score from anywhere, but in this case was set up with good field position. The weather arguably caused a mishandled punt snap, giving the Griffins the ball and a first-and-goal on the 10.
Winkler wasted no time finding Illini recruit J. J. Robertson for a touchdown. An aggressive East punt rush led to a blocked punt and another short field. Winkler connected on a 6-yard touchdown to Blake Anders.
Winkler later added touchdown passes of 25 and 33 yards to Justin Corbett.
"We were preparing for what they were going to give us (defensively) all week," Winkler said. "We were able to execute all our plays to the best of our ability."
Despite the wet turf, a heavy, water-logged football, and the first action they had seen all year in the sloppy conditions, Winkler and the Griffins were prepared.
"That's the game, you have to prepare for any conditions," he said. "This was our first game in the rain, and I think we had a good feel for it. It's inexcusable to make bad plays because of the rain."