NEW MADRID -- New Madrid County Central added a fifth sectional championship to the trophy case Wednesday night, beating Ste. Genevieve 28-6.
The Eagles will now travel to St. Louis on Monday for a Class 3A Quarterfinal showdown with Clayton, who defeated Herculaneum 28-8 last night.
Quarterback Brian Murph ran in two touchdowns and threw for 136 yards in the convincing win, completing 5-of-9 passes with one interception.
Running back Dereke Tipler had another impressive outing, gaining 142 yards on 14 carries. He scored touchdowns on runs of two and 73 yards, upping his season total to 29 TDs.
Tipler's second TD run was No. 58 in his career, breaking Ricky Smith's school record of 57. Tipler has already surpassed Smith as NMCC's No. 2 career rusher with 3,318 yards, trailing only Kelvin Anderson.
Desmond Sims was also a productive runner, toting the ball 10 times for 94 yards. On the other side of the ball, the Eagles held the Dragons to 166 yards of offense.
"We didn't do what we had to do," said Ste. Genevieve coach Bob Stolzer. "We couldn't move the ball offensively. And defensively, we were in the right places at the right times, but we just couldn't tackle. That's pretty much the bottom line."
NMCC (10-1) struggled moving the ball in the first half. Ste. Genevieve's hard-nosed defense played a big part in that, but so did penalties.
The Eagles were whistled for four illegal shifts in their first drive alone, but still found their way into the end zone after 15 plays.
Murph capped off the drive from three yards out and Kimball kicked the PAT to give NMCC a 7-0 advantage. Kimball was 4-for-4 in the game.
The score remained 7-0 at halftime.
"We were a little sluggish at the start," said Rogers. "I don't know if it was nerves or what. Once we got the motion penalties ironed out, we started to go vertical a little bit."
After a scoreless second quarter, NMCC's big-play potential surfaced early in the third.
Murph hooked up with wideout Terrance Smith for a 39-yard pass, setting up a score by Tipler.
On the Eagles' next possession Murph went to the air again, finding Smith for a 34-yard gain.
"We've got more than just the three big guns we've been featuring all year," said Rogers. "Terrance is being recruited by a lot of people. He made two great catches tonight, and made some big hits at (defensive back). He played well on both sides of the ball for us tonight."
Smith's impressive reception set up a short touchdown run by Murph that put the Eagles up 21-0.
"That's just athleticism," said Stolzer. "That was well-executed by (Smith). We were in the right place, their kid just made tremendous catches on the ball."
NMCC's superior athleticism was even more evident in the fourth quarter, when Tipler broke loose and pulled away from the entire Dragon defense on a 73-yard scoring run.
Ste. Genevieve (8-3) avoided the shutout in the final second of regulation, as Dan Rayoum provided the Dragons' biggest play of the night with a 54-yard run to paydirt. The play clock ran out immediately after the snap.
"It was nice for him," said Stolzer. "He's a senior, and played in the shadow of our starting running back this year. It was a nice way to end his career. It was a token TD you might say."
He led Ste. Genevieve in rushing with 65 yards on three carries, all coming in the fourth quarter. Standout Tyson Gegg, who is also a state championship wrestler, was held to 48 yards on 21 attempts.
NMCC has never won a quarterfinal game, but this year's explosive team looks to change all that.
"We're looking forward to going to Clayton Monday night," said Rogers. "The guys don't want to turn in their stuff just yet and I don't either. We want to ride this thing as far as it will go. We're going up to Clayton with the idea of being the first team to win the second-round game."