Some notes and tidbits from Opening Night of the high school football season.
Please check the Sunday News-Gazette for updated area rankings.
The double-figure losing streaks that belonged to Monticello and Rantoul came to an end on opening night of the prep season. Rantoul needed overtime to halt a 12-game skid that dated back to a Week 6 win in 2007. The Eagles won 20-12 at Bill Walsh Field over Peoria Manual. Monticello triumphed on the road, outscoring Meridian 35-14 to snap a 10-game losing streak that started in Week 9 of the 2007 season. Another of the five area schools that endured 0-9 seasons a year ago came as close to winning as is possible. Hoopeston Area was tied with East Central after regulation, before dropping a 21-20 decision.
BIG (12) NEWS
Centennial and Danville kept their poise in the face of adversity. Each school fell behind in the first quarter before coming back to win. The Chargers topped Decatur Eisenhower 27-8 and the Vikings stunned sixth-rated Bloomington 30-28 on a buzzer-beating field goal by MykeTez Forman. Danville’s Malcolm Anderson passed for 197 yards, 103 going to Keaton Britt.
RAISING THE FLAG
Penalties were prevalent in several openers, but they did not cost Central Illinois teams a victory. Champaign Central overcame 17 flags for 125 yards and won at Normal West 28-23 thanks to a balanced attack. Doug Kyrouac passed for 112 yards and Central’s Denzel Stewart started his senior year with a 213-yard rushing performance. At Urbana, Normal Community was called for 19 penalties for 138 yards, but still topped Urbana 42-21. At Oakwood, the Comets committed at least one penalty on each of their first seven possession, but rallied to edge Arthur-Lovington 13-12.
TAKING A PASS
Rantoul won its game without completing a pass. The Eagles gained all 209 of their yards on the ground, led by Tyler Myers with 88 yards. LeRoy followed a similar path in its 12-6 overtime conquest of Heyworth. The Panthers totaled 120 yards, all rushing, led by Kyle Eastham with 77 yards and the decisive OT score. LeRoy had four of its nine passes intercepted.
SABERS HIT TRIFECTA
For the third consecutive season, St. Thomas More posted a Week 1 shutout. For the third straight year, the opponent was Bismarck-Henning. Friday’s 27-0 verdict featured a touchdown in each quarter for STM and raised its margin in the series to 90-0 since 2007.
LIGHTNING STRIKES AGAIN
Bobby Aikman started his senior season in football in the same manner he began his sophomore year. In 2007, he returned the opening kickoff 79 yards to the end zone as Arthur-Lovington went on to beat Villa Grove 36-26. On Friday at Oakwood, he raced 80 yards with the first kickoff, giving the Knights a 6-0 lead in a game they eventually lost, 13-12.
Cameron Mammen, Urbana: Freshman didn’t start, but led the Tigers in passing (103 yards on 5 of 7 accuracy) and rushing (87 yards). He ran for one TD and passed for another.
The Pallas, Monticello. Quarterback Ben Palla completed 9 of 16 passes for 191 yards and three TDs in the win at Meridian. His brother, Matt, hauled in three passes for 109 yards and reached the end zone twice.
Michael Romshek, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley. Halfback registered 285 all-purpose yards and scored touchdowns three ways: once on a pass reception, once on a punt return and twice on running plays from scrimmage.
Quentin McNew, Mahomet-Seymour. Junior quarterback passed for 195 yards and two touchdowns in 38-22 loss to state’s top-ranked Class 4A team, Rochester.
TEAMS OF THE WEEK
Unity. On the road, the Rockets recovered from a 7-6 halftime deficit to defeat Central A&M 26-20. Quarterback Dylan Sturgeon passed for two TDs and ran for a third.
Westville. On the road, the Tigers gained yards on the ground (161 rushing by Brandon Pratt) and through the air (136 passing by Matt Maser). A junior, Maser rushed for two TDs (and 79 yards) and passed for a third score.