Recapping some highlights from the second week of high school football action.
Check Sunday's News-Gazette for the updated area rankings.
GETTING THEIR KICKS
Soccer players are making an impact on area football teams. In two games, Watseka’s Brede Parker has converted 13 of 15 extra-point attempts. Bismarck-Henning’s Ian Park hit all three of his placements on Friday at Villa Grove — including a pressure-packed one with a minute left to create a 29-29 deadlock — and scored the winning points on a 17-yard field goal in overtime.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A HALF MAKES
Monticello’s Ben Palla completed seven passes in each half against Class 2A’s top-rated team, Maroa-Forsyth, but that’s where the similarity ends. His first-half completions went for 43 yards and no touchdowns. His second-half completions covered 185 yards and three touchdowns. Matt Palla had two scoring passes. Teammate Cale Huisinga actually caught three passes in the end zone. One was a touchdown, another was a two-point conversion and the third was an interception which prevented the Trojans from scoring.
HOME STREAK ENDS
Mahomet-Seymour’s last home loss, entering this season, was in 2006 against Bloomington Central Catholic. Marshall put a halt to that streak, holding the Bulldogs scoreless until the fourth quarter of their first home game in 2009 and posting a 20-7 decision.
IS THERE A PATTERN HERE?
In the interest of full disclosure, coaches from Westville and Salt Fork should take note. The first two games prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner covered this season started in identical fashion, with a player returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Not saying it will happen again, but with Fred on the sidelines in five days at Jamaica, whoever wins the pre-game coin toss might want to rethink the idea of deferring until the second half.
CLOSE AS IT GETS
St. Teresa’s 14-13 conquest of Tuscola in Decatur was statistically as close as the final score. The winning Bulldogs had 12 first downs and 167 totals yards. The visiting Warriors ended with 11 first downs and 165 total yards. Each school’s offense generated one touchdown. Tuscola also scored on an interception return by Gunnar Edwards and St. Teresa’s second TD came on a return of the second-half kickoff.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
It’s easier to evaluate first-game performances when there’s a second round of games to serve as comparisons, Monticello’s Week 1 triumph over Meridian becomes more significant after the Hawks bounced back to win in Week 2. Ditto for unbeaten Danville, which edged Bloomington in Week 1. The Purple Raiders rebounded by handing state-ranked Normal Community a 21-14 loss on Friday.
SLOW STARTS, FAST FINISHES
Unity’s Rockets are 2-0, but neither has been a wire-to-wire victory. The state-ranked team trailed at halftime in Week 1 and fell behind Argenta-Oreana in Friday’s home opener before scoring two second-quarter TDs en route to a 35-13 triumph.
Rantoul was unable to extend its winning streak to two games, but the Eagles’ 57-35 loss at top-ranked (Class 4A) Rochester continued to show how coach Shane Carter’s program has improved. Rantoul has scored 55 points in its first two games. Last year, the team had scored 55 points entering Week 8.
Vaughan Pierce, Monticello. Senior fullback got the call twice on fourth-down plays against top-ranked Maroa-Forsyth and both times the 220-pounder picked up first downs. They were the only carries for a player who excelled as a defensive end.
Matt Maser, Westville. Junior left-hander came within eight passing yards and 12 rushing yards of amassing two 200-yard performances in the same game. He had 380 yards of total offense while having a hand in the Tigers’ first four touchdowns against visiting Momence.
Guy Kirby, Fisher. Senior quarterback rushed for 278 yards, including scoring jaunts of 67 and 70 yards, and completed his only pass for 10 yards in the Bunnies’ 28-16 win over Tremont.
Alex Pratt, Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman. Senior ran for four touchdowns as the Buffaloes recovered from an opening-week loss to win at Arthur-Lovington.
TEAMS OF THE WEEK
ST. THOMAS MORE
Two games, two shut out victories. The Sabers’ defense will get a supreme challenge in Week 3 against a Watseka squad which has amassed 103 points in its first two games.
The Panthers scored in every quarter at Mackinaw and totaled 437 yards rushing, with 240 of that coming from Kyle Eastham, who scored the game’s first TD.