NORMAL – The good news: Danville had ample opportunity to work on its kickoff returns Friday night.
The bad news: The Vikings had eight chances to return kicks in the opening 12 1/2 minutes of the Big 12 Conference game because their defense was unable to contain the state's top-ranked Class 6A team, Normal Community.
BLOOMINGTON – Normal University High was playing for its playoff life, and a few Mahomet-Seymour mishaps swung the momentum as the Pioneers earned a 21-14 Corn Belt Conference victory onFriday night.
Trailing by a touchdown, M-S (7-2, 6-2) couldn't convert on fourth and 2 from U-High's 24-yard line with 1:37 left.
URBANA – Urbana celebrated its departing seniors in an emotional last game of the season Friday night.
A late burst by Decatur MacArthur spoiled the fun.
WESTVILLE – There have been bigger, faster and stronger running backs in the history of IHSA football, but none has ever enjoyed a more productive career than Westville's Caleb Pratt.
The senior put his name atop the IHSA record books twice during Westville's 43-14 beating of rival Georgetown-Ridge Farm in the 85th Coal Bucket showdown Friday night.
DANVILLE – The coaching staff knew the young team had a lot of work ahead. The summer heat and conditioning wore down the players day after day, but it appears the work was worth it.
Danville's varsity football team became playoff eligible with its most recent win and has made great strides toward developing talent that will last beyond this season.
BISMARCK – Bismarck-Henning's fourth consecutive Vermilion County volleyball tournament title featured one athlete – Matti Nesbitt – who has been along for the entire ride.
"We were really pumped to go into the game," Nesbitt said. "We knew that Oakwood was ready for us, how they played in the semifinals, and we were just ready to go in and bring home the fourth victory in a row."
It took until the eighth game, but Oakwood/Armstrong-Potomac football coach Gary Denhart finally saw what he had been anticipating.
"Our first complete performance," said Denhart in reference to Friday's 48-7 victory against visiting Milford. "We were clicking on all cylinders."
CHAMPAIGN – Rivals on the field, the football teams from Centennial and Champaign Central have plenty in common this week.
Once thought to be safely lodged in the playoff picture, both 4-4 teams have suffered through losing periods recently. Central has dropped two straight; Centennial is 1-4 after a 3-0 start.
CHAMPAIGN – Urbana senior Athena Liao was exhausted after Tuesday's Twin City Swimming and Diving Meet.
But it was a good kind of tired. Rarely has she felt better.
DANVILLE – Justin Jones let folks in on a little secret Tuesday afternoon. There's a reason he continually runs away from the competition when cross-country meets are at Kickapoo State Park.
"We practice here every day, and that's a huge advantage," said Jones, who was one of six Oakwood/Armstrong-Potomac runners to place among the top 10 as the squad unseated Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman as the Vermilion County boys' championship team.