Defenses were on display -- and so was a bit of weather -- during Week 1 of the prep football season.
Here's roundup of prep football games involving area teams.
Central A&M 0
MOWEAQUA — Andrew Bailey and Dylan Knisley — nicknamed “Slash and Dash” by Bailey — accounted for 181 yards and four touchdowns as the Sages opened on a strong note.
Bailey finished with 105 yards on 13 carries and found the end zone three times. Knisley gained 76 yards on 16 touches with a TD.
“I just like running into people,” Bailey said. “I can’t do what Dylan does, going left and right. I just go straight. That’s it.”
The ground game kept the Raiders defense on the field twice as long as Monticello’s as the Sages controlled time of possession 15:16 to 8:44 in the first half.
“I thought their defense looked gassed even earlier than I thought they would,” Monticello coach Cully Welter said. “We thought (coming into the game) that we had a little more depth so we were really hoping it would be 100 degrees outside. I thought that was a big factor in taking control of the game.”
The Sages’ highly touted defensive front seven controlled the line of scrimmage. Ben Wilson had seven tackles. Josh Burton and Peter Cecava each had six.
WARRENSBURG — The state’s top-ranked Class 3A team played up to expectations, racing to a 42-0 lead in the first half.
“The high expectations and the high rankings, a lot of that has to do with the kids who are playing now but a lot of that goes back to the kids who have been playing over 20 years,” Unity coach Scott Hamilton said. “Being (No. 1) is better than being at the bottom of the barrel. But when it comes to playing games, none of that means anything. We’re happy to be recognized across the state, but we have a long way to go.”
Justin Deters rushed for 118 yards and was 7-of-9 passing for the Rockets.
“One thing we’ve tried to focus on being more diverse, and we did a good job of that,” Hamilton said.
Connor Grace also rushed for 118 yards, scoring from 62 yards out on Unity’s first play from scrimmage.
“We jumped out to a quick start and set the tone,” Hamilton said.
Chandler Cousins returned a kick 82 yards for a touchdown for the Rockets.
“We got a lot of guys playing time and really spread the ball around,” Hamilton said.
St. Thomas More 25
CHAMPAIGN — Freshman Josh Parker rushed for 143 yards, including the clinching touchdown in the fourth quarter, for the host Sabers.
Storm Joop passed for 100 yards and a touchdown, Lawrence Blomberg returned a blocked punt for another score and Joop and Michael Plecki had interceptions for St. Thomas More, which led 13-0 at halftime.
Mount Zion 14
MOUNT ZION — Mahomet-Seymour overcame 12 penalties, two interceptions and a blocked punt to post a convincing season-opening win.
The Bulldogs scored on their first two possessions and never looked back.
“We were awfully sloppy tonight but we persevered,” M-S coach Keith Pogue said. “We could have easily collapsed, but our leaders stepped up and made plays when we needed them to.”
M-S scored twice in the opening minutes, first on a 23-yard TD pass from Joe Kenney to Cully Day, then on senior running back Tyler Francisco’s 3-yard run.
The Braves made it 13-8 midway through the second quarter on a hook-and-ladder play that saw Payton Grinestaff throw to Bailey Reynolds, who in turn pitched to Austin Ray for a 26-yard score.
It was all Bulldogs in the second half as M-S took control of both lines of scrimmage and moved the ball with ease in the sweltering heat.
“Both teams were hurting a little bit because of the heat,” Pogue said. “But our kids are pretty resilient. I got on them a little at halftime and they certainly responded.”
Kenney was 16 of 25 for 188 yards and two TDs.
Francisco had 92 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown. He also had a 60-yard touchdown run called back and a 66-yard interception return.
“T-Fran is going to be T-Fran,” Pogue said. “He’s a special player and he’s going to have big nights like this if we can keep him healthy.”
Sullivan/Okaw Valley 14
TUSCOLA — Nick Bates passed for 125 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 67 yards and another score as the Warriors hung on at home. Bates’ 10-yard scoring toss to Austin Martin with 8:35 left in the game sealed the win.
Austin Beniach had eight tackles and Cole Evans had seven to lead a strong defensive effort by Tuscola.
Hoopeston Area 0 (susp.)
HOOPESTON — In a game that will resume Tuesday, the Knights set the tone when Jordan Feagin returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. The game was postponed at the start of the second quarter and will resume at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Arthur.
Feagin and Tyler Schuring rushed for touchdowns to provide the early spark.
Deer Creek-Mackinaw 22
LeROY — Lane Lindstrom rushed for 82 yards as the Panthers opened in impressive fashion at McKean Field.
“I’m very proud of the team. It was a tough night in brutal conditions,” LeRoy coach B.J. Zeleznik said.
Lindstrom scored two touchdowns, the first on a 21-yard burst less than four minutes into the game. Teammate Austin Craig also came up big with a 78-yard touchdown in the third quarter to give the Panthers an 18-point lead.
“We have a young team this year. The kids did a great job of finishing the game,” Zeleznik said. “I’m just happy to survive against a good Dee-Mack team.”
Austin Craig led the Panthers on defense with eight tackles, six assists and a sack.
LEXINGTON — Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley rode a stout defense and a big-play offense. The Falcons held the Minutemen to two first downs in the opening half and kept the momentum rolling after the break.
“When you get a defensive touchdown in a game — and a shutout — it’s pretty exciting for everyone,” Falcons defensive coordinator Kyle Bielfeldt said.
GCMS scored on plays of 77, 43, 31 and 19 yards. They were led by senior quarterback Ross Royal, who compiled 277 total yards and five touchdowns (two passing, three rushing). The 77-yard touchdown came in the first quarter when Ross Royal found twin brother Drake on a go route.
“That’s a cool thing for them,” GCMS coach Mike Allen said. “They both work hard. To see that Royal-to-Royal connection is pretty neat.”
Senior running back Tyler Hinshaw contributed 79 total yards and caught one of Ross Royal’s two touchdown passes.
Sophomore linebacker Key-Shawn Girkin led the defense with 13 tackles. Zach Johnson returned an interception 74 yards for a touchdown.
RANTOUL — A different year, the same story as Charleston bested Rantoul at Bill Walsh Field.
The Eagles had their chances, but three turnovers and 13 penalties cost them.
“We’ve got to put that behind us to get ready to play Eureka,” first-year coach Ira Jefferson said. “All these mistakes are correctable.”
The Trojans received three touchdown runs from Myles Decker, another from Dallas Wilson and a field goal by Connor Griffin.
Tim Morgan threw touchdown passes to Kenyatta Wilson (19 yards) and Devine Thompson (30 yards) while also adding a 4-yard score and a two-point conversion.
Wilson ran 61 yards for an apparent touchdown in the third, but it was waved off for offensive holding. In the second quarter, time expired before Morgan could spike the ball at Charleston’s 4.
Rantoul led 14-10 late in the third.
ARGENTA — Cameron Hupp rushed for 163 yards and Austin Wenskunas added 127 as the Bombers had 376 yards of offense. Hupp set the tone with a 79-yard run as A-O raced to a 56-0 first-half lead.
El Paso-Gridley 6
EL PASO — Weston Weber had three touchdown runs — two in the fourth quarter — as Paxton-Buckley-Loda won.
“I told our team that this game was going to come down to who was going to be the ironman,” PBL coach Jeff Graham said. “Weston Weber was the ironman. He kept chugging. He’s a tough kid.”
Drew Schrodt provided an early spark by rushing for 63 yards on 10 carries. PBL’s defense — led by Trent Wooten’s first-half tackle for loss and second-half sack – made the lead stand, holding EPG scoreless in the second half.
“We had a lot of kids who had to step up,” Graham said. “I’m proud of them.”
Milford/Cissna Park 33
OAKLAND — Jacob Marquez rushed for 132 yards and scored three touchdowns and teammate Devon Laubscher gained 90 yards and scored twice as Milford/Cissna Park scored all 27 second-half points to win on the road in Clint Schwartz’s return to the program as head coach.
“It’s a credit to our offensive line for opening up some big holes,” said Schwartz, whose team averaged more than 7 yards for its 38 rushing plays.
Marquez completed both of his passes for 19 yards and nailed 3 of 5 extra-point tries.
“We came out ready to play in the second half,” Schwartz said.
Villa Grove/Heritage 46
VILLA GROVE — The Blue Devils scored 22 second-quarter points and went on to defeat Westville in a nonconference game. Austin Hubbart rushed for two touchdowns and caught a 15-yard scoring strike from John Henderson (103 passing yards).
Westville led 15-12 after one quarter.
“We were real tentative the first quarter and were lucky to be as close as we were,” VG/Heritage coach Chad Musselman said. “We were able to capitalize on a couple turnovers in the second quarter.”
Max Daly led VG//Heritage with 106 rushing yards. Henderson gained 88 on the ground. Terrion Price led the defense with 12 tackles and Cole Lemmon had eight.
Oakwood/A-P 0 (susp.)
FLANAGAN — The season opener was stopped at the end of the third quarter because of lightning and will resume at 7 p.m. today at Flanagan.
BISMARCK — Patrick Ganley rushed for a game-high 122 yards and scored a touchdown as Bismarck-Henning built a 48-6 halftime lead at home. The game was called at halftime due to lightning. Dylan Allen completed 3 of 4 passes for 90 yards for the Blue Devils, who had seven players score TDs. The defense got into the act as well, sophomore Ethan Allsopp returning an interception 66 yards to the end zone.
FISHER — Conrad Thomas rushed for 134 yards and three touchdowns and Billy Fairfield returned an interception 47 yards for a touchdown as the Bunnies opened with a bang.
“It was a good game considering the conditions,” said Fisher coach Matt Leng.
The game was delayed 40 minutes in the second quarter because of inclement weather.
Thomas, a sophomore, and classmate Aaron Carter (95 yards rushing on 16 carries) sparked Fisher, which led 30-0 at halftime.
Fairfield had two interceptions and Thomas had five tackles for loss.