URBANA -- Here's where we have evolved with high school football.
Centennial athletic director Brian Easter, walking the sidelines on Friday during the Chargers' game at Urbana, said he has completed scheduling of officials through the 2012 season. He expects to get a start on 2013 soon.
Not blaming Easter because that's the way of life any more for athletic directors, but you have to wonder: What encouragement does that give to folks thinking about becoming an official to know that at some locations, there's no chance of them working a varsity game for at least the next four years?!?!
Speaking of officials, Oreana's Bill Roberts was one of the crew members (he was the back judge) for the game in which Centennial shut out Urbana 27-0 on Friday at McKinley Field and he recounted one of his most memorable nights wearing the stripes.
It was in the mid-1990s and his crew was doing a game at Monticello. At halftime, he was asked if he'd be interested in doing another game when he finished his first one.
It seems that about 8 miles down the road, Bement was waiting to start its homecoming game against Villa Grove, but there were no officials. Roberts agreed, and it was after midnight before he blew his whistle for the final time that nigt.
"I worked the first 12 minutes (at Bement) by myself," said Roberts, who added that his other crew members declined to work a second game.
Friday marked the first time I've covered a home game at Urbana in a few years and I was amazed at the condition of the field. Wow. Looks absolutely fabulous. It wasn't that long ago that it was in disrepair, but it vaulted to the top of my list as the best-kept I've seen thus far during my 2008 travels.
I liked the way Centennial got through the first half without either of its top two ball carriers for the season (Rayvonte Rice and Tyron Smith) carrying the ball a single time. Both ran the ball in the second half and had 70 yards between them.
Dontae Burney, a diminutive Centennial senior, stole the spotlight with a gutsy 168-yard rushing effort. It was a career-high for an athlete who had 99 total rushing yards in his career before Friday. He had surpassed that total by halftime against the Tigers.
After watching the game, one thing is clear. Urbana is not your typical 0-5 team. The Tigers have some ferocious competitors, expecially Caleb Blaney and Kyle Clevenger. They showed that even though they may get beat, they don't give up.
My guess is that the Tigers could win two of their final four games. Against Centennial, Urbana had no fumbles and only five penalties.
Centennial is 2-3 and has a favorable schedule as it tries to get to the five wins needed to become playoff eligible. The schedule is favorable because all of the final four regular-season games will be played at home.
Three of them are scheduled home games and the other is a Week 8 encounter with Champaign Central in which the Chargers are technically the visitors.