We approach the halfway mark of the high school regular season with a series of Week 4 games which provided surprises and plenty of action.
A look back to some od the newsmakers during Friday's action.
As always, check out the Sunday News-Gazette for the updated area football top 10 rankings. There's sure to be some changes.
WARRIORS MEET CHALLENGE
More than one-fourth (12 of 42) of the players on Tuscola’s preseason roster have been sidelined with an injury, including four two-way starters. “Usually, it’s muscle pulls and sprains,” coach Rick Reinhart said, “but ours have been broken bones. We have a new defensive line and have replaced half of our offensive line, a middle linebacker, our quarterback, a wideout and probably the premier punter in the area (Kyle Bowles).” The good news is that the fill-ins have turned into steady contributors. Sophomore T.J. Onstott, a third-team fullback in August, is a two-way starter at center and linebacker and “proof that desire and technique can make up for a lot,” Reinhart said. Jerrod Baird got a chance on the offensive line when twin brother Jordon suffered a season-ending concussion and, though undersized (175 pounds), has been steady as a tackle. Trace Quinn became a two-way line starter instead of focusing on defense, Pat Yoakum is handling the punting (averaging 44 yards for two kicks on Friday) and sophomore Phillip Meyer is so valuable at quarterback that Reinhart won’t risk an injury by also playing him on defense. “It’s a tribute to the coaching staff how they’ve gotten people ready,” Reinhart said. Unity coach Scott Hamilton was impressed. “They’ll be a tough out in November,” he said, referring to the playoffs.
MORE CHANGES FOR CORN BELT
Rochester’s departure from the league won’t be the only difference for the Corn Belt Conference next season. League officials will start the Friday varsity games at 7 p.m., moving the preliminary freshmen game to a different night. Currently, Corn Belt games are routinely starting around 7:45 p.m., and using the same officiating crew that works the preliminary contest.
NOT WHAT IT SEEMS
Danville’s Vikings appeared to dominate visiting Normal West until the statistics are studied closely. The Wildcats had more first downs (14-9), more yards (226-194) and more time of possession (26:34 to 21:26). The final score (26-0 Vikings) is more understandable, however, when another set of numbers are considered. Eight of the game’s 11 turnovers were made by Normal West.
LOGJAMS TO BE BROKEN
The Little Okaw Valley and the Vermilion Valley conferences each have three 2-0 teams sharing first place in their leagues. One week from now, there won’t be more than two unbeatens in either league. In an LOVC showdown on Friday, Arthur-Lovington plays at Cerro Gordo/DeLand-Weldon. The marquee game in the VVC will feature Oakwood/Armstrong-Potomac playing at Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman.
BOCK PROVIDES SPARTANS SPARK
One play loomed bigger than most others as St. Joseph-Ogden stunned the state’s third-ranked Class 2A team, Clifton Central 37-9. The Comets were leading, 9-8, in the final minute of the first half and SJ-O had the ball on its own 16-yard line. Bock raced 84 yards for a TD and the Spartans never trailed thereafter, thanks to three second-half TDs by Bock.
One week after becoming the No. 1 rusher since consolidation put Gibson City and Melvin-Sibley together, Michael Romshek became’s GCMS’ first 2,000-yard career round-gainer. He now has 2,072 yards. ... Teammate Stephan Birt tied a GCMS record for most wins by a quarterback (16), held by Tom McCall. ... Cully Welter’s first home win as Monticello’s coach was also his first shutout with the Sages, 25-0 over Argenta-Oreana. ... Arthur-Lovington’s Justin Schuring moved closer to A-L’s career rushing mark. After gaining 206 yards against Martinsville, he has 1,905 in his career and needs another 251 to pass Zack Kingery’s total. ... Central’s Doug Kyrouac has 2,629 career passing yards, 93 more than the school’s previous career leader, Mike Martinie. He broke the mark with Friday’s 220-yard performance at Bloomington. ... The headline in Saturday’s Bloomington Pantagraph following a first half when Bloomington had more total yards (447) than Champaign Central had allowed in its first three games combined (411) was, “Dickens, BHS beat Maroons like a drum.” Bloomington led 47-13 en route to a 47-26 victory.
Eddie Clark, Danville. Junior was everywhere on defense. He recovered three fumbles (one of which he returned for a TD) and intercepted two passes. He also had 27 yards rushing.
Justin Schuring, Arthur-Lovington. Senior scored five touchdowns, two on running plays, two on passes plays and one on a fumble return. He also had a team-high 13 tackles.
Ryan Strange, Oakwood/Armstrong-Potomac. Sophomore followed up last week’s 160-yard rushing effort with a 288-yard, three-TD performance.
Kristopher Evans, Milford/Cissna Park. Senior quarterback completed 9 of 10 passes, rushed for two TDs and kicked 6 of 6 extra points in the upset of Salt Fork.
Nathan Lawler, Cerro Gordo/DeLand-Weldon. Senior quarterback rushed for four touchdowns and passed for one, accounting for all of the team’s TDs, as the Broncos edged Arcola by seven points.
TEAMS OF THE WEEK
The Bearcats demonstrated big-play capabilities in snapping Salt Fork’s regular-season winning streak at 18 games. The first four MCP touchdowns averaged 37 yards per score.
The Eagles improved their fortunes by 79 points since last year against Normal University High. A year ago, the Pioneers won 51-0. On Friday, the Eagles prevailed 40-12 after taking a 40-0 lead.