Eagle back seeks milestone
RANTOUL — Only two Rantoul High School running backs in the last 22 years have rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season.
Senior fullback Larry Crayton is trying to make sure his name is the third one added to the list.
Crayton will need at least 83 yards in the Eagles’ regular season finale at St. Thomas More (7 p.m. Friday) to achieve the goal he set for himself before the season.
“That was a goal to prove to everyone that I can be one of the best running backs in this conference,” Crayton said. “I’m more of a downhill runner. I have more power from the start, and I have the speed to get around the edge. I‘m not the biggest back in this conference, but I guarantee I’ll give you a thump.”
Crayton has rushed for at least 80 yards in all eight of his games this season and has surpassed the 100-yard mark five times this year.
The three-year varsity contributor is the second featured back to lead the Eagles’ offense in the last three seasons. The previous one, 2011 graduate Tyvon Davis, is the school’s all-time leading rusher and rushed for 1,434 yards his senior season. Davis’ total is third all time in single-season school history behind Bud Boblet’s 1,497 rushing yards in 1950 and Tony Wilkins’ 1,504 rushing yards in 1976. Before Davis’ prolific 2011 season, Meko Miller was the last Eagle to top 1,000 yards, when he rushed for 1,073 in 1990.
“He’s exactly what you want out of a fullback,” Rantoul coach Joe Bendoraitis said of Crayton. “He’s physical, explosive and runs hard. There’s time we don’t even block the middle linebacker, and Larry just runs the ball hard and makes them miss. He’s special.”
Unity adds to Hall
TOLONO — Unity High School recently added four new members to its Hall of Fame. Ronald Cekander (Class of 1960), Hannah Meharry Calhoun (Class of 2001), Tom Shipley (Class of 1964) and Cole Voigt (Class of 2002) were the latest inductees.
Cekander was a four-sport letterman and earned 10 monograms in all. In basketball, he set the school’s single-game scoring record (35 points) and, in track, he held the Champaign County pole vault record from 1959 to ’70. In football, he was the quarterback.
Meharry Calhoun earned four varsity letters each in cross-country, basketball and track and field. She was the team most valuable runner all four years in cross-country and a state placer in track as an 800-meter runner. She scored more than 1,000 points in basketball and was chosen to play in the IBCA state all-star game.
Shipley earned 10 varsity letters, including four in track and field. He had three letters in football and basketball. He was a fullback and linebacker on the Rockets’ unbeaten 1963 football team, earning All-Area accolades. A forward in basketball, he helped the team to a conference title as a junior. In track, he was a hurdler, a 440 runner and a discus thrower.
Voigt earned 13 letters, covering four sports, including four each in basketball and football. He passed for a school-record 3,471 yards and also rushed for 2,358. As a junior, he helped the Rockets to a state runner-up finish. In basketball, he helped teams reach the Sweet 16 three times. He had a 7-3 pitching record and threw the discus more than 150 feet.
Matt Daniels, Fred Kroner