CHAMPAIGN – Centennial was cruising to a 41-0 football victory against Decatur Eisenhower last Friday when the Chargers' sideline suddenly erupted as if the Chargers had just qualified for the state championship game.
Meiko Locksley had scored.
Centennial's backup quarterback, a 6-foot-1, 154-pound sophomore, scampered into the end zone on a 29-yard run in the fourth quarter. Based on the reaction from the players on the Centennial sideline, it was a popular touchdown.
Locksley is the brother of Mike Locksley Jr., a standout cornerback for the 2006 Chargers and now a freshman at Illinois, where the brothers' father is Ron Zook's offensive coordinator.
One of Mike Locksley Jr.'s best friends is Centennial running back Mikel Leshoure, who was one of those whooping and hollering on the sideline.
Leshoure & Co. wanted to celebrate with Locksley. Unfortunately, Locksley is also the holder for extra-point kicks, and he's on the Chargers' kickoff team. So there was no time to celebrate.
"Me and Meiko have been talking about a celebration dance for the past week," Leshoure said. "For him to get that touchdown, that felt good. I thought I was going to get (the dance), but then he had (extra point) and then kickoff."
One sign of a team with solid chemistry is teammates who genuinely enjoy the success of the younger backups. That seems to fit the 3-0 Chargers, ranked ninth in Class 6A.
"(It gives) our other players a good feeling," Leshoure said. "In practice, they go just as hard as we do. And for them to get in the game and get the crowd into it, I think that's a good thing."
Central's Mazzocco aims high
CHAMPAIGN – A year ago, Champaign Central cross-country runner Patrick Mazzocco placed 35th at the Big 12 meet. He was the fifth runner across the line among Central runners.
What a difference a year makes.
Mazzocco was a clear second at last week's Twin City meet behind Centennial standout Eric Simpson, and the junior showed he has designs on a big 2007 season.
"He's clearly No. 1 (for us)," Central coach Argie Johnson said.
"He and I talked over the summer, and we talked about his training. He dedicated himself. His whole goal is to make state this year. This summer he put in over 850 miles. He's in great shape. We're taking it one step at a time."
M-S girls gain state respect
MAHOMET – The first Class AA cross-country state rankings, compiled by the Illinois Prep Top Times, lists Mahomet-Seymour second, behind Rock Falls and just ahead of Mount Vernon.
Normal University High, like M-S a member of the Corn Belt Conference, is rated eighth.
Coach Bonnie Moxley's Bulldogs are led by a strong nucleus of runners who helped the school place 18th in state last year. The returnees who participated at state are juniors Jessica Butcher, Amanda Rodriguez and Hannah Schaap along with senior Julie Jarrett.
Among the team's notable newcomers is freshman Brittany Bohn, an all-state runner during her IESA career.
In Class A, Urbana Uni High is ranked third and St. Joseph-Ogden 13th in the girls' division, while boys' teams from Paxton-Buckley-Loda and Monticello are rated third and 10th, respectively.
This season is the first for the IHSA's three-class state tournament. No area schools were ranked in Class 3A.
Two milestones for Broncos coach
CERRO GORDO – In a matter of days, Cerro Gordo/DeLand-Weldon football coach Paul Workman reached two milestones.
His team's 33-7 victory Friday against South Piatt was No. 150 for Workman, in his 23rd year at the school. His team is 3-0 and has outscored opponents 95-7.
A coach who has guided teams to the playoffs 15 of the last 19 years, Workman was honored earlier this week as the Chicago Bears High School Coach of the Week. The Bears will donate $1,500 to the Cerro Gordo/D-W football program, and Workman will be honored prior to the Bears' Dec. 2 home game against the Giants.
Workman is the second central Illinois coach selected this season. A week ago, the choice was Mahomet-Seymour's Tom Shallenberger.