Blue Ridge Knights return to gridiron after 3 years in co-op

FARMER CITY — The marquee on Wednesday morning in front of Blue Ridge High School read "Welcome Back!" — a nod to students who returned to the classroom last week after summer vacation.

Top of the Morning, Aug. 25, 2016

The start of high school football is a big deal in our newsroom. Some reminders:

— On Friday, we’ll publish our 20-page special section with information on 34 area teams, our preseason Nifty 50 and coaches’ polls for every area conference.

STM's new AD makes himself at home

CHAMPAIGN — Ben Sankey had two bags for much of his 20s, and in those bags sat all of his belongings.

A call could come at any time that changed his life, whether that be a call to the coaches’ office or the ringing of his cellphone, telling him he’d been traded or a team was interested in his services. He had to remain ready.

Aug. 25 Ask the Sports Editor chat

Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 2:00pm

How much does the recruiting efforts of John Groce and Lovie Smith overlap? Why was Smith talking to Trent Frazier a big deal? Who is the next football commit to pop for Illinois? How difficult is the Illini's schedule this season? What area high school football teams should fans keep an eye on? Anything is fair game in sports editor Matt Daniels' weekly chat, which kicks off at 2 p.m.

Aug. 25 prep sports chat

Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 12:30pm

Fall sports are underway for the 2016-17 school year. What football teams might contend for a state title? Will Champaign Central football replicate its run to the Class 5A state semifinals from a year ago? Who are some of the top volleyball teams and players? Will Urbana Uni High boys' soccer advance to the state tournament again?

Prep preview, week of Aug. 22

Each Monday, prep sports coordinator Anthony Zilis will take a look at five area events to circle on the calendar:

TODAY: St. Thomas More at Judah Christian, boys’ soccer

Top of the Morning, Aug. 22, 2016

On Mondays, our award-winning photographers tell their stories. Today: Robin Scholz

Every year, August brings together new high school football teams.

And every year, the photo staff is sent out to about 25 area high schools to take pictures of the teams, the coaches and the players.

After your fifth or sixth school, they all start to look alike.

NG Prep Football Video Tour: Urbana

Urbana returns most of its offensive line and star utility player Jaimin Carter, but a daunting schedule awaits a team that will start St. Thomas More transfer Tyler Kyburz at quarterback.

Urbana's Carter ready to lead

URBANA — Even though he was new to Urbana, Tyler Kyburz knew about Jaimin Carter when he transferred from St. Thomas More last school year.

After moving in from St. Louis the previous summer, Kyburz had seen Carter working out at the turf fields on the University of Illinois campus and with Centennial quarterback Chris Comet when Carter went to Centennial for a brief time.

Top of the Morning, Aug. 16, 2016

The theme of this year’s high school football preview section — which publishes Aug. 26 — is “Where They Play,” in which we’ll go behind the scenes at the home fields of all our area teams.
Thanks to photo editor John Dixon — as well as our registered drone and GoPro camera — we took it a step further (and much higher).