Bulletin board: Smith signs with Prairie Stars

CHAMPAIGN — St. Thomas More senior Airiana Smith signed last week with Illinois-Springfield, where she’ll continue her basketball career.

Smith averaged 6.5 points per game and knocked down 25 three-pointers this season, when the Sabers made a run to a Class 3A sectional title-game appearance. She earned News-Gazette All-Area special mention honors.

Hilgendorf returns to Warriors as new coach

WATSEKA — Aaron Hilgendorf is coming back to Watseka football.

This time, in the role of head coach.

On Thursday, Watseka tabbed the former Warriors assistant coach to lead the program after Hilgendorf spent the 2015 season as the head coach at Prairie Central.

"Illini Prairie" selected as name for Okaw Valley-Corn Belt merger

The new conference consisting of the 10 remaining teams in the Okaw Valley and Corn Belt Conferences will be named the Illini Prairie Conference, the conference announced Wednesday.

The conference will begin play during the 2017-2018 school year.

Okaw Valley, Corn Belt conferences will merge

PONTIAC — The merger between the Okaw Valley and Corn Belt conferences is complete.
Pontiac became the final school to approve the new conference at Tuesday’s school board meeting, meaning a new 10-team league commences beginning with the 2017-18 school year.

Stokowski 'very fortunate' with Blue Devils job

VILLA GROVE — Matching names to faces of his new players hasn’t been an easy process for new Villa Grove/Heritage football coach Joe Stokowski as he squints at video footage on and tries to match numbers to a roster he was given.

DeVries' next task: improve Oakwood football

OAKWOOD — Champaign Central football coach Nate Albaugh and then-assistant Wade DeVries spent hours upon hours on the phone throughout the last two seasons, dissecting an offense that put up 41.2 points per game in 2015.

The two still talk plenty on the phone. But now, they coach different teams.

Cola Wars back on the schedule

The storied high school football rivalry between Arcola and Tuscola — which began in 1896 —is back on.

The Cola Wars will resume with junior varsity and varsity games in 2018 and 2019, Tuscola announced today.

Tuscola leads the series 54-44-6 and has won 11 in a row.

Life Remembered: 'A lot of heavy hearts'

MAHOMET — You don't forget those dimples.

Reflecting on the "goofy" and "ornery" fifth-grader who grew into a "sweet" and "personable" young man, Kari Calcagno smiled when reminiscing about Matthew Prather, an 18-year-old Mahomet-Seymour High School senior who passed away Thursday.

Updated: Mahomet-Seymour student dies of apparent natural causes

New 6:23 p.m. Friday:

Services have been set for Matthew Prather, according to Mahomet-Seymour football coach Keith Pogue.