Pearl ‘excited about seeing my ceiling’

DANVILLE — Julian Pearl has an entire college football career to look forward to at Illinois, with the anticipation only growing from his April 21, 2017, commitment flip from Northern Illinois to signing in December with the Illini. 

Top of the Morning, Feb. 28, 2018

How big of a deal is the resumption of the Arcola-Tuscola high school football rivalry?

Big enough that fans on both sides are ordering commemorative license plates touting the Cola Wars.

"I'll have a pair of plates for my Ford Explorer and my husband's work truck," said Marci Shoemaker of the Tuscola High Alumni Association.

Five local football teams to play at Memorial Stadium

CHAMPAIGN — Football teams from Centennial, Unity, Urbana, St. Thomas More and Rantoul will be among eight to compete at Saturday games in Memorial Stadium during the 2018 season.

The University of Illinois announced Monday it would host the games, which will occur the day after the Illini's Sept. 21 tilt against Penn State.

UPDATED: Longtime Central AD Woods to depart in July

CHAMPAIGN — After 24 years helming Champaign Central’s athletics sector, John Woods is going big and heading north.

The Centennial graduate and longtime Maroons athletic director has accepted the same position at Libertyville High School, located in a north Chicago suburb. Woods will step aside as Central’s AD on July 1, pending school board approval.

Migut's now an Army man

TOLONO — Steven Migut knew last August when he committed to play college football at Army that things wouldn't be easy. Not only would there be the matter of participating in Division I as a scholarship-earning quarterback, but there's also a guaranteed five years of active military service following graduation.

GCMS standout McNutt signs with Illinois football

GIBSON CITY — How could the 2017-18 school year get any better for Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley senior Mitch McNutt?

First, he was a key cog in the Falcon football team’s run to a Class 2A state championship. Then, he earned News-Gazette Player of the Year honors for piling up the area’s most rushing yards (1,693) and touchdowns (32), including a trio of scores in the title game.

Colin's Best Of The Bunch: Feb. 5, 2018

Preps coordinator Colin Likas returns with his latest Best of the Bunch, which this week celebrated the efforts of local wrestlers in regional action.

Danville's Griffin commits to Illinois football

DANVILLE — Lovie Smith’s Illinois football program already was going to net plenty of rooting interest from the Danville area after Viking senior Julian Pearl signed with the program in December as an offensive lineman.

But after fellow Danville senior Caleb Griffin’s college selection Friday, those in Vermilion County now will have a double-dose of Vikings suiting up for the Illini.

His socks will tell the story

DANVILLE — Caleb Griffin has made a college decision about where he will continue his football career. Danville's multi-sport star — he also plays soccer, basketball and baseball for the Vikings — just wants to announce it on his terms.

Prep pulse: Johnson carves out niche in coaching at Lake Land

David Johnson recognized at a young age he couldn't play basketball forever.

Though it was "by far my passion," he had no visions of grandeur.

So it was back in seventh grade when Johnson, who went on to graduate from Rossville-Alvin High School in 1984 after competing in basketball, football, baseball and track, decided coaching might be his walk of life.