When Salt Fork football coach Brian Plotner moved his family from the Unity school district to the Jamaica district a year ago, the idea was to avoid conflicts where he'd miss his son's athletic contests.
The best-laid plans sometimes go astray.
Two Saturdays ago, freshman Conner Plotner made his high school debut in the secondary with the Salt Fork ninth-grade football team in a jamboree at Villa Grove. Dad was about 180 miles farther south, coaching the varsity to victory in its opener at McLeansboro.
There should be fewer problems the rest of the season. Salt Fork's freshmen continue a Thursday sequence of games. Brian Plotner will be there, assuming he doesn't make his varsity practice late.
M-S coach feted
The triumphs keep adding up for Tom Shallenberger, the veteran Mahomet-Seymour football coach. On the heels of his 100th career victory (49-0 last Friday against Peoria Manual), Shallenberger was chosen as the Chicago Bears' High School Coach of the Week.
All nine weeks during the regular season, the Bears select one high school coach from Illinois or Indiana as High School Coach of the Week. The Bears will donate $1,500 to the M-S football program and will invite Shallenberger to be their guest for the Dec. 2 home game against the Giants. He will be recognized in an on-field ceremony that day at Soldier Field.
This is the 12th year for the Bears' Coach of the Week program.
When Tuscola wrapped up its game against Unity last week, the consensus among most Warrior players was that game was the most physical they had ever been involved in. Matt Bailey was lost for what looks like to be the remainder of the season with a broken collarbone, and several other players had multiple bumps and bruises.
"I was real sore the next day and rode my bike to kind of work it out," said Clayton Meyer, who kicked a field goal, caught a pass and returned an interception 55 yards against Unity. "A lot of other guys did their own thing to get through it."
Despite the rough game, the Warriors have not backed off in practice. In fact, Meyer says they might be practicing harder than normal.
"It's been pretty intense," he said. "We know that it's going to be like that every week, so we have to be prepared for it."