Each Saturday, prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner will review Friday night's action:
Two one-win schools last season, St. Thomas More and Milford, have shown the greatest improvement in 2007. The Sabers are 6-2 and made major strides on defense, cutting last year's points allowed (22.7) to less than half (11.1). The Bearcats are 4-4 under first-year coach Michael Packard, showing what can happen with an outstanding receiver (Ryan Kunce) and a quarterback who can get him the ball (Justin Garrelts).
Friday was a tough night for schools trying to clinch playoff berths by winning their sixth game or staying in contention by improving to 4-4. St. Thomas More was the only five-win team to prevail (besides Salt Fork, which won by forfeit) with Ridgeview, Villa Grove and Watseka losing. The three-win teams who had faint hopes had those snuffed out. Bismarck-Henning, Fisher and Iroquois West/Crescent-Iroquois were all defeated. The four-win teams that became playoff eligible by winning No. 5 were Danville, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, Monticello, Oakwood/Armstrong-Potomac and Unity.
There's no shortage of top-flight receivers in the area. Through eight games, 33 different players have been listed as among the five leaders for a particular week. The only ones who have made the list more than twice are Argenta-Oreana senior Nathan Tolbert and Danville sophomore Derrick Cunningham (three times apiece). Cunningham is the only returnee to this week's list.
TIM COLLINS, Unity: Returned opening kickoff to fire up the Rockets and later intercepted a pass.
CHASE VIRE, Georgetown-Ridge Farm: Quarterback tossed game-winning pass in overtime and also collected a career-high 15 tackles.
TYLER SMITH, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley: Junior linebacker had 16 tackles as Falcons held on for a two-point triumph.
Top five rushers
ANDREW BREWER, Mahomet-Seymour: 15 carries, 338 yards, four touchdowns
CALEB PRATT, Westville: 19 carries, 292 yards, seven touchdowns
COREY DOWD, Arthur-Lovington: seven carries, 155 yards, two touchdowns
JUSTIN SCHURING, Arthur-Lovington: 18 carries, 153 yards, two touchdowns
AARON WILLIAMS, Georgetown-Ridge Farm: 16 carries, 143 yards, one touchdown
Top five passers
KENDALL CARTER, Danville: 16 of 32, 263 yards, three touchdowns
BROCK BAKER, Hoopeston Area: 12 of 32, 247 yards, three touchdowns
KENDALL COX, Paxton-Buckley-Loda: 12 of 20, 192 yards, four touchdowns
KYLE EASTHAM, LeRoy: 8 of 12, 186 yards, no touchdowns
SCOTT FIFER, South Piatt: 6 of 13, 184 yards, one touchdown
Top five receivers
DARYL BROWN, Hoopeston Area: seven receptions, 153 yards, three touchdowns
JUSTIN WALSH, South Piatt: three receptions, 128 yards, one touchdown
DAVEON ALLEN, Danville: seven receptions, 111 yards, one touchdown
BRADLEY KLAYER, Oakwood/Armstrong-Potomac: two receptions, 93 yards, two touchdowns
DERRICK CUNNINGHAM, Danville: five receptions, 85 yards, one touchdown
The Purple Riders completed their 3-0 sweep in the past eight days by handling Villa Grove handily. Now, quarterback Mark Klinger can concentrate on golf today at state.
After starting out 4-0, the Warriors lost for the third time in the past four weeks.
NEWS-GAZETTE TOP TEN
1) Westville (1), 8-0
Won 51-29 at Hoopeston Area.
2) St. Joseph-Ogden (2), 7-0
Postponed vs. Tri-Point; makeup uncertain.
3) Mahomet-Seymour (3), 7-1
Won 64-19 vs. Rantoul.
4) Tuscola (4), 7-1
Won 55-0 at Meridian.
5) Salt Fork (5), 6-2
Won by forfeit from Schlarman.
6) Cerro Gordo/DeLand-Weldon (6), 6-1
Plays today at home at 1:30 p.m. vs. Johnston City.
7) Villa Grove (7), 5-3
Lost 41-12 at Arcola.
8) Unity (8), 5-3
Won 41-13 at Clinton.
9) Centennial (9), 4-4
Lost 10-7 at Mattoon.
10) Arcola (10), 7-1
Won 41-12 vs. Villa Grove.