Friday Night Forecast: Our Guide to Week 1
For the 88th consecutive year, football teams representing the communities of Paxton and Gibson City will play one another. Including games held prior to the current consolidations, Paxton-Buckley-Loda holds a 58-54-7 edge on Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley. GCMS boys' basketball coach Ryan Tompkins researched the series and traced it back to 1910, when Gibson City defeated Paxton 6-0. The current GCMS team is led by Michael Romshek, who is on the verge of becoming the top rusher since the consolidation took place, and Stephan Birt , who could hold quarterback records at GCMS by year's end.
In case his football players have short-term memories, Bismarck-Henning coach Mark Dodd has issued frequent reminders this season on how the Blue Devils fared in their last two season openers. His message is "63-0." That's the combined score that St. Thomas More has manhandled his team the past two seasons. Today's 7 p.m. contest will take place in Bismarck.
Urbana's 2009 schedule begins the same way as recent seasons: games against Big 12 Conference powers Normal Community, Champaign Central and Bloomington. That's about as tough a road as a team can have in September, especially for a young squad with a new coach. But don't look for first-year boss Nathan Watson to complain. "If I'm playing somebody like Community, I'd rather play them in Week 1," Watson said. "By Week 9, they're going to have all the kinks worked out, and they're going to be rolling. I think (early in the season) is your best chance to pull off an upset."
The sound of Jud Wienke's collarbone cracking Aug. 17 sent panic throughout Tuscola. Wienke will miss Friday night's opener against Shelbyville and the entire 2009 season. But his replacement at quarterback, sophomore Phillip Meyer, has the confidence of second-year Tuscola coach Rick Reinhart.
"It's going to take him a while to get into a rhythm and get things the way we want. But I know this, the effort will be total," Reinhart said. "He's just totally dedicated and has worked hard on it all season. He has a lot of confidence in himself, and he's a great athlete. I think he'll be fine."