Unheralded Tiger shines
Chris Lenear is one of the Urbana players the coaches are aware of but who is less familiar to outsiders. That could change. The senior played four positions for the Tigers in their opener — including three on defense — and finished with a team-high 11 tackles. "He is hands down our utility guy," said Urbana coach Nathan Watson, whose team will play rival Champaign Central in Friday's 7 p.m. home opener at McKinley Field. "To play that well against that caliber (state-ranked) opponent is impressive. He has taken the next step."
Rockets headed to the turf
The second game of the football season represents a first for Unity's team. The Rockets will help Maroa-Forsyth break in its new artificial turf field. The Trojans played a road game last week. Unity coach Scott Hamilton doesn't plan to do anything differently leading up to the crossover game between Okaw Valley schools, but he hopes to get his team to the field a few minutes earlier than normal so the players can become accustomed to the surface. Both unbeaten teams are state-ranked, Unity is ranked second in 3A and Maroa-Forsyth is rated third in 2A.
Tuscola starts strong
Tuscola's Dan Yoakum connected on his first six extra-point attempts in the Warriors' opening-game win. It was one of many highlights in a game where 10 new starters were on the field on offense, but there were no turnovers as the team amassed 506 yards at Clinton. Austin Sexson, who rushed for 110 yards before being injured, was the lone returning offensive regular. Dustin Haake started a year ago at center but was shifted to guard. The No. 9 Warriors open the home portion of their schedule Friday against state-rated Monticello.
An 0-2 start possible
Come Saturday morning, a team that was state-ranked in the preseason will enter Week 3 with an 0-2 record. Danville hosts St. Rita on Friday, with each school hoping to rebound from a first-game loss. The Vikings generated 488 yards of total offense in a 43-42 loss to Bloomington. "When play good folks, you have a chance having that (an 0-2 start) happening," Danville coach B.J. Luke said. "It exposes your weaknesses but also gives you the opportunity to become a better football team. That's the way we're looking at it."
Central hopes to leave Urbana marooned
Central has not only dominated the recent football series with crosstown rival Urbana but also the majority of the 106-year series. Entering Friday's game at Urbana, the Champaign school holds a 70-32-4 lead. The Maroons will be without halfback Tim Turner, who was hurt in the opener. Coach Brett Roberts hopes Turner could be available as soon as the fourth game. The nature of this week's rivalry means the coach doesn't need inspirational speeches. "This is like the Bears and Packers for them," Roberts said. "They play hard until the end."