Championship Week Pt. 1: Tuscola football prepares for state championship

Throughout the week leading up to the Class 1A state championship game, Tuscola football coach Andy Romine allowed The News-Gazette access to his team's practices, meals, its weekly Wiffle ball game and the locker room as the Warriors prepared to take on Lena-Winslow in the state championship game.

Check out how the Warriors prepared for the game in Part 1 of the two-part series.

Championship Week Pt. 2: Tuscola takes on Lena-Winslow in the 1A state title

Throughout the week leading up to the state championship game, the Tuscola football team allowed the News-Gazette behind-the-scenes access. 

In Part 2 of the two-part series, check out game highlights and reaction.


Broadcast footage and commentary courtesy IHSA

LIVE! Early signing period

Illinois has 17 Class of 2018 recruits officially signed (plus a grad transfer on board). The early signing period deadline is fast approaching, but beat writer Scott Richey will provide updates if any more new recruits send in a National Letter of Intent.


Friday morning yields another signee, and this one is one of the few in-state players for the Illini.

UPDATED: Judah Christian adding football, wrestling; Albaugh to coach

CHAMPAIGN — Judah Christian wasn’t in a hurry to add a football team. Sure, the school has had a turf field since mid-2015, but superintendent Mike Chitty said the institution was waiting for the proper moment to add a team that could call the Gene A. Salmon Field of Dreams its home.

Top of the Morning, Dec. 16, 2017

On Saturdays, we'll introduce additions to the growing newsroom at News-Gazette Media. Today: Prep sports coordinator Colin Likas.

COLIN LIKAS spent three years helping design and edit our nationally recognized sports section. But his goal out of Butler University was to write, calling it "a passion of mine."

'A very surreal experience'

It doesn't happen very often for area families. The Wakefiels experienced it. So did the families of Reggie Hodges, Mikel Leshoure. Sean Bubin and Justin March-Lillard.

Final N-G Top 10: Football


1. GCMS 2 14-0 Mike Allen's Falcons brought home the school's first-ever state title by topping Maroa-Forsyth in Class 2A.

2. Tuscola 1 13-1 A one-point loss to Lena-Winslow met Andy Romine's Warriors, who have nothing to hang their heads about.

Coach of the Year: GCMS' Mike Allen

Why he's Coach of the Year: The Falcons made school history by defeating Maroa-Forsyth 38-32 in a thrilling Class 2A state championship game, marking the first such victory in GCMS lore. Allen led an offense that included running back Mitch McNutt, The News-Gazette Player of the Year, and a defense that permitted only 6.2 points per game heading into the final with Maroa-Forsyth.

Meet the defense


Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, Jr., DL

Why he made the team: Even if Barnes hadn't made what served as the game-winning reception in the Falcons' Class 2A championship victory, he'd still be deserving of recognition thanks to 86 tackles and an interception for a dominant defensive unit.

2017 News-Gazette All-Area football team

All-Area First Team



Steven Migut Unity QB 6-1 180 Sr.

Braden Snyder Monticello QB 5-10 185 Jr.

Caleb Lahey BHRA RB 5-11 205 So.

Mitch McNutt GCMS RB 6-0 220 Sr.

Dalton Hoel Tuscola WR 5-6 150 Sr.

Tylan Stricklett Westville WR 6-2 180 Sr.