Ray, Gallivan rally Sabers for playoff berth

CHAMPAIGN – Holding a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter, St. Thomas More seemingly was cruising to its first playoff berth since 2003.

Then came a controversial call and a botched punt attempt.

Vikings eye playoffs

CHAMPAIGN – Derrius Hightower proved that not all of Danville High School's big-play performers are on the offensive unit.

The senior linebacker officially ended Champaign Central's hopes for a football victory on Friday as the Vikings became playoff-eligible by rallying from a two-touchdown deficit to top the Maroons 27-20 at Tommy Stewart Field.

Sterling junior commits to Illinois

CHAMPAIGN - In the wake of a sudden and promising recruiting haul, it turns out that one of Illinois' more influential recruiters was one of its recruits.

"D.J. (Richardson) played a big part in getting the other two guys," said Sterling coach Peter Goff, whose standout junior Joseph Bertrand committed to Illinois on Thursday night. "D.J. was a pretty good recruiter, as well. He told Joseph, 'Let's get this thing going.'"

Tate: 'We're ahead of schedule'

CHAMPAIGN – Football is once again the engine driving the Illini train, and the hot non-secret is that Illini football coach Ron Zook soon will be locked into a lucrative, long-term contract.

"We have talked," UI athletic director Ron Guenther said. "Ron wants to stay, and we'll have an announcement very soon. We've made significant steps in extending that contract, and I'll be discussing it further with (chancellor) Richard Herman today (Thursday). We're pretty much completed."

Countdown to Iowa: 1 day

That's the fact:

Sages senior Barr continues to raise her game

MONTICELLO – For Chelsea Barr, there is only one appropriate grading scale to evaluate her performance on the volleyball court.

It's pass or fail.

Champaign Central Hall of Fame

Four athletes and a coach will be inducted into the Champaign Central High School Hall of Fame at Saturday's "C" Club Alumni Reunion Dinner at Lincolnshire Fields Country Club (5:30 p.m. start; for information, call Randy Fonner at 217-356-1613). The Class of 2007:

Madness memo

Illini Madness is set to begin at 9 tonight at the Assembly Hall (doors open at 8, parking is free).

Urbana Hall of Fame

Urbana Hall of Fame

Three athletes and a former coach will be inducted today into the Urbana High School Hall of Fame at halftime of the Tigers' homecoming game against Decatur Eisenhower. The Class of 2007:

Chargers wrap up Big 12 soccer

CHAMPAIGN – Before Thursday's boys' soccer match, Centennial's seniors were recognized.

Afterward, the real celebration took place.