A glance at Week 7 games, compiled by Sports Editor MATT DANIELS:
Mahomet-Seymour 20, Charleston 12
CHARLESTON — Braden Finch opened the fourth quarter with a 47-yard touchdown run, giving the visiting Bulldogs a 20-6 lead before M-S held on for an Apollo Conference win. Finch also added a touchdown pass, along with Nolan Nierenhausen, to help M-S end a three-game skid.
Unity 42, St. Thomas More 30
CHAMPAIGN — Unity is back in the playoffs.
A year after missing out — and ending the Rockets’ run of 24 consecutive postseason berths — Unity secured its sixth straight victory, going up 42-0 in the second half before emptying its bench in an Illini Prairie Conference win.
“It used to not mean as much to be able to say after you get that sixth win, but when you don’t do it, it does mean quite a bit,” Unity coach Scott Hamilton said. “We’re happy with the win. It’s now about finding a way to continue to get better going into next week.”
Hank Cain led Unity with 205 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries, while Nate Reinhart passed for 145 yards and one touchdown as the Rockets went ahead 28-0 at halftime and enjoyed a running clock in the third quarter.
“Hank ran hard and we spread the ball around well on offense,” Hamilton said. “Coming off a big win last week and going on the road with some iffy weather, I thought our kids did a good job getting reayd to play.”
Jason Brown completed 13 of 26 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns for STM, with Dawson Magrini finishing with five receptions for 87 yards.
Monticello 59, Pontiac 7
MONTICELLO — The host Sages has no problem scoring on a cold night.
Running back Chris Brown was the star of the show, scoring four long touchdowns, including an 80-yard kickoff return to open the game.
“We got off to a good start against a team that has struggled the last couple of weeks,” Monticello coach Cully Welter said. “I think we really did execute pretty well in the first half, both offensively and defensively. You hope that’s a trend.”
Monticello — the defending Class 3A state champions became eligible for the playoffs with the win — scored five touchdowns longer than 40 yards as the Sages’ offense broke out in a big way in Illini Prairie action.
“We’ve got some big-play kids,” Welter said. “We try to emphasize that with our kids, like, ‘Look we have some guys who can go the distance if you just give them a crack.’”
The defense was just as good for the Sages, limiting Pontiac to 2 yards of total offense in the first half as Monticello built a 52-0 lead by intermission.
“We’ve been trying to step up our defense,” Brown said. “Like the last game at Unity, we played a pretty hard game that game, so we’re just carrying it on to the next one.”
Chillicothe IVC 33, St. Joseph-Ogden 12
ST. JOSEPH — The host Spartans never led against the league-leading Grey Ghosts in an eventual Illini Prairie loss, SJ-O’s second straight defeat.
Crayton Burnett went 8 of 16 for 136 passing yards and two touchdowns, with Brady Buss compiling three catches for 71 yards to lead SJ-O.
Bloomington CC 28, Rantoul 14
RANTOUL — The host Eagles trailed 14-0 in the first half, only to battle back and tie the Illini Prairie game at 14 before falling short. Keddrick Terhune scored Rantoul’s first touchdown on a 9-yard run with 4 minutes, 19 seconds left in the second quarter to trim the Eagles’ deficit to 14-6.
Robert Buford hauled in a 15-yard touchdown reception with 25.8 seconds before halftime before Terhune tied the game on a two-point conversion run. But the visiting Saints pushed through in the second half, shutting out Rantoul as the Eagles are still searching for their first win.
Prairie Central 48, Olympia 7
STANFORD — Five different Prairie Central players rushed for touchdowns in a convincing Illini Prairie win. Kaden King completed 8 of 9 passes for 167 yards to spark the Hawks, who are now eligible for the playoffs.
Tuscola 40, Warrensburg-Latham 7
WARRENSBURG — Jalen Quinn hauled in three interceptions as the visiting Warriors became playoff eligible by rolling in Central Illinois Conference play.
“I don’t know if this is 100 percent accurate, but I saw on Twitter three consecutive offensive plays for (the Cardinals) he had interceptions,” Tuscola coach Andy Romine said. “If it wasn’t three consecutive, it was three within five plays. ... I feel good about the way we played defensively and making them put the ball where they didn’t want to.”
The Warriors compiled 506 yards of total offense, splitting it almost evenly — 264 yards through the air and 242 on the ground. Grant Hardwick put together 128 rushing yards to pace the latter effort as the Warriors pulled ahead 20-0 at halftime and never looked back.
“Being in good field position certainly helps,” Romine said. “We played the game, for the most part, on their side of the field.”
Fisher 30, Dee-Mack 24
MACKINAW — Another week, another last-second win for Fisher.
The visiting Bunnies became eligible for the playoffs with a Heart of Illinois Conference crossover victory as quarterback Will Delaney scored the game-winning touchdown on a 13-yard run with 13 seconds left. The score capped a solid fourth quarter for the Bunnies, who trailed 24-15 entering the final 12 minutes.
Delaney finished with 81 rushing yards on eight carries and added 93 passing yards, with Drew Purvis (three receptions for 41 yards) his favorite target. Tyler Wilson led Fisher on the ground with 108 rushing yards on 22 carries.
GCMS 42, LeRoy 0
GIBSON CITY — The two-time defending Class 2A state champions are back in the playoffs. The host Falcons clinched a playoff berth with a dominating win in an HOIC crossover game, relying on two 100-yard rushers. Payton Kean compiled a game-high 144 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries, while Aidan Laughery added 104 rushing yards and two TDs on 12 carries. Trey Reynolds paced the GCMS defense — which only gave up 47 yards in posting its second shutout of the season — with six tackles, including one for loss.
Clifton Central 29, PBL 14
CLIFTON — Paxton-Buckley-Loda was tied at 14 with the No. 2-ranked Class 2A team in Clifton Central.
The Comets then scored 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to run away with a Sangamon Valley Conference win after Hunter Anderson (87-yard touchdown run) and Drake Schrodt (3-yard TD run) accounted for PBL’s two scores.
After Jay Lemenager scored what would be the game-winning touchdown on a 23-yard run with 9:56 left in the game, PBL drove the ball toward midfield on its ensuing possession, but a deep pass thrown by Gunner Belt was intercepted by Chandler Burrow at the 15-yard line with 8:11 remaining. It was the second of three interceptions thrown by Belt.
“It’s not Gunner’s fault,” PBL coach Josh Pritchard said. “It’s really my fault. I should have just stuck with what was working instead of trying to get cute.”
Villa Grove/Heritage 14, Cumberland 10
TOLEDO — No scoring for three quarters? No problem for Villa Grove/Heritage. The visiting Blue Devils pulled off a thrilling Lincoln Prairie Conference road win thanks to a dramatic fourth quarter.
Cumberland took a 10-7 lead with 44 seconds remaining, but that was still enough time for VG/H to strike, with Liam Barr completing a 66-yard touchdown pass to Keagan Patterson for the game-winning score with only seven seconds left. It was Barr’s only completion on four attempts, with Blake Smith adding a game-high 68 rushing yards on 11 carries on offense and two interceptions on defense.
Arcola 62, Tri-County 20
ARCOLA — The host Purple Riders took a 35-6 lead after the first quarter and never looked back in a Lincoln Prairie triumph, a win that made Arcola eligible for the playoffs. Beau Jones went 6 of 8 for 192 yards and five touchdowns to key Arcola’s win, while Austin Hopkins picked up 213 rushing yards and two TDs on 13 carries.
Argenta-Oreana 58, Decatur Lutheran 28
DECATUR — Josh Williams accounted for five total touchdowns to lead visiting A-O to its sixth straight win. The Lincoln Prairie victory also qualified the Bombers for the playoffs. Williams finished with 159 rushing yards on seven carries, while Makail Stanley produced 228 rushing yards and three TDs on only seven carries.
ALAH 44, Sangamon Valley 13
ARTHUR — Billy Fifer rushed for two long touchdowns on his first two carries, sparking ALAH to a Lincoln Prairie win that made the Knights eligible for the playoffs.
Westville 41, Oblong/Pal.-Hut. 6
OBLONG — The visiting Tigers cruised to a nonconference win as Antonio Munoz rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries to lead Westville.
Seneca 20, Watseka 0
WATSEKA — Watseka only managed 126 yards of offense in a home SVC loss, the Warriors’ second straight setback. Brayden Haines caught three passes for 90 yards.