unity football

The Unity football team will try to check another one off this list starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday when the top-seeded Rockets play host to second-seeded Mt. Carmel in a Class 3A state semifinal game at Hicks Field in Tolono.

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Class 3A

(2) Mt. Carmel Golden Aces (12-0) at (1) Unity Rockets (12-0),

2 p.m. Saturday

Coaches:

  • Michael Brewer (35-12 in five seasons at Mt. Carmel); Scott Hamilton (261-64 in 28 seasons at Unity).

Postseason results:

  • Mt. Carmel defeated (15) St. Joseph-Ogden 46-14, (7) Carlinville 54-7 and (3) Benton 30-14; Unity defeated (16) Newton 46-6, (8) Paxton-Buckley-Loda 21-14 and (4) Williamsville 28-7.

Golden Aces to watch:

  • Blayne Sisson (Soph., QB; 62 of 99 passing, 1,241 yards, 8 TDs, 2 INTs; 109 carries, 1,130 yards, 21 TDs); Zeke Hadra (Sr., RB; 55 carries, 354 yards, 7 TDs; 6 receptions, 114 yards, 1 TD); Asher Kight (Soph., RB/FS; 53 carries, 471 yards, 10 TDs).

Rockets to watch:

  • Matt Brown (Jr., RB; 241 carries, 1,609 yards, 20 TDs); Blake Kimball (Sr., QB; 146 of 218 passing, 1,785 yards, 21 TDs, 4 INTs; 141 carries, 898 yards, 13 TDs); Nat Nosler (Sr., DB; 97 tackles, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery).

The pick:

  • Unity 21, Mt. Carmel 17. The Rockets seem to have a bit more balance in their offense than the Golden Aces, who also struggled to slow Benton through the air during last week’s quarterfinals. But on defense is where Unity will turn this one, as the Rockets have tamped down on some strong offenses through their first three playoff games. They’ll do so again here.

Class 1A

(13) Ridgeview/Lexington Mustangs (8-4) at (6)

Lena-Winslow Panthers (10-2), 2 p.m. Saturday

Coaches:

  • Hal Chiodo (8-4 in one season at Ridgeview/Lexington); Ric Arand (218-66 in 25 seasons at Lena-Winslow).

Postseason results:

  • Ridgeview/Lexington defeated (4) Rushville-Industry 34-6, (5) St. Bede 47-20 and (1) Abingdon-Avon 51-12; Lena-Winslow defeated (11) Aurora Christian 54-7, (3) Forreston 38-8 and (7) Fulton 54-28.

Mustangs to watch:

  • Kaden Farrell (Jr., RB/OLB; 289 carries, 1,971 yards, 22 TDs; 13 receptions, 253 yards, 4 TDs); Logan Friedmansky (Jr., RB/DB; 59 carries, 534 yards, 6 TDs; 8 receptions, 102 yards, 1 TD; 59 tackles, 6 pass deflections, 1 blocked kick); Evan Antonio (Sr., LB/P; 14 punts, 47-yard average; 115 tackles, 7 TFLs, 4 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 3 pass deflections, 1 blocked kick).

Panthers to watch:

  • Marey Roby (Sr., RB/CB; 169 carries, 1,362 yards, 18 TDs; 6 receptions, 124 yards, 1 TD; 1 punt-return TD; 29 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 fumble recovery); Ethan Fye (Sr., RB/LB; 130 carries, 1,066 yards, 16 TDs; 61 tackles, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery); Brody Mahon (Sr., TE/OLB; 7 receptions, 148 yards, 3 TDs; 70 tackles, 4 INTs, 1 INT return TD, 1 fumble recovery).

The pick: Lena-Winslow 36, Ridgeview/Lexington 34. It’s hard to pick against the Mustangs at this point, because they keep defying their seed and crushing their opposition. But this is a different animal. Lena-Winslow has won four state championships since 2010 under Arand and thrives this time of year. Don’t take that to mean Ridgeview/Lexington won’t make a game of it, though.

Colin Likas is the preps coordinator at The News-Gazette. He can be reached at clikas@news-gazette.com, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

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