92
      Wednesday
      92 / 71
      Thursday
      92 / 71
      Friday
      90 / 72

      Take it as it Comes (Duerrisms for September 4th)

      Hope you enjoyed the Labor Day Holiday, my friends. Welcome to Duerrisms and welcome to September, arguably the most underrated month of the year. It gets a bad rap because it represents the death of Summer and vacation-indulged kids bemoan the return of 6:45am alarm clocks after sleeping until noon from June to August. But doesn't the return of three day football weekends trump all of that? And if it doesn't, quit reading this column now and peruse Cat Fancy.com because I can't help you.

      Let me just get this out of the way now. If you lost your house and car and family last week betting Chris Duerr's usually "sage" lines on Week Two of the High School Football season....

      1) ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY, YOU INVETERATE

      2) I am truly, deeply sorry

      3) Please re-read Number One

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      As you will see farther down in this column, I was historically bad in my projections. But then again, I am guessing that unless you live in Hamilton, have relatives in Sciota and perhaps a cousin who attends Springfield Lanphier High School, and have always had a strange affinity for Mark Twain High School because of a strong affinity for the writing works of Samuel Clemens; you weren't faring well in the prognostication department either this week. Just a strange, fun jumbled mishmash of results. And it was glorious to watch all the unexpected scores roll in on Friday and Saturday. Could be a very wild ride, my friends.

      Some reminders to increase your enjoyment of the season at hand:

      1) Duerrisms will be here for you every Thursday Morning when you awake to prep you for the Weekend ahead.

      2) Social Media extends the fun 24/7 across the KHQA Sports Platform with updates, scores as they happen, breaking news. The Facebook fun happens here: https://www.facebook.com/KHQAChrisDuerr and for even more immediacy, follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ChrisDuerr Between the two media, we've got more than ten thousand folks already along for the ride in the Tri-State's most vibrant Social Media community; so don't miss out on any of the fun that goes along with the games themselves.

      3) OVERTIME is nearly back to full strength on Saturday Nights. We bring you 30 minutes every weekend of nothing but local sports starting at 10:30pm. Will Wilson has all your regional college and pro sports coverage at 10:20 on Saturday. I take over with the highlight reel as soon as the regular show signs off. The Conn Communication Connection returned with our first nominee of the year, Macomb's Jacob Poore and Korby Foxall, as we count down the best sports couplings for the months of August and September, before giving you a chance to vote on a winner on our Website KHQA.com at the end of the month. And simply by voting, you become eligible to be randomly dranw for a nice prize package from Conn Communications.....

      4) Also, The BURRUS HYBRID SEEDS OF GREATNESS feature returns this month to OVERTIME as well. This is our spotlight on the next generation of Tri-State stars; a sneak peek if you will of the kids who will soon make our headlines. If you know of a great athlete with a great story age 15 or younger, we'd sure love to tell it. Just contact me at cduerr@chestv.com and explain why you feel like said nominee is worthy of this honor

      5) Now that September has arrived, we will soon be shipping off nomination forms to every High School Athletic Director in the Tri States as we resume the KHQA STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE WEEK program on the first Wednesday of October. If you know of a deserving SENIOR, with a 3.5 or better GPA and participation in at least one State Sanctioned athletic endeavor, we want to tell their story to the entire Tri-States and make them eligible for a college scholarship in June. Obtain a form from your local AD, fill out the resume, have the AD and Principal sign the form, and ship it off to us for consideration. Our independent board of judges will review the first round of October nominees on September 29th, so please get us that information as quickly as you can. It certainly helps increase the chances that your nominee of choice will be honored as the process tends to fill up later in the year with resumes from folks who waited until the last minute.

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      FOOTBALL 2014

      SEVEN OBSERVATIONS FOR WEEK TWO

      1) Combined wins to date for perennial area powerhouse programs Quincy Notre Dame, Clark County, Jacksonville, Macomb and Brown County: Zero.

      Combined wins to date for Van-Far, West Hancock, Bushnell-West Prairie, Rushville/Industry and Mark Twain: Seven.

      Yes, strength of schedule and small sample size and all of that. I hear you. But you have to admit that is a pretty jarring momentary snapshot on just what a crazy start to the 2014 Football campaign we have enjoyed. History suggests that this is probably transitory. But maybe, just maybe the formerly "meek" have indeed inherited the Earth. And I hope the victory party at the Gully Household, after a career opening 0-27 mark, stretched from Galesburg to Sciota to Bushnell and raged for three days. But I am told reliably in only lasted until the HUDL video uploaded about 45 minutes after game time....

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      2) There wasn't a lot of coaching turnover in the Tri-States this season with just four new bosses donning headsets in our area this season. Three of them, however, won their coaching debuts in rather impressive fashion. Given his history, that's probably not much of a surprise for Curt Simonson at Pittsfield in his "un-retirement." And yes, it wasn't the strongest of first round foes for the Saukees. But for a team playing nothing but Juniors, it was a very clean debut. And while they didn't really do anything particularly fancy or "space age" innovative in recasting their teams, Jon Hebb at Rushville-Industry and Alex Ebbing at West Central made simple, perfectly executed football look good over the weekend with brutish wins. And to be fair, the fourth "new guy" in this equation, Mason Swisher at Highland, didn't get even an eighth of a regular off-season to implement, so its hard to judge this year's campaign too critically but seems to have really adopted the right "build from the ground up" attitude and approach in Ewing. Early returns suggest this is could be a very impressive new class of Skippers in Tri-State Football.

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      3) Fort Madison Coach Todd McGhghy called West Burlington/Notre Dame Junior Wide Receiver Xavier Williams the best athlete to hold sway in Southeast Iowa since the great Craig Lewis was cleaning up KHQA POY honors in both Football and Basketball back in 1998. After watching the highlight reel from WB/ND's 45-42 win over the Hounds, I am inclined to believe the man. All Williams did on Friday night was this: snared nine receptions for 214 yards and three offensive touchdowns. He also grabbed a 42 yard scoop and score fumble recovery on Defense, to go with six tackles. And yes, Xavier also added a 20 yard pass completion. For those of you wanting a peek at this extraordinary talent, you are in luck. WB/ND hosts Keokuk Friday night.

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      4) Last week we praised Mark Twain in defeat as an obvious "riser" in Tri-State Football. And those words proved prophetic as the Tigers rode the momentum of the near miss against powerhouse Westran to a high value W over a really good Paris club. And in so doing, snapped a 17 game losing streak. Is there someone else out there in Tri State Football set to emulate this "Hudson-esque" Trend? Were I a betting man, I'd but my money in Western Illinois on Heath Wilson and Jacksonville Routt, who pulled this week's near-miss stunner by giving a rising Calhoun squad all it could possible handle in a 22-21 thriller that saw the Warriors seize the win with 35 seconds left. Mind you, this was a Rocket Team playing a Freshman Quarterback (and one we may be hearing a lot about over the next four years) in Hunter Chumley and trying to replace Ben Whalen (remember the name Keegan Hoots) and yet, the Rockets looked better on Week One this season than they looked at any point last year. And if it weren't for a young defense aiding Calhoun with three penalties on the final Game Winning drive, the Rockets would be 1-0 right now. Last year, his program looked to be withering under a lack of numbers. This year, Heath Wilson has simply shaken off the Year One shot to the jaw and raged back with a program that is showing plenty of new life. Granted, there will be plenty of growing pains ahead but any one who can help knock the barnacles off a program with as proud a tradition as Routt, and do so against "the odds" and the naysayers, is aces in my book.

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      5) Carrollton looked tremendous. Greenfield/Northwestern may have looked even better in savaging Brown County. North Greene landed punches on Central and may have even won an early round or two in that Heavyweight Fight. And West Central roared to life behind Kobie Hoover, Tyler Strohecker and that massive Offensive Line. Has the balance of power shifted in the WIVC from South to North? Until someone takes the crown off Brad Dixon's head, no. But we've got a significant trend working here kids and it's pointing due South.

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      6) Enough of you, Helias Crusaders. I've grown weary of your unyielding dominance and constant bullying of our area teams. Be gone. Go play someone more your speed from now on. Like Mizzou. Or maybe the Rams. (Heck, Hale Hentges might be a better Tight End then either of those teams have right now. Yikes...)

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      7) Outside of that first-Post 9/11 Football Friday and the JC Breault Ceremony in Palmyra last year, Keokuk's "Green Out" was one of the most moving experiences I've been around. And to frame it even further, I was in a lousy mood and feeling sorry for myself because the weather gods were destroying my football schedule and The Game of the Week wasn't starting until 8:20pm. But when they introduced the night's honorary captains (seven folks with mild to severe Cerebral Palsy ranging in age from childhood to age 70) to a packed house of cheering fans wearing green just...chills and tears. Chiefs Fullback Dakota Shaw walked over to me in the middle of the introductions, looked me dead in the eye and said how emotional this was for him to watch and how lucky it made him feel to be free and healthy enough to pursue his love of sports (football, baseball and most especially wrestling) when others couldn't. By the way, in its second year of existence, the Keokuk Green Out tripled its T-Shirt Sales from 500 to 1500 dollars in year two and sold complete out of the shipment. Well done Gate City. Well done.

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      THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN-YOUR FINEST WEEK ONE LUMINARIES

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      7) COLTON BOYD, RB, Rushville/Industry

      122 Rushing Yards, 2 TD vs Havana

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      6) BRODY BIVENS, FB, Central

      18 Carries, 129 Yards, 2 TD vs North Greene

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      5) QUINN LEAHY, QB, Pittsfield

      4 for 4 Passing, 76 Yards, 2 TD vs River Valley

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      4) AUSTIN CURFMAN, FB, Illini West

      21 Carries, 150 Yards, 5 TD vs Rockford Christian

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      3) ANTHONY FAIRCHILD, DL, Van-Far

      13 Tackles, Six Quarterback Sacks vs MMA

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      2) BRETT THREKELD, QB/RB, South Shelby

      27 Carries, 303 Yards, 5 TD vs Louisiana

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      YOUR KHQA PLAYER OF THE WEEK FOR AUGUST 29TH

      TYLER ELLEDGE, RB, Mark Twain

      This was such an incredibly spirited week of voting, we've had to lay down new ground rules. From now on, I am only counting votes that our posted to the Facebook Page. I appreciate the passion of all who flooded my e-mail or sent express messages or even called me with votes. And on this one last occasion, I counted every last one of those tallies. And it was a bear to do so. So in the interest of total transparency and fairness, we move forward with this new caveat so as to save your humble Sports Director a few extra hours of his life during the busy season. Make your voice heard on the Facebook Page alone. My continued sanity thanks you.

      With legitimate and compelling arguments to be made for a number of different candidates here, this was almost a no lose situation. This was the rare week that produced a dozen worthy candidates, all of them really good kids on top of all else. And I suspect, based on the ridiculous number of supporters these kids have, more than a few of them will resurface in the winners column here before Week Ten. Your fans blew it up, my friends.

      The two most popular choices, at the time we shut down the voting, were Mark Twain's Tyler Elledge and Rushville-Industry's Colton Boyd, with Quinn Leahy and Austin Curfman literally within a dozen votes each. Factoring in all the popular sentiment, the overall numbers, and the strength of opposition against which he garnered those stats, Tyler Elledge won on all three fronts. And maybe that's appropriate, as his efforts fueled the week's biggest upset and allowed the Tigers to snap a 17 game losing streak. There weren't many people outside of Center, Missouri who gave the Tigers a chance of putting enough points on the board to beat a high octane team like Paris. And yet Elledge, better know to this point as a Hurdler Extraordinare during the track and field season, became the equalizer. His skills allowed a rising and promising offensive line to show out really for the first time (and vice versa) in route to paving the way to 268 rushing yards and four touchdowns. That's a clip of nine yards per carry against a Defense that spent last week repeatedly punching Schuyler County in the mouth. Watch Elledge run and its clear he's got that rare extra gear that we don't see very often in this neck of the woods. And to some degree on Friday, Tyler pulled off the best Ser Whitaker imitation our area has seen since the original was scorching Earth at Illini West. He can make an opponent's defense look like it is moving in slow motion. For being a speed guy, Tyler also runs with a lot of grit and isn't afraid to got between the tackles and punch a defense from outside in. It was just a very special performance on a breakthrough night for a program that has emerged from a bit of dormancy. And you don't make this kind of rags to riches bounce without talented, driven kids like Tyler fueling the way. Hat's off to the young man and his teammates for taking charge of their own destiny and redirecting it to the positive. And thanks for all the support for all the candidates in question. A new crop goes up on the page Friday and Saturday.

      Past Winners:

      Week One: LUCAS ROBINSON, QB, Van-Far Indians

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      KHQA WEEK THREE POWER POLL

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      1) CENTRAL PANTHERS (1-0)

      Last Week: 32-6 win over North Greene

      Up Next: at HARDIN CALHOUN (1-0)

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      THE SKINNY: Prophetically, Brad Dixon told me this off-season that even as crowded as his offensive backfield already was, he was looking for ways to Brody Bivens more involved in the run game. The "poker tell" from the Central skipper may have been when he likened Bivens to former Panther Star Garrett Kestner, not so much because he shared a structural kinship to "The Human Muscle" (save for maybe Dennis Wolf, who does?) but because of his combination of speed, stature, and "profile" as a runner. Put diplomatically, Brody isn't "tall" per se at 5'3" and tends to get hidden among Offensive Linemen. This is something Offensive Coordinator Casey Rhea really seems to like in his backs; the ability to hide them and let them explode up on a defense that can't react to them quickly enough. With Bobby Keltz nursing an ankle injury, it was "next man up" for Central and Bivens delivered 129 yards and two touchdowns against a North Greene Defense that was really good in helping the Panthers secure a hard scrabble victory. Don't let the final score of this game deceive you. The Spartans and Panthers were tied at six at halftime; before Central's strength, conditioning, and most importantly sustained speed finally withered a really good group. Using Bivens and particularly battering ram Andrew Shake to tenderize North Greene for a half finally allowed Alger Saldana to run clean in the 3rd quarter and do his speed thing. A 32 yard third quarter TD by Saldana unleashed a 26 point run of unanswered Central points and the Panthers up-shifted into their usual dominance. The bigger takeaway here is that the Panther Defense is still good enough, even against a quality foe, to hold things down until the offense finds its rhythm. Or as they did on Friday, the Panther Defenders can even jump start that rhythm by creating turnovers. Trey Flesner (interception) and Devin Cassens (fumble recovery) each had huge takeaways in the third quarter to recapture momentum. But those were just the splash moments. Central held North Greene to just 93 yards rushing on the night (and a paltry 3.3 yards per carry average) and just 170 total yards. Here's what you like: Central got tested through the air more than usual and held the Spartans to just 40 percent passing efficiency and just six total points. It's once again a good group, headlined by the wrecking machine known as Andrew Shake and a still terrifically unsung Defensive Lineman in Jason Dormire. At this point, safe to say the Defense is ahead of the Offense in Camp Point, but that is the case nearly everywhere right now as building O-Line continuity takes time. Whatever the first half struggles, the Panthers did ultimately punch their way out of trouble and that bodes very well indeed for the road ahead. Now that CPC has a game under its belt, I suspect the offensive timing will look much better this Friday in Calhoun and that likely bodes poorly for the Warriors.

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      2) MACON TIGERS (2-0)

      Last Week: 23-20 over Monroe City

      Up Next: vs CLARK COUNTY (0-2)

      THE SKINNY: I am not sure it was intentionally executed this way, but the Macon Tigers spent Friday Night playing Muhammed Ali to the Monroe City Panthers George Foreman in pulling off the best "off the rope" act since the Rumble in the Jungle. Point blank, the Panthers won every round of what was, to be honest, an ugly fight at Hugh Dunn Field last week, save for the only round that counted. That punishing Monroe City ground game is legit and proved it by exacting a toll on Macon's well touted Defense, building an early 14-0 lead and as much as a 20-7 margin in third quarter. Unable to get the radio call from KRES through the storm static, I was sitting in the parking lot in Keokuk monitoring the game on Twitter and I guess the level of Monroe City dominance to that point was such that a Panther fan I follow had essentially declared victory; so much so that I initially thought the game was over by that Tweet. It turns out it was only the Third Quarter and that it would quickly become apparent by the mistakes Macon was able to force (and in truth, a lot of big unforced Monroe City miscues as well. including 14 penalties for 124 lost yards) that the Panthers had punched themselves out. In the Fourth Quarter, Macon showed poise and incredible resolve in fighting to 14 unanswered points, a run that continues to show the upside of Quarterback Aaron Brown. He hit Brendan Watts with a 17 yard TD pass with nine minutes left to make this a football game again. And then with two minutes left, Brown played the smart money and went back to the best Wide Receiver in Tri State Football (and a guy Pete Claas calls the best Wide Out he's coached in 22 years) again for the Game Winner on a 25 yard strike. All of this, mind you from Brown, coming after what was a pretty lackluster start to this game. And maybe that was the thematic thread off this night: Macon salvaged a contest that saw them commit too many penalties, make too many mistakes and miss too many tackles. But the bottom line is that they did in fact save it nevertheless, against a very good team that didn't show the same resolve of will when it mattered. You are not always going to have your A Game every Friday. I am not sure Macon had its C Game for much of this contest. But like "The Greatest" proved back in 1974 in Zaire, sometimes all it takes is a couple of good punches thrown at the exact right time.

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      3) QUINCY HIGH BLUE DEVILS (1-0)

      Last Week: 37-14 win over United Township

      Up Next: at PND (1-0)

      THE SKINNY: Terrific win Friday for Rick Little's crew, especially after having to sit around until essentially nine o'clock before getting to start their game with United Township. The Devils opened the game with a long, methodical, drive that netted a George Crickard quarterback sneak into the end zone. The Blue Devil Defense answered by holding the Panthers scoreless in the first half and essentially taking all the punch out of Jason Kirby's running attack; not to mention instantly killing any threat of a passing element with a Seth Holtschlag sack that essentially convinced UT they probably didn't want to try that again. The game reached 17-0 at intermission thanks to a Bryce Unmisig Field Goal and a 33 yard Holtschlag Swing pass from Crickard that netted pay dirt and the lead eventually bloomed into a 24-0 margin through three quarters. Then things got a little more interesting than I think anyone suspected. Watching the video from Friday's game, it looked a little like the Blue Devil Defense wore down late and an extended stretch on the field netted 14 unanswered Panther points and a suddenly much more interesting ball game. Credit the Devils for responding in kind, first with a Devin Smith touchdown (and man does that kid look every bid as good as advertised averaging nearly seven yards per tote in his first varsity start) and later with a Cameron Gay Pick Six Interception to ice things. In retrospect, it was probably just enough adversity to keep things interesting and give Rick Little a coachable moment in an otherwise very lopsided game. From an observational standpoint, I was impressed with both the Offensive and Defensive Line play; I think two of the three biggest questions people had about this team coming in. To an astute point a couple of different people have made to me; one I was apparently privy to see as quickly: Blayne Schlueter is a monster up front on the Defensive Line. I will give myself a min-pass on that one since I didn't see Quincy High during contact work in the preseason. Watching tape of Friday's game however, it's very obvious the kid has a real talent for exploding up field off the snap of the ball and that he is very football strong in his ability to control Offensive Linemen. The Blue Devil running game was just fine; really like the addition of Smith and just how hard Brady Brockmiller runs the football on every touch. The Linebacker play as solid to very good. The only real unanswered question on which we got zero read was the Blue Devil Secondary as clearly throwing the football isn't going to be a UT long suit any time soon. In short, Quincy High received a pretty favorable opening week draw and passed it about as cleanly and excellently as you can, given the circumstances. But the threat level appears to go way up this week with a road trip to a Peoria Notre Dame squad that absolutely housed Richwoods 42-0. My only point of access on any of that game was the highlight reel from my friends at WMBD-TV in Peoria and basically it appeared that the Irish simply ran the ball straight down the Knights throats with Andy Shadid pounding away at Richwoods for 140 rushing yards in the first half alone. I suspect we will see the Blue Devil Defense tested at a much higher level on Friday, but again, I think this team is well heeled for the challenge.

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      4) ILLINI WEST CHARGERS (1-0)

      Last Week: 46-12 win over Rockford Christian

      Up Next: vs MOWEAQUA CENTRAL A&M (0-1)

      THE SKINNY: Tuned into WCAZ on Friday just in time for the lightning delay and we could get zero help at all this week from the Rockford Television stations, so my insights on this win are pretty limited. Then again, any time a Charger Fullback scores five touchdowns, the story kind of writes itself, no? Austin Curfman got the lion's share of the touches for Lyle Klein's offense and delivered 150 yards and those five scores on 21 carries. If you are looking for evidence that Coach Klein is now calling the plays, there's your "tell" that IW is getting back to a dedicated power football game plan with the offense. IW used Curfman as the jab to tenderize Christian, then unleashed haymakers from speedsters Nolan Ard (6 carries, 91 yards, TD) and Jacob Sholl to the edge to keep the defense honest. Classic stuff except....the twist here was that Chargers showed a bit more a passing profile than expected, with seven pass attempts from Braden Bennett for 71 yards. I should have a much better read on these guys Saturday when I get to see them in person against Moweaqua Central A&M and former Routt boss Nate Graham; whose team struggled mightily in its season opener. Bottom line, the Chargers have a very good chance to be 2-0 by this time next week and a Defense that struggled mightily at times last season should be riding high in the confidence department headed into the meat of the schedule. From the looks of the stat sheet, IW has found some havoc causers on that side of the football. The Chargers notched six quarterback sacks against Christian, including a pair from Nate Palmer, who had a team leading 10 tackles. Colton Ragain added nine tackles, seven solos, and a team best three stops for loss. And Nolan Ard picked off his first pass of the season.

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      5) CENTRALIA PANTHERS (2-0)

      Last Week: 34-0 win over Clark County

      Up Next: vs LOUISIANA (0-2)

      THE SKINNY: The only upside of Storm Central on Friday Night was that I got an unexpected chance to drive over to Kahoka and watch a little bit of Centralia in action during the delayed Keokuk start. And it proved to be an illuminating trip. Preface all of this, of course, with the knowledge that neither Clark County Starting Quarterback Collin McKee nor returning All Stater Jacob Trump were available to the Indians this week due to injury issues. It would be foolish to discount that as impacting the Indians on both sides of the football significantly. By the same token, I think it also bears mentioning just how good Logan Armontrout looks triggering the Panthers Offense, regardless of mitigating circumstances. He's a wonderful fit as an Erle Bennett quarterback and two things really stood out to me in his approach against the Indians. For starters, the kid displays phenomenal ability as a play action quarterback. His fakes are magician worthy and he reminds me a lot in approach and mobility of a taller version of former KHQA Player of the Year Jensen Jones. The other thing that struck me is just how many different targets Armontrout worked the football to in the brief time I was there. He's not a lock on a receiver guy. Armontrout seems to really read and react very well. He ended up 110 passing yards and 140 rushing yards and a hand in three touchdowns. The read on the Centralia Defense that last two weeks is a little big tougher, seeing as it hasn't been truly tested yet. Give Clark County some credit, back up Quarterback Brendan Boatman did a very nice job given the circumstances and the Indians did put together a couple of drives that showed promise, if not points. By the same token, Centralia seemed to respond incredibly well in snuffing those potential scoring sojourns out the minute they appeared remotely viable. The Panthers limited Clark to just 31 passing yards and picked off three passes, including a 25 yard Pick Six from Donovan Dowell. Centralia also got a huge night in the run stopping department from Ethan Leighton, who had a team high 12 tackles, eight of which were solo stops. Again, this has all the makings of being a very good Centralia ball club and it's hard to fault Panthers for attending their business, even if schedule and circumstance have provided them the footing for a quick sprint from the gate. But we still have no idea how good this team's "good" really is and probably won't until Week Four, when a road trip to Brookfield may well provide the Tri-State's with its best matchup of the season. But for now, the focus remains on staying clean and keeping a Louisiana team that has show signs of being close at bay for one more week.

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      6) HANNIBAL PIRATES (1-1)

      Last Week: 14-52 loss to Helias

      Up Next: vs BOONVILLE (0-2)

      THE SKINNY: After displaying a few opening night hiccups against Nixa, the real Helias Crusaders showed back up in time for Hannibal's visit and left little doubt as to their supremacy by scoring 42 unanswered points before essentially calling the dogs at halftime. With all due respect to Mark St Clair's crew, there just aren't many football teams in the state of Missouri who can stand toe to toe with the Crusaders on a good night. If nothing else, the Pirates now have an idea of how far they've yet to go to reach that level and perhaps an idea, down the road, of how better to tangle with this tornado. The real loser in all of this, however, is Boonville, which gets the unlucky task of trekking to Porter Stadium, already winless on the season, and tangling with a Pirate team that figures to be plenty ticked off on Friday. This won't be pretty. Not in the least.

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      7) TRIOPIA TROJANS (1-0)

      Last Week: 34-20 win over Pleasant Hill/Western

      Up Next: vs CARROLLTON (1-0)

      THE SKINNY: What a difference a year makes. In retrospect, Rich Thompson would probably now admit that losing to Pleasant Hill last season on Opening Night was the worst possible thing that could have happened to his Triopia squad; that it essentially eroded team chemistry and confidence for a team that might have been a bit skittish in the psyche department to begin with. Cut to Friday and the Trojans man-handled a still very strong, physical, and brutish Wolves squad that won't be easy for many teams to push around; to the tune of 363 rushing yards. Dean Arendt led the charge with 177 yards on 2 carries and a pair of touchdowns. When they are right, and they both appear to be in a much more aggressive mode this season, Arendt and Matt Parker are as good a tone setting/defensive resolve busting running duo as exists in Illinois Small School Football. They are incredibly hard guys to get to the ground and wrapping them up is a bruise inducing, disspiriting task for four quarters. This a brutish team that isn't trying to be anything more artistic than that. And it appears the move to put Ike Werries at Quarterback has had added some brains and confidence to all that brawn. As I said earlier this Summer, no team needed a Week One win more than Triopia; especially considering what looms in Week Two with state ranked Carrollton coming to town. This is a game that the Trojans can now approach with swagger, even as they are the underdogs, because Triop already has proven it can mix it up with a big physical team. Granted, the skill guys in Carrollton are top notch and that is going to be a challenge for a Trojan team that isn't exactly fast by anyone's calculations. Still, Triopia has just proven that it can win a game by dictating tempo, pace, and defying someone to force them to do otherwise. Who's to say that same approach, executed with same brutal ferocity, doesn't put an even bigger notch on their belts this weekend?

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      THE NEXT LEVEL

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      8) JACKSONVILLE CRIMSONS (0-1)

      The Lanphier loss was as damaging as it was surprising on opening night, leaving the Crimsons with zero margin for error the rest of the way forward. When you have SHG, Glenwood, and Rochester on the schedule, it's hard enough to get to five wins, let alone six.

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      9) MONROE CITY PANTHERS (1-1)

      Panthers had Macon dead to rights on Friday entering the fourth quarter, but reverted to 2013 form at the worst possible time. Monroe City is loaded with talent but learning to win is a process. And Week Two was a step backwards.

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      10) WEST CENTRAL COUGARS (1-0)

      The Alex Ebbing Era is off to an impressive start as the Cougars jumped on Unity/Payson for a 34-6 statement win. Tell me if this sounds familiar: West Central had three kids rush for more than 75 yards, didn't attempt a pass, and owned the Line of Scrimmage in blue collar fashion. We will see if West Central's "Brown County Act" is even better than the original Friday Night in your KHQA Game of the Week from Mount Sterling.

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      11) MARK TWAIN TIGERS (1-1)

      Clearly, the Tigers have tired quickly of moral victories. One week after giving Westran a fight it didn't anticipate, Matt Hudson's crew withered a very good Paris squad with great Offensive Line play and a star turn of epic proportions from Tyler Elledge (270 yards, 4 TD) Truth be told, I am actually more impressed here, however, with the progress of the Twain Defense, which limited a high flying Coyote squad to just 19 points. Granted, it was a lot of bend not break, given the yardage totals the Coyotes rolled up, but getting stops in critical situations is quite a positive indicator for this young, rising group.

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      12) QUINCY NOTRE DAME RAIDERS (0-1)

      Take nothing away from the quality of the opposition, but the niggling concerns we've had about the Raiders Offense are now full blown issues. QND didn't do anything at all well on Friday in Rockford, to be blunt on either side of the football. Lutheran may in fact be this good, but I have a hard time imagining the Raiders being as bad as they looked on Friday. How they answer the call at Alton Marquette will be illuminating.

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      13) PALMYRA PANTHERS (1-1)

      Skyler Kline's second touchdown of the day, this time in overtime, helps Palmyra avoid a winless start and allows the Panthers to reestablish a little moment with a red letter road win against a very good Bowling Green squad. But the larger share of credit here should go to a P-Town Defense, led on this night by Will Obert and Joe Drebes with 13 tackles each, that held the potent Bobcat run game to just 89 total ground yards.

      ??

      ??

      14) PITTSFIELD SAUKEES (1-0)

      I willingly concede the level of opposition wasn't great here but the Saukees flashed high end potential after shaking off a loose start. Star turns here from rising Quarterback Quinn Leahy and dominant Defensive Linemen Korbyn Personett underscore the number of weapons that Curt Simonson has in play here. Again, a little leery of the youth of this team. But clearly, when it's all clicking, the Saukees are going to incredibly dangerous on both sides of the all. And the pass/run flexibility of this offense intrigues the heck out of me.

      ??

      ??

      15) RUSHVILLE/INDUSTRY (1-0)

      Jon Hebb's first game on the Rocket Sideline wasn't anything fancy; just a lesson in the value of simple football done right. Mightily impressed with the speed and vision of emerging star Colton Boyd, who might be as dangerous a back as I have seen in person so far in the first two weeks. And he's easily the best punter I have seen. And I love the Defensive Approach in R/I with aggressive, heat seeking young linebackers, led by Senior Eli Irwin and fantastic looking Soph Jakob Kunkel. This is a fun group to watch light into people.

      -----------------------

      ON THE CUSP

      ??

      16) CLOPTON-ELSBERRY (2-0)

      17) SOUTH SHELBY (1-1)

      18) VAN-FAR (2-0)

      19) PARIS (1-1)

      20) BOWLING GREEN (1-1)

      21) CENTRAL LEE (1-0)

      22) KNOX COUNTY (1-1)

      23) FORT MADISON (0-1)

      24) MACOMB (0-1)

      25) KEOKUK (0-1)

      26) WEST HANCOCK (1-0)

      27) BWP (1-0)

      28) LOUISIANA (0-2)

      29) ROUTT (0-1)

      30) CLARK COUNTY (0-2)

      31) PLEASANT HILL/WESTERN (0-1)

      32) UNITY/PAYSON (0-1)

      33) BEARDSTOWN (0-1)

      34) SCOTLAND COUNTY (0-2)

      35) HIGHLAND (0-2)

      36) NORTH SHELBY (0-2)

      ----------------

      FEARLESS DUERR PREDICTIONS

      Last Week: 16 of 27 (59%)

      Season So Far: 26 of 37 (70%)

      Iowa

      KEOKUK 32

      WB/ND 40

      ??

      ??

      FORT MADISON 21

      BURLINGTON 30

      ??

      ??

      CENTRAL LEE 14

      DANVILLE 28

      ----------------

      Missouri

      BOONVILLE 7

      HANNIBAL 45

      ??

      ??

      HIGHLAND 6

      PALMYRA 42

      ??

      ??

      MONROE CITY 18

      SOUTH SHELBY 12

      ??

      ??

      LOUISIANA 14

      CENTRALIA 34

      ??

      ??

      CLARK COUNTY 13

      MACON 42

      ??

      ??

      BROOKFIELD 27

      MARCELINE 23

      ??

      ??

      SCOTLAND COUNTY 15

      WEST HANCOCK (IL) 22

      ??

      ??

      PARIS 42

      NORTH SHELBY 7

      ??

      ??

      MARK TWAIN 28

      VAN-FAR 7

      ??

      ??

      BOWLING GREEN 21

      NORTH CALLAWAY 8

      ??

      ??

      CLOPTON ELSBERRY 14

      SOUTH CALLAWAY 28

      --------------------

      Illinois

      QUINCY HIGH 24

      PND 32

      ??

      ??

      QND 24

      ALTON MARQUETTE 0

      ??

      ??

      MACOMB 13

      MONTICELLO 30

      ??

      ??

      MOWEAQUA CENTRAL A&M 13

      ILLINI WEST 42

      ??

      ??

      GREENFIELD/NW 30

      UNITY 12

      ??

      ??

      ROUTT 14

      NORTH GREENE 28

      ??

      ??

      CARROLLTON 28

      TRIOPIA 12

      ??

      ??

      CENTRAL 49

      CALHOUN 14

      ??

      ??

      WEST CENTRAL 12

      BROWN COUNTY 18

      ??

      ??

      BEARDSTOWN 7

      R/I 27

      ??

      ??

      UNITED 18

      BWP 14

      ??

      ??

      NORTH MAC 27

      PITTSFIELD 21

      ??

      ??

      ??

      SOUTHEAST 24

      JACKSONVILLE 38

      -----------------------

      RANDOM MUSINGS

      Virginia native and former KHQA Student Athlete of the Week nominee Eric Jokisch his expected call-up to the Chicago Cubs as part of the expanded September rosters on Tuesday. Jokisch was 9-10 with a 3.58 ERA in 26 starts at AAA Iowa, striking out 143 over 158 1/3 innings. No word yet on what pitching capacity Eric will be used in, starter or bullpen,

      The news is not as good for former QND Football star Jack Cornell, who is as of this writing, in NFL job limbo. The Oakland Raiders waived Big Jack at the final cut and then opted not to bring him back as part of their Practice Squad for a second straight season. No it's simply a case of Jack having to play the waiting game.

      Macomb Product Brett Taylor posted seven tackles and a forced fumble in his collegiate debut at Western Illinois University in last Thursday's blowout win over Valpo. QND's Chip Holtschlag posted four tackles from his Defensive End slot while twin brother Eddy Holtschlag had two tackles and was credit with a half tackle for loss in that game. Central alum Nathan Knuffman had a 24 yard field goal and finished 6 of 6 on PAT attempts.

      England Field debuts its new lighting system on Saturday at 6pm as Illinois College plays host to Aurora. Culver Stockton will unveil NXLevel Field on Saturday in hosting MacMurray and former West Hancock Quarterback Coy Dorothy.

      After looking far and wide, Bill Connell has finally found a Week Nine Opponent to fill out the QND schedule for this season. Just a short little jaunt to Florida to get that done is all that was required. The Raiders will face Calvary Christian in Clearwater, Florida on October 24th to finish out the regular season slate.

      From the "statistical anomaly" department, Holy Trinity's Kristen Brinck served up all 25 of her teams points on Tuesday in a Game Three win over Fairfield Maharishi. That gave the top ranked Crusaders that rarest of "goose egg" wins and also allowed Brinck to notch 12 aces along the way.

      A name to remember, for the next four years, in Tri-State Volleyball: Josie Stanford of Payson Seymour. The six foot Freshman hitting machine wowed us with her 14 Kill, 3 Block performance against Illini West at the Suns Classic and looks to be the real deal in the middle. Rita Speckhart's club is loaded and very balanced already, with nary a Senior on the roster. Adding a legitimate cleaner in the middle just makes things that much better.

      Really impressed with Western's Makayla Robbins, who might be one of the most underrated athletes in all of Tri State Volleyball. Had no idea until the Suns Classic she had that kind of leaping ability and explosion off the floor. And her jump serve is as lethal as advertised.

      Despite starting eight new starters, I suspect Palmyra Softball is going to be just fine this season after season the Lady Panthers against Louisiana on Thursday. Pitcher Shelby Cunningham is a new name to the area, who got limited innings last year as a Sophomore, but she looked very sharp against a very dangerous Lady Bulldog line up on Tuesday in fashioning a shutout and notching 10 K's.

      Despite the graduation of superstar Karyn Paisley, Macomb Cross Country may still be the area benchmark for running excellence this season; on both the boys and girls side of the ledger to boot. Randy Ames crew swept their own five team invite at Spring Lake last Thursday. On the boys side, Markius Anthony was your medalist but the Bombers placed Cameron Brock second, Donnie Wetterling third, and Noah Pyles fifth. That my friends, is balance. Incredibly impressed on the girls side with Karla Mendoza, who won the title by more than 70 seconds and was fast enough to threaten the Boys Top Ten (she would have unofficially finished 11th in that race) If you are looking for a great Fall story that probably won't get near the play it deserves, the Macomb Cross Country crew is worth the watch.

      Congratulations to Western Illinois Womens Basketball Coach J.D. Gravina and his wife Meredith (Rash) Graviana (a former South Shelby standout) on the birth of their first child Thursday Maryn.