87
      Friday
      92 / 72
      Saturday
      92 / 74
      Sunday
      92 / 73

      The Duerr Abides (Duerrisms for September 27th)

      Make no mistake about it, kids. This is a huge week for High School Football featuring arguably the most anticipated High School Football Game this season with Concord Triopia and Central-Southeastern set for war in Adams County. And what better way to greet it all than with your weekly dose of Duerrisms, brought to you as ever by the good people at GAMEMASTERS here in Quincy. As always, we are mindful and thankful for their unwavering support of young people here in the Tri States. If you enjoy this column, please show you gratitude to our sponsors with you business, patronage, and appreciation of what they do.

      In that spirit, our thanks as well to CELL TECH, SUBWAY, and PETERS HEATING & AIR, for sponsoring next week's launch of our eighth season of the KHQA Student Athlete of the Week Profiles. Every Wednesday, we will profile for you an outstanding Senior Athlete (GPA 3.5 or higher) in our Six O'Clock Sportscast; from now until the end of the school year. At year's end, our independent nominating committee will choose the top representative of the ideals that embody being a true Scholar Athlete and reward both a Male and Female SAW Scholarship on their behalf. It's a great project for us and one that over the years has saluted a host of unbelievable young people. Please help us make sure that no deserving candidate falls through the cracks. You can print off a nomination form from our website and fill out on behalf of your Student Athlete of Choice. It only need be signed off on by either your school's Athletic Director or Principal. Our first nomination meeting is October 1st, so that is the first of five chances you will have this year to have your nominee in the mix for consideration for this extremely competitive process. As of this writing, we already have 21 quality nominees on the books for our first 12 spots and we won't meet again until December to consider our next round of nominees. Time is of the essence. And again, thanks to all of your for your support of this project. You tend to a lot of negative about young people in the nightly news. This is our chance to show what the true character of this generation is about.

      ??

      A reminder to all you social media users out there: you can follow me on Twitter ( https://twitter.com/ChrisDuerr ) for instant feedback, scores as the happen, and stories as they break in real time on Twitter. And if you are up late on Friday Night after the games, the Pigskin Party continues for KHQA on our Facebook site ( http://www.facebook.com/KHQAChrisDuerr ) We are there until Midnight delivering opinions and sharing your observations and comments on the night's action. Plus it's your chance to vote on our Star of the Week Poll, the winner of which is unveiled below every week in this column. We've got something akin to 2100 Twitter Followers and 2200 Facebook users on those specific sites, so come join the party with us. It's fun and easy and I guarantee you it will heighten your enjoyment of local sports.

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

      FOOTBALL 2012

      THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN-WEEK FIVE

      ??

      7) WILL MCROBERT, RB, Scotland County (tie)

      29 Carries, 182 Yards vs North Shelby

      ??

      ??

      6) JARROD ROCKHOLD, RB, Macomb (tie)

      18 Carries, 175 Yards, 2 TD; 2 INT vs Sherrard

      ??

      ??

      ??

      5) KENDALL KOTHE, DE, Macon

      7 Tackles, 3 QB Sacks vs Highland

      ??

      ??

      ??

      4) BOBBY GRUENLOH, DE, Palmyra

      9 Tackles, 5.5 Tackles, 1 Sack vs Louisiana

      ??

      ??

      ??

      3) BRODY GRONEWOLD, QB, Illini West

      4 of 5 Passing, 130 Yards, TD: 15 Carries, 72 Yards, TD vs Rockridge

      ??

      ??

      ??

      2) JACOB TRUMP, RB, Clark County

      19 Carries, 113 Yards, TD vs Mark Twain

      ??

      ??

      ??

      1) TRACE WINDSOR, RB, South Shelby

      28 Carries, 200 Yards, 2 TD vs Monroe City

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

      KHQA HERO OF THE WEEK

      (as voted by the fans at http://www.facebook.com/KHQAChrisDuerr)

      JUSTIN PRICE, Rover, Hannibal High School

      Another week. Another extremely tight vote on the Facebook Page with Justin Price squeaking past Palmyra Fullback Dilan Parrish in an extremely tight vote thanks to a huge push in the last four hours of polling. Fair enough. You people want me to sing the accolades of the Pirate Senior? I am too happy to oblige. And it's probably long overdue. Here's the deal, on a defense that doesn't lack for player of the year candidates, returning All Conference honorees, or guys who can just flat out (compared to other people who play their respective positions) motor: Justin Price is staging one of the more impressive late careers break outs in a while. This is two weeks in a row now Justin has made momentum monopolizing big plays that have allowed his team to put boot to throat of an opponent. A week ago against Mexico, it was an interception that broke the game wide open in setting up a Dalton Powell to Lijah Harrison TD pass (never mind the fact that Price was quietly all over the field making tackles at the Bulldogs expense.) And if you saw that interception, it was a testament to great hands, great positioning, and superb instinct. I'd argue toughness as well as Justin is getting really "selfish" in thinking that any football that enters his general vicinity belongs to him. I like that in a player. This week, Justin did the scoop and score thing from 20 yards out at the end of the first quarter to drive what was essentially the final nail into Kirksville's coffin. I can't claim any great pigskin prognostication ability here, but after watching Justin play baseball this past Spring, he did seem to be a kid with a lot to offer in the raw skills department. I have no idea what the kid's weight room numbers are, but clearly if you watch him swing a bat, he's got a lot of functional strength and terrific reflexes. And the latter is really making him a nice catalyst on Chris Nicholas defense. It's easy to get overlooked in the Caleb Bieniek/Lijah Harrison Bermuda Triangle in the back of the Pirate Defense. Price isn't. He's instead making a really nice name for himself. And given the company he is doing that in....that says an awful lot positive about Justin.

      ??

      ??

      Previous Winners:

      Week One: ANDRE REYNOLDS, Macon

      Week Two: TYLER STEINKAMP, Mark Twain

      Week Three: BROCK BUTLER, Palmyra

      Week Four: TYLER STEINKAMP, Mark Twain

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

      KHQA POWER POLL FOR WEEK SIX

      ??

      1) CLARK COUNTY (5-0)

      Last Week: 41-0 win over Mark Twain

      This Week: vs Palmyra

      THE SKINNY: The Indians took care of business in a tough spot, avoiding all the "trap game" talk with a blistering Defensive effort at Mark Twain's expense. It's a feat made more impressive when you consider that the Tigers had the hottest running back in the area coming in. Tyler Steinkamp did finish with 92 yards, no small feat against Clark County, but didn't have single a touchdown after reaching the end zone five times a week ago. But outside of Steinkamp's "scrap for every yard effort" Twain mustered just 67 yards more of combined offense and became Clark's first shutout victim of the season. And instead of Steinkamp, it was Indians Sophomore Jacob Trump who stole the show with a break out four touchdown night to help fuel the victory. Now the real fun begins for Clark County. There was a clear deliniation in terms of difficulty between the squads early season and late season schedule. Palmyra starts off a run of four red letter games to finish the regular season and I think its more than fair to say the Panthers are at least the equal of any team the Indians have seen to date. Palmyra will feature the staunchest run defense Clark's talented Offensive Line has seen to date. I think it's fair to say Bobby Gruneloh is the single best Defensive Player the Indians will have had to account for yet to date. And in my humble opinion, this is the week the Indian passing game will have to show a measure of proficiency it hasn't yet displayed this season. See also the incredibly effective game plan Kevin Miles installed for his team against Centralia; a team with some of the same offensive gifts (and perhaps soft spots) that Clark County possesses. It's a very interesting challenge for a Clark County Offense that really hasn't been tested to date (see also the teams 40 points per game scoring average) as the Panthers will do everything in their power to overload the running lanes (and mind you, having seen Palmyra twice now, I think this is a pretty good tackling squad from front to back) and force the Indian Offense to get a little uncomfortable. With an even better Centralia Defense on the immediate horizon, one that has already proven it can silence a gifted running Quarterback (just ask Brookfield's JJ Abongo) this is a true moment of truth game for Austin Egley and the Indian Offense as a chance to continue the crescendo of momentum going forward. Clark County is going to get punched in the mouth a little bit this week on Offense, for the first time this season. I can guarantee you that based on what we have seen in terms of physicality and potential from the Palmyra Defense. How do the Indians respond? I am not sure I envision an scenario where Palmyra can muster enough offense here to win this game. Clark County's Defense hits the Panthers at strength at all of their soft targets. But if Palmyra is allowed to hang around, like they did against Centralia, anything is possible. This is your litmus test on where Clark County stands. Are they a team that is capable, against a good defense, of doing what Centralia could not: in this case, punching out a gritty Palmyra team early. How Clark attends this business, I think, says a lot about how they attend an even more difficult challenge a week later. All eyes on you, CC....

      ??

      ??

      2) CONCORD TRIOPIA (5-0)

      Last Week: 50-0 win over Unity-Payson

      This Week: at CSE (KHQA GAME OF THE WEEK)

      THE SKINNY: Give the Trojans some credit here. For a team that has traditionally looked uncommonly sloppy and at times somewhat disinterested against lesser competition on Homecoming Saturday, this incarnation of Triopia football took care of its business against a gritty Unity/Payson club with great concentration and focus. Considering all the other mitigating circumstances, plus the game that is now immediately on their dashboard, I think that says a lot about the relative maturity of a team that is, for example, starting three Sophomores on its Offensive Line. Absent a second possession fumble, I thought it was a pretty clean effort for the Trojans on Saturday. Let's start with the obvious here: this is a defense that is absolutely primed and could not be better positioned for the challenge ahead. The Trojans are playing run defense, from front to back, as well as anyone in Tri State Football. Jordan Smith set the tone on the opening play with a tackle for loss. Dakota Longley did likewise one play later, and Blake Richardson and Dean Arendt cleaned up with great regularity at linebacker. From my vantage point, however, Cody Curry might have been the impressive contributor to the Defensive cause for this win. He made three really critical, momentum changing tackles in the first half that were the difference between a Mustang First Down and a Mustang punt. Given all the talent in play here, he's a kid who gets a tad overlooked. Offensively, Rich Thompson played it fairly basic. Nasty wind made it hard to throw. The prying eyes of future opponents also likely behooved the Trojan skipper to keep it fairly basic. I took two things away from my first in person viewing of the Trojan Offense. One, Matt Parker adds a much needed physical component to this running game from the fullback spot. He's a kid you really don't appreciate until you see him in person. He had a 112 yards rushing against Unity and did much of the heavy lifting. The other epiphany is that Blake Richardson may be as good a pulling guard right now as he is a Linebacker. The Trojans did some thing nice things against a Unity/Payson Defense is better than you realize. Now, lets see how the young Trojan Offensive Line handles its most compelling challenge of the season. CSE has nice size in its front three and a deep, athletic linebacker group that will provide the Trojans a mix of Front Eight talent that far exceeds anything they have seen to date. How will the young guys respond? Got a funny feeling that Brad Dixon will run blitz from everywhere and roll the dice to disrupt the Trojan running game in a particular effort to get Derek Schone north-south. Against CSE, there really isn't much opportunity to the edge. To beat the Panthers, I think you have to run the ball effectively from tackle-to-tackle...or throw it with some proficiency. Triopia is well heeled to do both....provided the line delivers. From my vantage point, it's just that simple. If the Trojans move the sticks, possess the football, and control tempo, they win this game and may do so handily. If it instead becomes a case of "the team with the most big plays wins" I don't think Triopia matches CSE's explosion and isn't well designed to play catch-up football in this kind of pressure situation. Bottom line, however it plays out, I can't wait to see it. I told you back in late July this was my favorite game on the regular season schedule and nothing has changed. And if you have a free Friday night off and don't trek to Camp Point for this, I can't help you.

      ??

      ??

      ??

      3) CENTRALIA (5-0)

      Last Week: 31-0 win over Brookfield

      This Week: at Monroe City

      THE SKINNY: In a word: wow. In could be argued that Centralia had not been particularly impressive (at least in a typical Centralia-type way) in any of its first four victories. Their fifth, however, more than makes up for lost time. Actually, if we are being truthful, it took Centralia four games and one stalled opening drive against Brookfield to finally reach Max-Q. But apparently, Jesse Arnold's 38 yard touchdown run on the first play of the Panthers second possession opened a Pandora's Box of nightmares for the Bulldogs...and perhaps every CCC Opponent left on the slate that had been hoping that maybe there were some legitimate chinks in the armor here. Based on this performance, there may not be much more room for hope. The Panthers rolled up 358 yards worth of offense and did it with relative balance. Defensively, Jason Anders (12 tackles, 8 solo stops) to spearhead a charge that held the Bulldogs to just 180 yards of total offense and stifled superb running quarterback JJ Abongo. With Austin Egley on the not to distant horizon, this was certainly a quality defensive building block going forward. And while we are on the subject of Quarterbacks, it also seems like Zach Etzler had his outing to date. All in all, Centralia seemed to find itself on Friday; just in time to exact revenge on the team that ended the Panthers 2011 campaign. Anyone thinking this might be a trap game situation for Centralia doesn't realize how seriously this football community takes its losses. The Monroe City contest has be been circled on the schedule since the game date was realized, and whether Monroe City is struggling or not right now, don't expect much in the way of mercy from Erle Bennett's group Friday night.

      ??

      ??

      ??

      ??

      4) CENTRAL-SOUTHEASTERN (5-0)

      Last Week: 56-6 win at Routt

      This Week: vs Concord Triopia (KHQA Game of the Week)

      THE SKINNY: Take nothing away from Central-Southeastern here and the quality of their efforts: but what in the world has become of Routt? Nate Graham is too good a coach and this roster has way too much talent to pony up as listless and lethargic an effort as the one the Rockets offered up in "opposition" to the Panthers Friday night. These guys looked flat done and disinterested just three series into the game. And thusly, Friday at K-R Field was little more than a glorified sparring session for the Panthers, who gave up just 82 yards of total offense against and had six different players score touchdowns in the effort. To be honest, beyond continued momentum, I don't really know what else the Panthers draw from going forward off this game. I kind of feel like the strength of this CSE Coaching staff is that they figure things out from struggle. Clearly, they did that after Week One in finessing the offense after an all out war with Carrollton. And maybe the good effects from a gritty win at Brown County would have been better in evidence on Friday had CSE had to work a little harder for their W in Jacksonville. Regardless, we now get to move forward to the game we've all been waiting a season to see. And as yet, I have not gotten a chance to watch Central-Southeastern in person, so I am excited about getting the rare chance to spend an entire Friday night at one game and watching two indisputably good teams wage war for the first time. So here are my questions I want answered from the Panthers going forward. Most pressingly, what does CSE have in the offensive arsenal when facing a Defense that doesn't surrender big plays? You know Derek Schone is going to have Dalton Heubner in his defensive radar all night and that's essentially a case of two All State caliber kids negating each other. You also know that Triopia's answer to Central-Southeastern's speed/offensive explosion is going to be to try wear down the Panthers with big, physical hitters like Richardson and Arendt. In some ways, I think this game becomes a referendum on the Panthers other Offensive Weapons. It will be a test of the CSE Offensive Line, which is facing not only good size, but a unit with legitimate Defensive Playmakers at every level. It will also be an important measure of the kids here who are second level "targets" like a Seth Leezer or Bobby Keltz. A great deal of the Trojans Defensive Gameplan will be geared entirely towards Heubner and Weese, and rightly so. Against Brown County, Bobby Keltz stepped in an became that all important counter-punching piece. Maybe he does so again here. Or maybe we get a heaping dose of Seth Leezer, who certainly doesn't lack the potential to make all kinds of plays at Quarterback. Regardless of who it is, someone has to take the pressure here off the high profile targets. If Central-Southeastern can do that, this could be a very special, happy homecoming in Camp Point on Friday Night.

      ??

      ??

      ??

      5) MACOMB (5-0)

      Last Week: 19-7 win over Sherrard

      This Week: at PGP

      THE SKINNY: They are the most "inelegant" powerhouse in Tri State Football and I use that phrase without any hint of insult to it. Macomb isn't designed to be pretty or win with panache. They aren't a team that is going to dazzle anyone with their final scores or margin of victories. Heck, the Bombers are beating opponents by an average of just nine points per night. For comparison's sake, Triopia's margin of victory is 41 points per night. Operative pharse in that sentence being "beating teams." The thing is (holy cow, I am even beginning to type like Kelly Sears talks) Macomb has the same perfect 5-0 record as all the other really gifted teams ahead of them on this list, regardless of the manner in which they have gotten there. All the Bombers do is win, play to their strengths, and beat opponents up physically on Defense. There are limitations to this club, certainly, but Macomb just keeps finding ways to mask them and turn the tempo of their games to their advantage. So much so that the Bombers are now 5-0 for the first time since 1989 to start a season. But despite trailing early, Macomb once again punched itself out of a predicament with a big night (in every sense of the word) from Jarrod Rockhold, who rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns, including an 89 yard scoring scamper to break the game open in the second half. Rockhold also posted a pair of interceptions in the Bomber secondary as well to aid a ferocious defensive cause. Brett Taylor posted 17 total tackles at Sherrard's expense and now has 92 total stops in five games, which is a ridiculously incredible work rate. The next closest guy on his team has 28 stops. Basically, better than any other team in the area to date, Macomb has been a team that has shown a demonstrable ability to fight its way out tough spots and that's lent itself to a certain confidence in this team that is allowing them to find ways to win tough games against good competition. That's a really encouraging asset to have going forward. There just isn't a whole lot of panic or fluster to be found her. Only fight.

      ??

      ??

      ??

      6) HANNIBAL (5-0)

      Last Week: 48-0 win over Kirksville

      This Week: at Fulton

      THE SKINNY: The Pirates are really making a cake walk out of the NCMC slate, having thus far outscored their conference foes 130-26 in their first three games. Put bluntly, that margin would be far worse if Mark St Clair had not been quick to pull his foot off the accelerator in those games (as early as the late 2nd Quarter in one instance) and with winless Fulton on the horizon it ain't getting any prettier anytime soon. The high points from the win over Kirksville? First and foremost, the Pirates were plus five in the turnover department at the Tigers expense, including a 20 yard scoop and score from Justin Price. Despite resting his starters in the second half, Mark St Clair had six different kids score touchdowns, allowing this team to stretch the legs of every weapon in the arsenal along the way. All Dalton Powell did was complete all five of his pass attempts for a touchdown and a 22 yard rushing score. The Pirates got their usual contributions in the ground game from Caleb Bieniek, Mitch Nichols, and in a more limited role this week, Louis Burton. More encouragingly, Jahwaun Cassidy got to break out, via an 85 yard touchdown run and build a little more confidence for the stretch run. Bottom line, the Pirates appear to gotten themselves in synch on offense in a hurry. And Defensively, Hannibal 's first teamers have proven themselves incredibly stingy. Look, no one is deluding themselves here about strength of schedule right now for the Pirates but what has been impressive is that Hannibal is using this run to get measurably better each passing week, in all three phases of the game. Maybe more than any team on this list, I look at Hannibal and I see the fewest number of places where I feel comfortable as an opponent attacking the Pirates. For lack of a better description, this is just a really tight group right now.

      ??

      ????

      ??

      7) ILLINI WEST (4-1)

      Last Week: 32-22 win over Rockridge

      This Week: at Orion

      THE SKINNY: After last year's hiccup, Illini West is starting to look its old, unflappable self again. The Chargers got down 14-0 instantly to Rockridge on Friday only come roaring back with the week's most singularly impressive victory. After giving up that initial haymaker (largely spurred by Dalton McManus Kick Off return for TD to start the Game) that Charger Defense turned up the heat, allowing just 177 total yards on the night. Kaleb Spiekermeier is really coming into his own as An All area level force on that Defensive Line and led all Chargers with nine tackles on Friday. Ben Gittings posted seven stops and procured a pair of fumbles, including a 39 yard scoop and score. Offensively, Quarterback Brody Gronewold continues to grow into more and more of a playmaker with each passing week, as he and Bryton Smith have found a nice rapport in the passing game to help better balance the attack. This is a really hard team to defend because the Chargers skill position weapons are all about roughly the same threat level. There's not a Ser Whitaker/Wyatt Green kid here who commands your attention first running the football. The Charger Backs are all, in their own unique way, capable of finding the end zone or producing a 150 yard rushing night when given the call. And the Illini West Staff is doing a great job mixing up the carries a giving foes a shot of Alex Appel's power followed by a counterpunch with say Bryton Smtih's burst. And the reason it works so well is that Illini West's Front Line has been really productive. Given the nature of Illini West's last showdown with a spread offense opponent (see also: West Hancock) I am wondering what the Charger Defense (particularly the secondary) shows going forward this week coming off that earlier trial run. Will we get another "arena league" stat sheet from IW this Friday? And are the Chargers now not entirely comfortable playing whatever style of attack you throw at them? To be honest, with everything Tim Lafferty and the Charger staff seem to be accomplishing in the teaching department (and as importantly, with a clearly motivated and well led group of kids embracing it) I am not sure there is another loss to be found on the Chargers schedule right now. Or at this rate of progress, deep into November perhaps as well.

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

      THE SECOND TIER

      ??

      8) QND (3-2)

      Point One: if there is a more physically gifted team in the Mid State Six than Peoria High, I'll eat my hat. For QND to find a way to rally back from 10 points down in the second half to this juggernaut speaks volumes about the resolve Bill Connell's kids are playing with right now. Clearly, the Helias loss was a wake up call. And clearly the Raiders have answered the bell. You are deluding yourself if you think this is a particularly gifted Raider team. Outside of an exceptional individual talent in Nick Weiman and an undeniably loaded Defensive Line, there really isn't any tangible "physical" attribute on the scouting report that will give opponents pause. But when you start throwing intangible attributes into the equation, this is a squad that becomes far more compelling than just what you see on the spread sheet of football attributes. There is a real grit to this squad that you have to experience in play. It's the way Connor Obert runs in short yardage. It's the way Joe McCaughey grows with every snap he takes at Quarterback. It's the quiet way this "undersized" QND Offensive Line fights for the extra yard. And it's the way these guys come up with big plays in key spots, be it Weiman on 4th and 14 making a catch to keep a drive alive or Zach Vahle saving the say with an unbelievable snare. The last two weeks stand as testament to this: you can challenge a lot of things about this Raider team. It's volition isn't up for debate. And that make the Raiders very dangerous indeed.

      ????

      ??

      9) JACKSONVILLE (3-2)

      Hate the injury to Bryce Schnitker, who had been playing as well as any quarterback in Tri State Football. Love Mark Grounds mission statement shortly after Schnitker broke his ankle: nothing changes but our empathy for Bryce. And after a promising debut from Zac Lonergan (younger brother of Quincy University QB Nick Lonergan) in tough circumstances, the JAX skipper is right to keep his team focused on its same goals. Absent the offensive disruption of losing your QB mid-game, the Crimsons played SHG heads up for most of the night, especially on defense where Jacksonville limited the Cyclones to 21 points and forced stop after countless stop of Ken Leonard's high powered offense. If the Crimsons summon that kind of resolve on Defense every week forward, there aren't many 5A teams out there who can beat them. And there's nothing to suggest here that Zac Lonergan, especially with a week's preparation, won't keep this offense just as promise. Sell off this stock at your own peril. I thought more of the Crimsons in a loss this week than I did of a number of the teams on this list who won.

      ??

      ??

      10) BEARDSTOWN (4-1)

      Any win is a good win, especially in a rivalry game, but Rushville-Industry gave the Tigers everything they could handle on Friday night and that was a little disconcerting for a team that previously had looked so very sharp. Notably, the Tigers had a tremendous issue with genorosity, giving the ball back to the Rockets five times, including a pair of interceptions from Austin Jones. Those turnovers took a game that the Tigers statistically dominated (439 yard for-109 yards against) and turned it unneccessarily into a nail biter. Bubba Patterson and Gus Vermillion (2 TD) each rushed for over 135 yards in the contest with the Tiger Quarterback adding two rushing TD to the cause. We will consider this a good wake up call for Beardstown and an opportunity for Aaron Elmore to tidy up the miscues a bit in practice this week, before they prove fatal.

      ??

      ??

      11) PALMYRA (3-2)

      Arguably, the hottest "mid-level" team in the area right now and one posed with an opportunity to break into the top echeleon of area football if they can find a way to upset Clark County this week. The Panthers clearly have the defensive weaponry to do so as Kevin Miles crew has developed a really finishing instinct on that side of the football. See also the fact that Bobby Gruenloh had a whopping five and a half tackles for loss against Louisiana; spearheading a team effort that saw the Panthers knock down Louisiana ball carriers 13 times in their own offensive backfield. This is a team that gets great penetration and disrupts. We find out Friday if the Panther Offense is ready to follow suit. There are encouraging signs there as well: Brock Butler's play making ability, the wonderful dynamic presented by the Dilan Parrish/Caleb Kizer "Thunder and Lightning" run game. Doing it against Louisiana is one thing. It's time for the Panther Offense to prove they can muster the same production against an Elite D. The Panthers failed to do so in Week Two vs Centralia. Here's a golden opportunity here to make some hay for P-Town against a Clark D that I think sets the area standard. Palmyra has come a long ways and if the Offense is truly ready to raise its level and show that it can translate some of those recent flashes of goodness into consistent production, an upset isn't totally unthinkable this weekend in Kahoka.

      ??

      ??

      12) SOUTH SHELBY (3-2)

      We've seen all different manner of performances from the Cardinals over these first five games of the season. A 26-14 win Friday over Monroe City is probably the one that rings truest to what we thought this team would be. The Cardinals were proficient on the ground again behind Trace Windsor (200 yards, 2 TD) and showed some passing game balance behind David Heathman. And the Defense was generally strong, but surrendered a couple of big plays. There is real potential on this Cardinal Defense brewing, by the way. South had four guys with week with 11 or more tackles, including the rising Jacob Trivette (again.) I think what we saw this week was largely "the book" on South going into this campaign. Now lets see what Rob Wilt does to improve the scenario after five games. As we saw last year, what South does in the regular season is largely a set up for the District. And I think this team will again, considering the competition it has seen, will be well heeled for the road ahead, provided the Cardinals keep everyone healthy.

      ??

      ??

      ??

      13) QUINCY HIGH (2-3)

      The good news Offensively from the Alleman game is that the Blue Devils won't have to see the Pioneers again this season. And that Malique Robbins is back and slated to start against Moline Friday Night. Listening to that contest, I did not think the Blue Devils Defense played poorly; they were just stuck on the field too long. Time is short for righting the ship if the Blue Devils still harbor playoff hopes; essentially making Friday's home game a must win for those of you tracking the numbers.

      ??

      ??

      ??

      14) KEOKUK (2-3)

      A one time 14-10 first half lead snow-balled into a 51-21 defeat for the Chiefs at Washington, putting Doug Dodds team essentially in must win territory (at least in District games) the rest of the way to keep their playoff hopes alive. To his credit, Matt Nye did a nice job stepping in for injured running back Trevor Roth with 119 rushing yards. Gabe Vandenberg had 236 yards passing. The Chiefs just could not seem to get the plays they need in key spots to convert drives into scores. And Keokuk's defense took a step backwards.

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

      THE NEXT LEVEL

      ??

      15) MACON

      16) WEST CENTRAL

      17) MARK TWAIN

      18) CLOPTON-ELSBERRY

      19) WEST CENTRAL

      20) BROWN COUNTY

      21) KNOX COUNTY

      22) WEST HANCOCK

      23) BOWLING GREEN

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

      2012 KHQA MIDWAY FOOTBALL AWARDS

      COACHING

      Illinois Midway Coach of the Year:

      KELLY SEARS, Macomb

      It's a pretty wide open applicant pool here with Rich Thompson and Brad Dixon still wielding perfect records, Tim Lafferty on the verge of returning Illini West to the pointy end of the food chain, and Bill Connell having reversed the course of his team's season in two stunning weeks. Compelling candidates all. I'll take the Bomber Boss and won't look back. His team is 5-0, warts and all. The Bombers have won with injury question marks, a freshman quarterback, and easily discernible design flaws. Any one of those circumstances is usually a harbinger of defeat. But in this case, the Bombers have overcome their depth issues, coached up and gotten beyond his years play from Jacob Poore, and most impressively, turned every game into a referendum on physicality. Winning ugly has never looked prettier. Kudos to the Mayor of Bluffs and his staff on a job well done.

      ????

      ??

      Missouri/Iowa Midway Coach of the Year:

      QUENTIN HAMNER, Clark County

      I'll concede that the strength of schedule doesn't match what either Erle Bennett or Mark St Clair (each also 5-0 at this point) have faced to date, but the Indians have attended their business every week, gotten better in all three phases of the game, and lived up to the enormous hype the dummies in the media (read: this guy) have shackled them with in the Preseason Rankings. The more obvious litmus test is this: look at something about the Indians body of work to date and tell me what hits you as a nagging concern? I don't see it either. Bigger tests loom, obviously, and awards are generally decided by such things. But at this point in the grading scale, you can't do much better than an A+.

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

      OFFENSE

      Illinois Midway Offensive Player of the Year:

      DALTON HEUBNER, Central Southeastern

      Coy Dorothy has been statistically ridiculous. Nick Weiman may be the single best "all around" football player on this side of the state. And Jarrod Rockhold is a gathering storm. But at this precise moment, Dalton Heubner is the unquestioned straw that stirs the drink in Western Illinois Football. For lack of a better comparison, the Panther Speedster is putting up Ashton Gronewold type numbers and that doesn't happen very often. He's got 715 yards and 11 touchdowns in five games...and that stat is deflated significantly by the fact that got just two carries against a struggling Routt Defense a week ago as Brad Dixon did his best not to show a measure of mercy to the Rockets. Here's the clincher for me: Dalton is averaging better than 15 yards a carry to this point, on an undefeated team no less. And Triopia's stout defense may be the only thing standing between Dalton and running away to hide with this award. Just one more compelling reason to love Friday's matchup

      ??

      ??

      ??

      Missouri/Iowa Midway Offensive Player of the Year:

      DALTON POWELL, Hannibal

      You can throw numbers at me until you are blue in the face, you won't change my mind that Powell is the single most important and valuable cog West of the Mississippi at this point. He's not going to put up huge stats, given the diverse nature of Mark St Clair's Offense. But he's good enough to beat you with his feet, his arm, and most importantly his head and his charisma at any given moment and he's got five wins to prove it. Dalton's leadership ability and field diagnosis is absurd. He orchestrates an offense that hasn't been held under 30 points in a game this season, is averaging better than 39 points a night. And he proved his mettle by marshalling the Pirates to improbable comeback wins over both QND and Quincy High. You got someone creating a more meaningful, tangible impact than that out there, I haven't seen him.

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

      DEFENSE

      ??

      Illinois Midway Defensive Player of the Year:

      BRETT TAYLOR, Macomb

      He is the unquestioned player of gravity on a Defense that is 5-0 and is the most relentless Tri State tackler I've seen in 17 years, Bryce Johnston included. Sorry, but I am not sure this one is even up for debate. Not at an average of 18 tackles per contest. Nick Weiman may be the only viable alternative and even his terrific work hasn't yielded to date the tangible dominance Taylor has. There are a host of really good kids here you could consider if Taylor weren't around. But unfortunately for them, from a time standpoint, Brett is most definitely here. He is nothing short of the real deal and an absolute joy to watch work.

      ??

      ??

      ??

      Missouri/Iowa Midway Defensive Player of the Year:

      BOBBY GRUENLOH, Palmyra

      The most competitive race on the board and maybe the best overall crop of candidates. Clark County's Defensive Ends belong at the top of this conversation. Centralia has two Linebackers and a Defensive Back who have been producing at obscene levels. And of course, Caleb Bieniek is still drawing breath in America's Hometown and he is the very Standard by which Defensive Players in our area are measured. But lets take one moment here to put Bobby Gruenloh's season in perspective. He has shifted the paradigm in the Flower City in way that maybe only Bieniek can match. He may be a polarizing figure but take Gruenloh away from Palmyra and the Defense falls off in a way that I don't think you can replicate. Lose Ross in Kahoka, you still have Kovar. God forbid Arnold or Kinkead go down in Centralia, there is still Jason Anders as a safety net. Bieniek and Gruenloh are the most irreplaceable weapons in Northeast Missouri and I'd argue that Bieniek, as great as he is, has more to work with than Gruenloh does. Again, this may not stick and Bieniek is still your favorite at season's end to hoist this award (again.) But for right now, Gruenloh deserves the spotlight for putting Palmyra on his shoulders and helping usher this rebuild, with younger players discovering in his wake the toughness it takes to pull a program out of its malaise.

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

      ASSORTED MIDWAY AWARDS

      Best Game: QND AT PEORIA NOTRE DAME

      Best Individual Performance by a Quarterback: COY DOROTHY, West Hancock vs MMA

      Best Individual Performance by a Running Back: TYLER STEINKAMP, Mark Twain vs Lousiana

      Best Individual Performance by a Wide Receiver: DARRION SANDERS, Keokuk vs Fairfield

      Best Breakout Player: LOGAN PREWITT, Clark County

      Best Freshman: BRICE FIFER, South Shelby

      Best Sophomore: JORDAN SMITH, Concord Triopia

      Best Hit: ALEX APPEL, Illini West vs Macomb

      Best Emerging Quarterback: GUS VERMILLION, Beardstown

      Best Emerging Running Back: TRACE WINDSOR, South Shelby

      Best Emerging Wide Receiver/Tight End: BLAKE HANCE, Jacksonville

      Best Emerging Offensive Lineman: GABE MEGGINSON, Jacksonville

      Best Emerging Defensive Lineman: JACOB TRIVETTE, South Shelby

      Best Emerging Linebacker: KENNY LITTLE, PGP

      Best Emerging Defensive Back: JASON ANDERS, Centralia

      Most Underrated Quarterback: CRAIG SMITH, Macon

      Most Underrated Running Back: IKE WHITAKER, PGP

      Most Underrated Receiver/Tight End: BRYCE BAXTER, Keokuk

      Most Underrated Offensive Lineman: TREY KOTHE, Macon

      Most Underrated Defensive Lineman: BRADEN DAMON, Pleasant Hill/Western

      Most Underrated Linebacker: CHRIS SPARKS, Highland

      Most Underrated Defensive Back: PARKER SCHUTTE, Quincy High

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

      CSE VS TRIOPIA.....TALE OF THE TAPE

      QUARTERBACK: Seth Leezer is talented but largely unproven on the big stage, especially in a game where a specific play, throw hinges on him. Tanner Huddleston may be the coolest customer of any Quarterback in Tri State Football. ADVANTAGE: TRIOPIA

      RUNNING GAME: Triopia boasts a legit franchise back in Derek Schone, an emerging powerback in Matt Parker and a legit scatback in Cody Curry. Love the Trojans depth and potential going forward here but I am not taking anyone over Heubner/Weese combo right now. And Bobby Keltz is an interesting Sleeper in this mix. ADVANTAGE: CSE

      PASSING GAME: Neither coach goes to the air with much regularity, but if push comes to shove, Huddleston is a more known commodity and on the right day, eminently capable of a 200 yard passing effort. ADVANTAGE: TRIOPIA

      OFFENSIVE LINE: Experience favors CSE on paper. Don't know how much I am buying that argument. Jordan Smith is a Sophomore but he may be the most physical and imposing 1A Lineman in the state of Illinois. And Blake Richardson is a tremendous weapon pulling out in front of a back or playing personal protector. The safe play here is to bank on savvy veterans cut from the Drew Miller/Logan Myers cloth. I just don't see much disparity of talent between the two units, despite the disparity in age. And neither did Brown County, truth be told. ADVANTAGE: PUSH

      DEFENSIVE LINE: From what I have seen, Central-Southeastern's Defensive Line is more steady and consistent, keeping the team's outstanding linebackers clean. Triopia's Defensive Line is more boom or bust. When Dakota Longely brings it, he is nasty off the edge and the Trojans got great interior push against Unity from Jordan Smith. This is the X-factor for Triopia. If Andy Phelps can get his kids upfield and into the backfield to disrupt flow and force force Weese and Heubner to got east/west rather than north/south, that is a huge advantage for Triopia. I think this a battle Triopia has to win. Will it? Remains to be seen. ADVANTAGE: PUSH

      LINEBACKER: Blake Richardson is the best Linebacker in this game, and that is saying a mouthful given the quality of kids on both sides of the ball. Dean Arendt is the X-factor here for Triopia and his physicality could allow the Trojan Backers to stand up and slow down an imposing CSE O-Line with the equivalent of an extra Defensive Tackle (at least strength wise.) Brad Dixon has a decided advantage here in Speed and Depth and this is really the place the Panthers hang their hat. And with the guys in the mix they have 1-7 right now, they should. I'd happily take any Linebacker on my team Dixon would be willing to give me. He's coached this bunch up right. ADVANTAGE: CSE

      DEFENSIVE BACK: Derek Schone plays here. ADVANTAGE: TRIOPIA

      INTANGIBLES: Homecoming and Homefield Advantage loom large. Big game experience, two coaches with State Championship rings, and a seething desire to prove that West Central Conference pedigree isn't any more impressive than WIVC North bloodlines loomes larger. ADVANTAGE: TRIOPIA.

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

      FEARLESS PREDICTIONS

      Last Week: 16 of 18 (88.8%)

      Season to Date: 75 of 88 (87.2%)

      ??

      MOLINE 14

      QUINCY HIGH 21

      ??

      ??

      QND 28

      IVC 8

      ??

      ??

      JACKSONVILLE 28

      SPRINGFIELD 20

      ??

      ??

      ROUTT 7

      BROWN COUNTY 35

      ??

      ??

      ??

      TRIOPIA 24

      CSE 18

      ??

      ISD 6

      UNITY/PAYSON 48

      ??

      ??

      ??

      ILLINI WEST 48

      ORION 28

      ??

      ??

      ??

      MACOMB 27

      PGP 14

      ??

      ??

      ??

      ??

      KNOXVILLE 18

      BEARDSTOWN 28

      ??

      ??

      ??

      HANNIBAL 50

      FULTON 6

      ??

      ??

      ??

      CENTRALIA 36

      MONROE CITY 6

      ??

      ??

      ??

      PALMYRA 12

      CLARK COUNTY 21

      ??

      ??

      ??

      SOUTH SHELBY 20

      BROOKFIELD 28

      ??

      ??

      ??

      MARK TWAIN 21

      HIGHLAND 6

      ??

      ??

      ??

      MACON 36

      LOUISIANA 6

      ??

      ??

      KEOKUK 38

      OSKALOOSA 14

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

      RANDOM MUSINGS

      Congratulations to BPCA Alum Trey Yocum, who scored his 34th career rushing touchdown last Saturday to become Monmouth College's All Time Career leader in that category, breaking a 35 year old school record in the offing. Trey is also your Midwest Conference Offensive Player of the Week. Yocum if you got 'em, my friends in Trey's honor.

      Quincy Notre Dame product Chip Holtschlag had 4 tackles, including a stop and half for loss and a Quarterback hurry, in Western Illinois 23-3 loss to Illinois State on Saturday.

      Illinois College Sophomore Michael Bates is currently your Midwest Conference leader in Passing Efficiency and Total Yardage through three games. The Blueboys host Lawrence on Saturday.

      While Zac Lonergan gets his first career Quarterback start for the Jacksonville Crimsons on Friday, he might not be the only member of the family making his signal calling debut as a starter this weekend, based on the rumblings I am hearing.

      I have Quincy High's Blake Herman, unofficially, for 21 goals and 11 assists so far this season in 14 games. If that isn't an All State resume, I am not sure what qualifies. That being said, nice to see Jason Ebbing step up in the back of the Blue Devil Defense and solidify the Keeper situation. QHS goes as far as its Defense will take it postseason.

      Good to see the return this weekend of QND Soccer standout Taylor Reis, who made his debut with a game winning assist against Jacksonville. Taylor has been suffering lower back issues and is playing in a contraption that can best be described as a midieval torture device to give him stability. Amazingly, he could not only play in a device that had to make breathing difficult, but that he could come back so quickly with so little rust. You'd be hard pressed to find a better soccer facilitator in recent years than Taylor, who makes art with his passes.

      The undefeated Quincy High Volleyball team continues to climb in the MaxPreps National Volleyball Rankings. Barb Crist's crew is now rated 15th in the country in that Power Poll, up 15 spots from a week ago and destroying all comers at 18-0. Fun team to watch if you have a random Tuesday night open.

      The Liberty Lady Eagles snare top honors this week at the Central Tournament. Is there an argument developing here for Dawn Vancamp as the Girls Volleyball Coach of the year? This is a team that didn't come into the 2012 campaign with much advanced hype nor a true superstar player. Nevertheless, the Eagles are thriving within a team concept and are nine games over .500 as we speak. And kids like Katy Claus, Madelyn Hyer, and Courtney Klingele are starting barge into the area consciousness. If coaching is the measure of progress a team makes from Point A to Point B, Dawn Vancamp is doing as strong a job as anyone right now.

      Many of you saw the video of the Hannibal Volleyball Squad playing "freeze tag" in warm-ups on OVERTIME. Got a text from somebody this weekend suggesting that maybe Mark St Clair do likewise with his football team. I shot back that while Tessa Bieniek playing Tag was good, clean fun; injecting her brother Caleb Bieniek into any such competitive tag scenario would likely result in an Emergency Room visit for any and all of his opponents. Some ideas are better relegated to non-contact sports.

      Quincy High Basketball standout Ariaya Dade has verbally committed to play college basketball at for Norm Rodriguez at John Wood next season.

      Macomb's Bryce Carper bested Rockridge standout Dylan Daxon by a single stroke on Wednesday to earn West Central Conference Medalist honors for the third year in a row. Carper's 71 also powered the Bombers to a team title, three strokes better than Rockridge. Keep an eye on emerging Bomber Freshman Joe Burke, whose 83 in bad conditions on Wednesday, helped seal the deal on a title.

      Southeastern's Dakota Limkemann took medalist honors in Rock Island for the Girls WCC Title. She punctuated her win by holing out for an Eagle two to complete the 10 over par 82 on the day. The Central Lady Panthers took top team honors.