85
      Tuesday
      91 / 70
      Wednesday
      91 / 70
      Thursday
      90 / 71

      This Way to the Great Egress (Duerrisms for October 18th)

      Coming off a strange, soggy seven days of local sporting playoff fun... this is Duerrisms for the Week of October 18th. Our thanks to the good people at GAMEMASTERS for their patronage and support of this column.

      We are a little shorter this week than usual. Blame in on the grind. Your Friendly Neighborhood Sports Team has been putting in long hours and a great deal of travel time.

      These next three weeks are some of the busiest and most entertaining of the calendar year. Lots of travel. Plenty of drama. And hopefully a few State Championships coming back our direction when it's all said and done. And maybe we will have a little better luck than we did last weekend, when a driving rain storm ruined what should have been extensive State Golf Coverage from Bloomington and Decatur. Nevertheless, that is one Fall Sports Season completely in the books and now we turn our full attentions this week to Palmyra and Knox County Softball and the quest for state berths for the Quincy High, QND, and Macomb Soccer Squads. And a week a later, we fling ourselves fully into Volleyball/Football meltdown mode. If you are not already, this is a good time to add OVERTIME to your weekend ritual as its about to become required viewing for local sports fans with thirty minutes of nothing but local highlights, scores, and stories. You can catch us on KHQA CBS at 10:30pm every Saturday Night or on the 5:30pm rebroadcast on Sunday at KHQA ABC if you missed it the first time around.

      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 2200 Twitter Followers and 2300 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.

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      KHQA STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE WEEK presented by CELL TECH, PETERS HEATING and AIR, and SUBWAY

      Now in its eighth year of existence, the KHQA Student Athlete of the Week Award celebrates the best and brightest examples of achievement in Tri State Athletics. Every Wednesday Night at 6:00pm, we will profile a deserving senior selected from a pool of applicants by our independent nominating committee. It's a look beyond just their highlights into the mindset and determination that make these young men and women successful in all that they do; a reminder to all of you just how much good there is out there to be celebrated in this generation. And at year's end, we will once again award scholarships to the top boys and girls scholar athletes in our area.

      If you know of a deserving senior who sports a minimum 3.5 GPA, please contact your high school athletic director and have them fill out a form on that student's behalf. Or help expedite the process yourself by printing a nomination form from our website (which can be found on the Student Athlete of the Week Page) and turning it in to your local athletic director so that they can submit it to us. Our next nominating session is in Early December, at which point we will pick 12 more honorees from the pool of seniors. The window of opportunity to nominate a deserving applicant is closing fast. We don't want to miss anyone in the process and sincerely hope you will help us out in that spirit.

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      2013 HONOREES

      Week One: DALTON POWELL, Hannibal High Football/Basketball/Baseball

      Week Two: INDIA GREEN, Quincy High Volleyball

      Week Three: JILL HARRIS, Beardstown Softball/Volleyball/Basketball

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      Past Scholarship Winners

      2012: ALEX WALTER, Central High (Augustana College)

      TORI KUHN, Quincy Notre Dame (Lindenwood College)

      2011: JACOB CONLEY, Central High (U.S. Military Academy at West Point)

      DAKOTA FLESNER, Payson Seymour (John Wood Community College)

      2010: MICHAEL LAFFERTY, Illini West (Monmouth College)

      TAYLOR BAXTER, Palmyra (Illinois State)

      2009: MATT PATTERSON, South Shelby (Truman State)

      CHLOE BARNES, Quincy Notre Dame (Ball State University)

      2009: LUKE GUTHRIE, Quincy High (University of Illinois)

      2007: KATELYN BASTERT, Illini West (Duke University)

      2006: MIKAL BENECOMO, Clopton (Southeast Missouri State)

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      FOOTBALL 2012

      THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN-WEEK EIGHT

      7) TEL DYE, DB, Macon

      14 Tackles, 5 Solo Stops vs Brookfield

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      6) BEN GITTINGS, FB/LB, Illini West

      12 Tackles; 11 Carries, 148 Yards, 3 TD vs Sherrard

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      5) TANNER HUDDLESTON, QB, Concord Triopia

      6 of 7 Passing, 179 Yards, 3 TD; 35 Yard Rushing TD vs Pleasant Hill

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      4) CHRIS JACKSON, RB, Scotland County

      13 Carries, 177 Yards, 4 TD vs Putnam County

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      3) COY DOROTHY, QB, West Hancock

      30 of 38 Passing, 382 Yards, 6 TD vs Princeton

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      2) GABE VANDENBERG, QB, Keokuk

      13 of 15 Passing, 374 Yards, 5 TD vs Mount Pleasant

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      1) AUSTIN EGLEY, QB, Clark County

      18 Carries, 252 Yards, 4 TD vs South Shelby

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      KHQA STAR OF THE WEEK

      (As voted by you the fans on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KHQAChrisDuerr )

      BRADY LONG, Brown County

      The Hornet Faithful make it three straight weeks for one of their own and back to back wins for their rising Franchise Back. And to be honest, Brady's efforts in Week Eight were the most worthy yet of such status.

      The Speedster opened his night with a stellar 62 yard run which saw him literally run into contact 40 yards field, then make the kid who was "tackling" him look ridiculous by simply evaporating out of his grasp. It would be the first of four touchdown scrambles for Long in a night that helped keep the Hornets playoff hopes alive and well. Not to mention the fact that the guy carved up Greenfield for a career best 214 yards on just 13 total carries; or roughly 16 plus yards a touch. That is, to steal a phrase, progress you can believe in. The kid has developed a really nice "big play" instinct for an offense that earlier this season seemed in dire need of a big stage player. I think Tom Little has found his guy. Brady is one of those kids who is putting together quite a resume of big moment contributions that are helping breathe new life into a team that at one point looked at risk to run off the rails. Suffice it to say, Brady Long is filling a much needed void for the Hornets and their recent successes speak volumes about the young man and his contributions.

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      Previous Winners:

      Week One: ANDRE REYNOLDS, Macon

      Week Two: TYLER STEINKAMP, Mark Twain

      Week Three: BROCK BUTLER, Palmyra

      Week Four: TYLER STEINKAMP, Mark Twain

      Week Five: JUSTIN PRICE, Hannibal

      Week Six: ADAM VEITH, Brown County

      Week Seven: BRADY LONG, Brown County

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      KHQA POWER POLL FOR WEEK EIGHT

      1) CLARK COUNTY (8-0)

      Last Week: 41-32 win over South Shelby

      This Week: vs Brookfield

      THE SKINNY: For the first time this season, the Indians actually found themselves trailing an opponent at the half. Word of South Shelby's 20-14 lead at the half really didn't generate much of a "Twitter Buzz" however. For one thing, Quincy Notre Dame's collapse on Friday monopolized nuch if not all of the social media "shock value" out there. And secondly, I think people hold South Shelby in pretty high regard as an opponent. As I intimated here last week, this was going to be a tough spot for the Indians coming off an emotional win over Centralia and going back on the road to play a talented, supremely well coached football team. And for 24 minutes, Rob Wilt's gameplan worked perfectly, as Quarterback David Heathman and Option Pass Weapon Alex Blackford (not to mention a talented receiving corps) generated some success against a Indians Secondary that really had not been tested to this level to this point. The measure of a team, however, is how it adjusts. And for the second week in a row, the Indians answered the bell both emotionally and physically. Clark County's Battering Ram of an Offensive Line eventually wore down a young Cardinals Defense and by the end of the night, the Indians had amassed some 355 yards on the ground. This begs an interesting question: when it comes time for All Conference accord, which Indian Offensive Lineman gets jobbed on First Team honors? There is a compelling argument to be made for all five of those guys up front given the season's they've had. And maybe the greater legacy to their achievements right now is that Austin Egley has probably pulled into the lead for Player of the Year honors after his tour de force 252 yard, four touchdown effort on Friday. There is no single bigger Offensive Game Changer in Tri State Football right now. And before the defensive hand wringing begins over the 32 points Clark allowed, lets also remember this is a unit that looked far more leg weary than usual after last week's war with Centralia. Two weeks in a row against two quality opponent was bound to take its toll. And this is a nice game film for Quentin Hamner to get to evaluate, since he can now clean up some of the issues in his secondary from it. To win a state championship, the Indians are likely going to have to beat a good passing team or two along the way. And as Friday proved, a superior pass rush alone isn't going to be enough to guarantee that. I like the way the schedule has given Clark County this nifty little gauntlet to run headed into Districts. More than that, I really like the way the Indians are responding to the haymakers being thrown their direction. I told someone this week that Clark County was the team in Tri State Football I felt that you could most count on every Friday to give you four quarters of effort in all phases of the game. And even against better competition (perhaps especially because of better opponents) I have seen nothing to shake my faith.

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      2) CENTRAL-SOUTHEASTERN (8-0)

      Last Week: 42-0 win over North Greene

      This Week: vs Calhoun

      THE SKINNY: For a team that at times had shown so much forward potential this season, Friday was a definite step backwards for North Greene. The Spartans had no answer for CSE's swarming, defensive speed and essentially withered and died under the barrage of endless punches the Panthers threw. If this had been a boxing match, the compubox stats would have read like there was only one opponent in the ring. Say whatever you want about CSE's considerable stable of running backs. Ultimately, the Panthers viablity as a State Contender is based on its calling card defense. The Panthers held North Greene to 13 total yards of offense and stifled the Spartan running game by holding it to negative 19 yards on the night. Again, these numbers against at team that was legitimately trending towards five wins and a playoff berth. It's a great collective on this Hornet Defense. The Big Three up front continue to generate production. Drew Miller, who wasn't really projected as a pass rushing threat earlier in his career, continues to show the benefits of a great off-season workout regimen and record his fourth and fifth sacks of the season against the Spartans. Austin Rossiter posted his third game of eight or more tackles as well, which is really nice production for a Defensive Lineman. The Linebackers continue to dominate. Jared Starman had eight tackles this week. Douglas Weese continue to be a destructive catalyst unleashed and might be the Tri State's most effective rover type player with a team high nine stops against North Greene. And Dalton Heubner posted his third and fourth interceptions of the season, extending his stranghold on his schools all time career record. Granted, the Panthers did score 42 points with great balance this week but I contend that the CSE Defense is (and should be) generating more ink. Brad Dixon has really done a phenomenal job honing and shaping this unit from Week One to now. And I would suggest that Friday night's effort may be as close to a perfect execution of a Defensive Gameplan as Dixon has seen in his days in Camp Point. Scarier still, the CSE Defense seems to be getting better by the week. At this rate, good luck trying to find points against this group come November.

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      3) HANNIBAL (8-0)

      Last Week: 28-8 win over Marshall

      This Week: at Helias (Saturday)

      THE SKINNY: Another week. Another stellar second half from the Pirates, who wrap up an NCMC crown by virtue of a gritty road win at Marshall. Caleb Bieniek showed up huge on both sides of the ball, posting 10 tackles and an interception defensively while rushing for 69 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Mitch Nichols also added 69 rushing yards and two touchdowns as well. And Dalton Powell bounced back from an off-week against Moberly and completed seven of his nine passes for 145 yards. And so here we are with the Pirates an imperfectly perfect 8-0 on the season. They've found ways to both confound and astound us this season, often within the same game. And to be honest, I am not sure we've seen the best the Pirates have to offer us yet; at least for a sustained, consecutive four quarters. Now would be a good time to do so. Helias might be the best 4-4 team in the nation, considering the unbelievable schedule they have played to date. Last week's 42-14 loss came at the hands of CBC team that Assistant Coach Jim Coniglio told me was as talented as any he's ever seen on tape. Have no illusions about it: the Crusaders at Adkins Stadium are a tall order. The Pirates will have to defend the entire field against a balanced Crusader attack, which will put the spotlight directly on Hannibal's Linebackers. This will be their litmus test, especially given the physicality of the Crusader Offensive Line. Hannibal has done a rock solid job in pass defense this season and I tend to think they are well heeled for the challenge that Wyatt Porter presents. I also think with Bieniek and Lijah Harrison in the back, opposing Wide Receivers tend to get Alligator arms rather quickly. It is imperative that Pirates are equally physical and successful then against the run. I also tend to think this could be a real statement game for the Hannibal Offensive Line, which I have been really impressed with this season. They haven't gotten as much acclaim as say, Clark County, but when the Pirates are going well, they find do a great job clearing traffic and creating opportunity. Again, Helias is a physical team up front with a future Division One recruit in the mix in Hale Hentges. This is a big stage for the guys up front and on paper, they certainly appear to be equal to the task. Anxious to watch it play out in the trenches. Hannibal is one win away from a perfect 9-0 run through this season, which may be one of the more remarkable coaching jobs Mark St Clair has turned in his career. I am not betting against them.

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      4) ILLINI WEST (7-1)

      Last Week: 50-21 win at Sherrard

      Next Week: vs Monmouth/Roseville

      THE SKINNY: The Charger game started so late on Friday (and we were so otherwise busy) that I never got to listen to any of the radio broadcast of the big road win. I did talk to some Hancock County people in the know afterwards who walked away from the Sherrard win expressing both some real positives from the Charger win and some lingering defensive concerns. I talked to someone Monday whose opinion I respect who told me in no uncertain terms that the Chargers will go in the playoffs as far as Quarterback Brody Gronewold will take them. Right now, that appears to be a very good horse to bet. Gronewold had an 88 yard touchdown run against Sherrard and hit Ethan Neally for 53 yard touchdown pass. Ben Gittings also produced a monster game on both sides of the football with team highs in rushing yards (148) and tackles (12) against the Tigers. The IW Defense also generated three key turnovers (two by Bryton Smith, including a botched Sherrard lateral returned for touchdown as well as a Nolan Ard interception) in creating some distance. On paper, all of this looks very encouraging right now and (to reiterate the point from last week) Illini West is a team that seems to be very much on the rise. That expressed, Friday's game with red hot Monmouth Roseville will give us a much truer compass on the Charger Defense and some of the niggling concerns that people still have about that unit. To wit, the Titans just overpowered fourth ranked St Joe Ogden on Saturday and watched now fully-healthy feature back Martel Hunter score 5 touchdowns in the process in doing so. The West Central Conference's most explosive offensive weapon appears to be at the height of his powers and the Titans are a team that suddenly scares everyone in the state. It can be argued this is the most daunting test the Chargers have faced yet this season and a unique statement game going forward. How the IW Defense attends its business against Hunter and friends will say alot about its confidence level/viablity headed into the Playoffs. Might just be the most compelling, entertaining game in a week full of pretty good finales.

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      5) TRIOPIA (7-1)

      Last Week: 51-0 win over Pleasant Hill/Western

      This Week: vs North Greene

      THE SKINNY: Hard to quibble with a team that rolls up 563 yards of total offense on the road while surrending just 101 in return. Good to see Derek Schone back up to his old tricks after resting his ailing shoulder last week. The All State candidate caught an 80 yard touchdown pass from Tanner Huddleston in the first quarter to spur the onslaught. Tremendous game as well for the aforementioned THUDD who was near flawless throwing the football for 179 yards and three touchdowns while also producing a 35 yard touchdown run to open the game. And if you are wondering, in the wake of the loss to CSE, the Trojans have outscored their last two opponents now 101-6. Maybe that loss at Camp Point was the best thing that could have happened to the Trojans as Rich Thompson and Andy Phelps have seemed to use it as the right kind of wake up call for some of the Trojans younger contributors. The Trojans will be hosting a desperate Spartan team Friday; one that must pull off the upset of Triop to become playoff eligible. They way Triop is playing angry right now, not sure that bodes at all well for North Greene. If all plays out, hard to find a better one-loss 1A team in the state of Illinois going into the playoffs.

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      6) CENTRALIA (7-1)

      Last Week: 49-0 win over Lousiana

      This Week: at Macon

      THE SKINNY: My favorite rivalry game of the season is far more intriguing than originally thought. You can thank Pete Claas and his gritty Macon Tigers for that. The Chair Game has taken on some luster thanks to the rise of a sensational (and fairly young) Tiger Defense and a group of kids in stripes who refused to let soap opera type adversity surrounding a couple of players (now out of the picture) impact their year. Suffice it to say, this will be no picnic on the road for Erle Bennett's crew. Then again, there is little question the Panthers undivided focus right now. Centralia responded to a streak busting loss to Clark County by dropping 49 first half points on the Louisiana Bulldogs on Friday. The Panther defense limited Louisiana to just 58 total yards. Austin Kinkead and Zach Etzler each scored a pair of touchdowns on the night in what was a very balanced effort before the Panthers shut it down for the night. Just a very complete, very quick effort. I suspect we will see a goodly amount of Defense played on both sides of the ledger Friday night at Hugh Dunn Field in a game that may lack the advanced hype of last year's Chair Game, but could very well resemble it in total scoring output. I am not totally convinced Macon has enough offense to win this game, but I do think the Tiger Defense will give Centralia an A level test on that side of the ball. The Tigers are allowing just 12 points per game against this season and have gotten terrific play from the Defensive Line and Linebacking groups. Macon has posted 15 quarterback sacks as a team this season and is designed in a manner that could prove disruptive against Zach Etzler. Thusly, I think this is a real statement game for the Centralia Offensive Line heading into Districts.

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      7) MACOMB (7-1)

      Last Week: 20-6 loss to Rockridge

      This Week: vs QND (KHQA GAME OF THE WEEK)

      THE SKINNY: Had a weird feeling last week that Macomb's number might be up. I did not, however, project Rockridge to hold the Macomb Offense to just six points, seven first downs and 180 yards of total offense. Nearly a third of that total, mind you, came on a single 54 yard Eli Cousins touchdown rumble. It doesn't quite jibe with the identity that Macomb has established for the first seven weeks of the season in being a a ball-control, beat you up in the trenches team with a powerhouse offensive line. I suspect after watching tape (although our highlights were limited due to the late start) that it was just a really flat night, for the Bomber OL in particular. Inexplicably, those things sometimes happen when you are talking 17 and 18 year old kids. By the same token, that was probably the least impressive we've seen a group of that talent level in a long time. Defensively, Macomb probably played well enough to win. And if you haven't seen it yet, Brett Taylor led credence to my "Player of the Year" discussion last week with one of the most amazing high school plays you will ever see. Don't take my word for it. Just watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56TIwC1dlVs So what do we take off the Bombers in their first loss of the year? I think that this is a team that has, more than any opponent, been its own worst enemy at times with self inflicted mistakes. To date, the Bombers were able to play well enough to get away some some of those breakdowns. Eventually, though, you can only gamble against the fates so long and someone makes you pay. This week it happened to be Rockridge. I think the question going forward is did the Bombers learn from this hiccup? The only way to answer that going forward is to see what happens with the turnovers and penalties and missed assignments. Talent (and the Bombers have inarguable supreme talent) gets you only so far. It's the other half of the equation. Should be fun to see what a pair of angry football teams, each coming off their worst showings in recent memories, do to one another at Hanson Field on Friday night. To be brutally honest, I have no idea what will transpire. On paper, Macomb is the better team. But I also think they were clearly the better team last Friday night as well.

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      THE SECOND TIER

      8) BEARDSTOWN (7-1)

      The Tigers dispatched BPCA with relative ease on Friday with a stellar effort from rising Sophomore QB Gus Vermillion, who complete five of eight passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns at the Spartans Expense. Delaney "Sixteen Pack" Ortiz, Bubba Patterson, and Greg Carnes all added two touchdowns a piece in the run away. The Tigers should close out North Fulton on Friday to finish a scintillating 8-1 on the year which means a home playoff berth for the second straight season. Compelling argument here for Aaron Elmore in any Coach of the Year discussion given how low this program was when he arrived in Stripes Town.

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      9) MACON (6-2)

      The Tri-States most unsung defensive unit strikes again with a masterful manhandling of Brookfield. Tel Dye, Brandon Sontheimer, Jacobey Preston, and the ever impactful CJ Gast all post double digit tackle numbers in the affair with Kendall Kothe picking up his fifth and half sack this season. Of equal mention here, the stellar job Craig Smith did in marshalling his team back from a 7-0 deficit with 177 passing yards and two touchdowns. It's been a fine run for the Tigers. The real litmus test comes Friday.

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      10) JACKSONVILLE (5-3)

      Mark Grounds told me this weekend that he has never been more proud of a team than he has been of these Crimsons over the last two weeks. And after a playoff clinching 41-14 drubbing of a very good Breese Mater Dei club on Friday, he is darned well entitled to be. Been a weird, adversity filled year for the Crimsons...yet these guys just won't die. Andy Mills has dressed in a phone both for the last two games and his emergence as a top flite tailback (150 yards, 2 TD vs the Knights) has been huge. The Crimsons played fantastic football across the board and got yet another pick six TD from Aaron Vasquez along the way. Can these guys really beat Rochester on the road this week? Tall order but doubting the Crimsons right now seems a fool's errand. And I'd hate to be the 9-0/8-1 squad who draws these guys in Round One.

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      11) QND (5-3)

      Not sure I've ever seen a QND team laid as low as it was by Richwoods on Friday, the first team to ever drop a running clock on the Raiders in Bill Connell era. There was nothing at all redeeming in this game to talk about, unless you want to discuss the outstanding quality of the Knights Running Backs, who I would pay good money to watch on a nightly basis. Simply put, QND better find some momentum and traction in Macomb on Friday, and quickly, or it will be a very short dip for QND in the Postseason Pool.

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      12) SOUTH SHELBY (4-4)

      Cardinals demonstrated more in a loss this week than many of the victorious teams in our area. South Shelby stood toe-to-toe with the best team in Tri State Football this week and gave as good as they got for all but one unfortunate quarter: no small achievement versus Clark County. Sometimes its easy to forget that these guys are going to slide comfortably into a Class 1 District next week and I have yet to see the like-sized team who can contend with Trace Windsor, Wes Mefford, David Heathman on a night like last Friday, when all the major pieces are moving well.

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      THE THIRD TIER

      13) KEOKUK

      14) KNOX COUNTY

      15) PALMYRA

      16) WEST CENTRAL

      17) BROWN COUNTY

      18) QUINCY HIGH

      19) WEST HANCOCK

      20) HIGHLAND

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      FEARLESS PREDICTIONS

      Last Week: 12 of 18 (66%) Blah......

      Season to Date: 114 of 138 (82.6%)

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      TROY 24

      QUINCY HIGH 15

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      QND 14

      MACOMB 12

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      JACKSONVILLE 20

      ROCHESTER 30

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      MON/ROSE 38

      ILLINI WEST 35

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      WEST HANCOCK 28

      ROCKRIDGE 42

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      SHERRARD 20

      PGP 28

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      CSE 42

      CALHOUN 7

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      BROWN COUNTY 12

      CARROLLTON 20

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      TRIOPIA 50

      NORTH GREENE 14

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      UNITY/PAYSON 13

      WEST CENTRAL 18

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      FORT MADISON 12

      KEOKUK 32

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      HANNIBAL 20

      HELIAS 14

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      BROOKFIELD 8

      CLARK COUNTY 24

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      CENTRALIA 30

      MACON 14

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      PALMYRA 28

      MONROE CITY 20

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      SOUTH SHELBY 34

      MARK TWAIN 14

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      NORTH SHELBY 7

      KNOX COUNTY 44

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      RANDOM MUSINGS

      With scheduling issues forcing his team to play at least two Conference Football "re-matches" (likely Macomb and Illini West twice each) during the 2013 regular season, you have to applaud Pittsfield/Griggsville-Perry boss Don Bigley for being proactive in trying to avoid that scheduling snag in the future. As KHQA first reported Wednesday, the Saukees have reached an agreement with Missouri Small School Power South Shelby to play a home and away series beginning in 2014. The Cardinals will host in the first year of the contract. The game will move to Pittsfield in 2015. It is one of those unique matchups that should add some luster/excitement value to the schedules of both teams. And selfishly, I love these kind of games that tie the Tri State Football community closer together by exposing class programs that ordinarily only see each other on TV highlights to one another first hand. Hats off to Rob Wilt and Don Bigley for making this potentially very entertaining game a reality.

      Palmyra product Brock Reed, despite playing with three different nagging injuries, led the Lindenwood Defense with 15 tackles and an interception in a 13-0 loss to nationally ranked Emporia State this past weekend.

      Illini West alum Jacob Schmudlach enjoyed a career best day in helping Drake defeat Valpo last weekend. The Bulldog running back had a team high 143 receiving yards on seven catches and also added a rushing touchdown to the cause.

      Our best to the Palmyra and Knox County Softball squads in their quest this weekend for State Championships. We will see you in Springfield, Ladies.

      With two goals in the final 3:25 of regulation, nationally ranked Quincy High (39th in the USA according to Elite Soccer Report) pulled off one of the most dramatic victories I can ever remember on the pitch on Wednesday night in thwarting Alton 2-1. Kenley Leyendeckers scores the equalizer off a rebound at the 3:25 mark. One minute later, Blake Herman jumped on a misplayed Redbird clear to deliver the Golden Goal. Perhaps this is a harbinger that the Edwardsville Jinx is finally over for QHS.

      Great to see such incredible newfound success eminating from the Macomb and Hannibal Soccer programs. The Bombers, having already secured the programs first ever Regional Title, will vie for a Sectional Championship this weekend at Warrensburg-Latham. And the Pirates clinched at least a share of the NCMC title

      With Illinois State in the house, Jacksonville Junior Jaelyn Keene posted 25 Kills on Tuesday to lead the Crimsons to a three set win over SHG and an outright Central State Eight Conference Championship.

      Hard not to love schools who generate great atmospheres for High School Volleyball. Got spoiled this week by three different, incredibly enthused fan bases. The Crank Zone in West Prairie might be, per capita, the loudest, most insane spikes following I've seen in some time. Hannibal, which has gotten a boast both from the rise in Quality of play and the rise of the Balcony Boys, put on a heck of a show against Kirksville on Senior Night. And the Quincy High/QND tilt was a capacity house for Think Pink night. Nice to see those deserving girls teams get their due from the bleachers.

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