CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Emmanuel Komba has been playing soccer as long as he can remember. "I grew up and I would just play with my friends and stuff. Pick-up games in the neighborhood and other stuff," said Komba. But he's only played the last few years in the U.S. He moved here from Africa in 8th grade - seeking a better education.
Friday Football Fever plays of the week nominees for week four.
Friday Football Fever in 90 seconds from week four.
High School football scores and highlights.
VOLLEYBALL Centennial def. Urbana 25-17, 25-17 PND def. Danville 25-23, 11-25, 25-19 St. Thomas More def. Watseka 22-25, 25-18, 25-18
MONTICELLO, Ill. - When Monticello's Clay Becker gets to a game Friday night, he's there to play. He rarely ever sits. In fact, he had to think long and hard about the only time he's on the bench "Sit? Kick-off," Becker said. "Yeah that's pretty much it." He wouldn't have it any other way. He's been a standout for the Sages this season. On defense, he recorded 25 tackles in a game earlier this year. He's also scored four offensive touchdowns through three contests this year.
PAXTON, Ill. - The PBL Panthers are staying in the Sangamon Valley Conference. The PBL school board voted 5-2 Wednesday night to reject an invitation from the Okaw Valley Conference, meaning the Panthers will stay put in the SVC. Okaw leaders had hoped to entice PBL to become the league's sixth member when Maroa-Forsyth leaves for the Sangamo in 2016. PBL received the invitation in early August and after less than two months of deliberation, they've chosen to stay put.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Early season bragging rights will be on the line between Central and Centennial Friday night, but this game will mean a lot more than that to both schools. Central and Centennial are each undefeated, 3-0, heading into Friday's showdown. The Maroons are trying to start 4-0 for the first time in more than a decade. Centennial, meanwhile, is trying to keep its season on track after losing quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald for the season with a torn ACL. Both teams have struggled the last few years, but this weekend one of them will be 4-0 and in prime position to qualify for the playoffs.
SOCCER Urbana 1 Centennial 1 (F) VOLLEYBALL Centennial def. Manual 25-11, 25-14 Central def. Peoria H.S. 25-4, 25-8
TOLONO, Ill. - A sign outside the Unity football field says it all. A new beginning. The Rockets have a different look and feel on offense this season. They're passing the ball almost as much as they're running it. It's a new approach for head coach Scott Hamilton, whose run-first philosophy has won him nearly 200 games the last two decades.
Ryan Allen is giving the SJO Spartans a big lift this season after moving back to the area from Florida.
One of the area's top high school basketball players may be ineligible to play his senior season. Christian Williams transferred back to St. Teresa Monday. He transferred to Lanphier High School in Springfield to start the school year. "I have attended Decatur Catholic Schools with my friends since 4th grade. I want to attend St. Teresa High School whether or not I'm able to play basketball. My goal has always been to graduate from St. Teresa", Williams said. IHSA rules may prohibit him from playing after transferring back from a public school to a private one.
Friday Football Fever play of the week nominees:
Bulldog Invitational ORDER OF FINISH 1. Champaign Central (5-0) 2. Tri-Valley (4-1) 3. Mahomet-Seymour (4-1) 4. Pleasant Plains (3-2) 5. Olympia (4-1) 6. St. Joseph-Ogden (3-2) 7. Lexington (3-2) 8. Manteno (2-3) 9. Charleston (3-2) 10. Effingham St. Anthony (2-3) 11. Williamsville (2-3) 12. Urbana (1-4) 13. Oakwood (2-3) 14. Springfield Southeast (1-4) 15. Rantoul (1-4) 16. Mahomet-Seymour JV (0-5) ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM Emma Atkinson, Champaign Central Cortney Bohn, Mahomet-Seymour Shelbie Butcher, Pleasant Plains Alexis Gilbert, Manteno Kylie Michael, St. Joseph-Ogden Mason Moore, Mahomet-Seymour Sara Rathbun, Olympia Summer Sabbo, Pleasant Plains Melissa Swartz, Lexington Taylor Tedrick, Tri-Valley Dana Westfield, Champaign Central Lauren Wombles, Tri-Valley
The #1 ranked St. Joseph-Ogden Spartans moved to 3-0 with a 34-20 win over Monmouth-Roseville.
Friday Football Fever in 90 seconds for week 3 (9/12/14)
Highlights and scores from week 3 of Friday Football Fever.
When Illinois head football coach Tim Beckman isn't coaching the Illini, you'll most likely find him cheering on his son, Alex, Urbana's starting quarterback.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - As Central prepares for Urbana this week, one of the players the Maroons will be leaning on is defensive standout Brandon Klein. He plays both ways for Central but really shines as a linebacker. He has actually torn both of his labrums and a rotator cuff, but he has fought through it. Klein even had 21 tackles in a game earlier this season. He is a two-time state wrestling qualifier as well and leans on that experience on the football field.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Centennial football team received some bad news on Wednesday as senior quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald announced he tore his ACL in Saturday's win over Marion. Fitzgerald, who has verbally committed to play at Illinois, will miss the rest of the season.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - We told you last week Central's Jake Snider has ended his recruitment early and decided to play baseball at the University of Louisville. As it turns out, the chance to play for his father was just too good to pass up. Snider's father Eric was just hired as an assistant at Louisville this past summer. Jake told WCIA 3 how much of a role that played in committing before he'd even begun his junior season.
URBANA -- A big moment for a high school band. Urbana High students got to take a page from some professionals' music books.
Villa grove-Heritage defeated Argenta-Oreana 8-6 Monday night. They had to resume the game after it was postponed Friday night at halftime because of the weather.
Friday Football Fever play of the week nominees.
SCORES Central 41 Dunlap 14 Danville 19 Lemont 43 Meridian 23 Bunker Hill 22 GCMS 27 Tremont 6 Tri-County 33 Decatur LSA 3
VOLLEYBALL Centennial def. U-High 25-21, 25-22 Central def. Mahomet-Seymour 22-25, 25-22, 25-15
BISMARCK, Ill. - Mo Abbed doesn't have to look far for motivation. His brother Murad is his idol and coach. "He is my biggest role model to this day," Abbed said. "I always looked up to him." Mo grew up watching his brother play for the Blue Devils. Now six years later Murad is doing the same thing. "It's weird to see it come full circle as far as being a player, and now I'm coaching these players," Murad said. "But it is a good feeling."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Central infielder Jake Snider announced Wednesday night he has verbally committed to play baseball at Louisville. Snider is a back-to-back all-conference selection after hitting better than .400 each of the last two seasons. Last year Snider his .440 for the Maroons with 19 doubles and 22 stolen bases. His father Eric was just hired this summer as an assistant coach for Louisville after spending the previous 16 seasons on Dan Hartleb's staff at Illinois.
Update: 6:07 pm, 9/3/14, Wednesday GIFFORD -- It's back to the drawing board for the Gifford School District.
PAXTON, Ill. - You won't find many players who go harder and are more passionate about football than PBL's Tyson Snyder. "I love football," he said. "I've been playing since third grade." And he's been playing with a birth defect that left him with two fingers on his right hand, and a right arm that is several inches shorter than his left. "[My arm] is a little bit longer than it was," he said. "Two surgeries have gotten it about five or six inches to make it about as close to even as they can make it."
Latest: 6:01 pm, 9/2/14, Tuesday CHAMPAIGN -- People came out to take a look at area schools before November.
Friday Football fever play of the week nominees from week one.
High School football scores and highlights.
All the best highlights from week one of the high school football season set to music, known as the Fever in 90.
Week one high school football scores and highlights
DANVILLE, Ill. - Danville will have a new look this season. The Vikings plan to start nine sophomores. Tavion Boyd will replace Trent Sherfield at quarterback, and junior running back Kaleb McLain will be the go-to guy offensively. Even though they're one of the youngest teams in the Big 12, Danville head coach B.J. Luke says youth isn't always a bad thing.
MAHOMET, Ill. - Around Mahomet they call it the "Kenney Connection." You've probably heard it over the loud speaker if you've been to a Bulldogs' game recently. "When he first announced he said, "Kenny to Kenny" and then he said, "The Kenny Connection" and from then on it just became a moniker," said head coach Keith Pogue.
MT. ZION, Ill. - Payton Grinestaff's first year at quarterback didn't start well. "I think he had like seven picks in the first four games," said Mt. Zion head coach Mike Popovich. But it finished great. "[He] didn't throw another one the last five games and got better every week," Popovich said. "You can't say that about a lot of kids, and he is definitely not satisfied."
MAHOMET, Ill. - Mahomet-Seymour hit the practice field at 6:00 a.m. Tuesday to beat the heat as they get ready for their season opener against Mt. Zion. Seventh-year head coach Keith Pogue left it up to the seniors to decide whether to practice before or after school. They said it was worth waking up early. "I'm actually a big morning guy," said senior Joe Kenney. "So I don't mind coming out here and getting down and doing some work. It does beat getting in the heat though."
URBANA, Ill. - The Urbana Tigers are two seasons removed from the best year in program history. They won the Big 12 title and won a playoff game for the first time in school history. So last season's 2-7 finish isn't sitting well with them. "I think the issue last year in 2013 was we just didn't know how to handle success," said head coach Nathan Watson. "With that being said we were right there 14 points approximately from the playoffs and a lot of fourth quarter losses."
Rochester head coach Derek Leonard has high praise for his former quarterback Wes Lunt. Lunt was named the Illini starting quarterback this week.
GIBSON CITY, Ill. - The high school football regular season begins one week from tonight, and if GCMS wants to get back to the playoffs again this year, youth will be the name of the game. GCMS is working hard in camp to replace 17 seniors. They have only five seniors this year, but those leaders are helping the younger players come along.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - SHG won the state title last season - the fourth in program history - and this year the Cyclones are once again primed for another deep playoff run. They return quarterback Gabe Green, a Southern Miss. commit - and Minnesota commit Quinn Oseland is back to protect him. Star receiver Malik Turner is gone - he's now a freshman at Illinois - but head coach Ken Leonard says they should have plenty of talent to fill his shoes.
TUSCOLA, Ill. - The new Central Illinois Conference look a lot like the old Okaw Valley - with a twist. Eight of last year's Okaw Valley teams decided to move in a different direction, so they formed the Central Illinois Conference - or CIC. St. Teresa and Tuscola headline the league alongside Shelbyville, Sullivan Okaw Valley, Clinton, Warrensburg-Latham, Meridian and Central A&M. Tuscola head coach Rick Reinhart says it will be a competitive conference from top to bottom. "We look forward to the challenge," he said. "We think that we're on the right track but the thing is everybody in the state thinks that right now, so somebody's right and somebody's wrong."
FISHER, Ill. - The Fisher Bunnies took a big step forward last year, winning six games after just two wins the previous season. They have a veteran group of running backs returning, but they do have big shoes to fill on the line - especially with the departure of standout Josh Wallick. The Bunnies are energized for another run, especially with an upgrade to the stadium and a new fitness facility as well.
ST. JOSEPH, Ill. - St. Joseph-Ogden lost 17 seniors from last year's state runner-up squad, and head coach Dick Duval hopes the underclassmen learned valuable lessons as they prepare for this season - their first in the new Okaw Valley. "A lot of these guys got to play in a big game last year," Duval said. "Hopefully that will help them this year when we get into those big games. There's going to be quite a few of them in the regular season this year with this conference."
The St. Thomas More football team only has six seniors, but they have a lot of younger players with speed ready to step up.
The Unity football team is trying to make the playoffs for a 21st straight season. The Rockets are looking to build depth for the fall.
Maroa-Forsyth's Jack Hockaday, an Iowa football recruit is ready to lead the Trojans this season.
The Bismarck-Henning football team has been almost unstoppable during the regular season, but haven't had that kind of success in the playoffs. They're hoping to change that this season.