Watseka Senior Taylor Bauer is the WCIA 3 volleyball player of the year. The Parkland commit guided the Warriors to a 3rd place finish at state. It's the best finish in school history.
GIRLS BASKETBALL Iroquois West 72 Centennial 52
MAROA, Ill. - Jack Hockaday completed one of the best football careers in IHSA history. He broke the state's all-time yardage record and saved his best season for last, carrying more of the load than ever and leading the Trojans to the state finals. "It just means I've had great players with me to go along with me to help me along the way," Hockaday said of the numerous school and state records he holds. "Great coaches, and I'm just going to give all the props to them."
Sacred Heart-Griffin won its second straight state football title Saturday, beating Lombard Montini 29-14 at Memorial Stadium. The Cyclones finished the season with a 14-0 record.
Rochester won its fifth-straight state football title Friday night, beating Chicago Phillips 49-28 at Memorial Stadium.
Eastland-Pearl City crushed Maroa-Forsyth 41-12 in the Class 2A state title football game Friday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
Maroa-Forsyth, Rochester and SHG will all play for state football titles this weekend at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.
Mahomet-Seymour senior Christian Romine signed his national letter of intent to play for UTEP next year. Before he goes though, he will lead the Bulldogs, who return three double-digit scorers from last season.
ARTHUR, Ill. - Basketball practice in Arthur has a new look and feel this season. The gym is as full as its ever been with more than 30 players out for boys basketball this season. Nearly a dozen are former Atwood-Hammond Rajahs. They joined their former rivals after Atwood-Hammond High School closed earlier this year. "They realize that we're coming over," said senior Avery Schrock, "and they have to adjust to us just as we have to adjust to them so I think it's been pretty easy."
BOYS BASKETBALL Mahomet-Seymour 73 Morton 58 GIRLS BASKETBALL St. Thomas More 65 Schlarman 30
URBANA -- Urbana High School is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Big changes could soon be coming to the high school football landscape in Illinois. A new proposal would eliminate football conferences, and instead the IHSA would place teams in regions based on geography and enrollment. This proposal was submitted by Sycamore principal Tim Carlson. It has been approved by the IHSA's Legislative Commission, and it now goes to the member schools for final approval.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Central senior Connor Mapes signed Monday to continue his baseball career at Illinois State next season. Mapes was a big reason why the Maroons had one of the best seasons in school history last year. When he gets to Normal he will be reunited with his former Maroons' teammate Alec Altmyer. "It's a blessing going to play with Altmyer on what I call the best program in the state," Mapes said. "The MVC being the fifth best division to play in, I mean, it's a surreal moment. I'm very grateful for it. It's a lot of hard work that's paid off, but I'm ready to be a Redbird."
High School football state semifinal scores and highlights
GIRLS BASKETBALL St. Thomas More 61 Southeast 22 Schlarman 53 Urbana 25 SJO 57 Iroquois West 44 Washington 46 Centennial 23
GIRLS BASKETBALL Danville 74 Urbana 41 Schlarman 61 Rantoul 27
CHARLESTON, Ill. - Charleston High School will have a new football coach next season. Longtime head coach Brian Halsey was fired at Wednesday night's school board meeting after 15 years as Charleston's head coach. Halsey led the Trojans to the state semifinals in 2011, but the team had fallen on hard times going just 2-16 over the last two seasons. Charleston principal Trevor Doughty told WCIA 3 that Halsey will stay employed as a social studies teacher.
TUSCOLA, Ill. - Switching schools just a few weeks before his senior year started wasn't something Jarrett McMasters ever envisioned. He was planning on playing his last year of football at Monticello, where he would have been a starter in the Sages' secondary. But when his mom moved to Tuscola in August, Jarrett went with her - even though there were a lot of unknowns. "When I first came here they took me in and made it easy on me," McMasters said. "Everyone has been very nice and it's a great community too."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Centennial football coach Mike McDonnell announced Wednesday he is calling it quits. McDonnell will retire after 18 seasons as Centennial head coach. Over those 18 years McDonnell racked up 103 wins and led the Chargers to 11 playoff appearances. He held a team meeting with his players and fellow coaches Wednesday after school to inform them of his decision. He will also retire from his position as P.E. teacher. Before arriving at Centennial, 'Coach Mac' was an assistant coach at Illinois and a graduate assistant under legendary head coach Woody Hayes at Ohio State.
GIRLS BASKETBALL Salt Fork 44 Fisher 27 GCMS 41 PBL 28
IHSA football scores and highlights
Watseka volleyball defeats Edwards County while Cissna Park defeats Woodlawn to take 3rd in state.
NORMAL, Ill. - It was a rough day for Watseka and Cissna Park at the state volleyball tournament Friday as both teams lost their state semifinal matches. Watseka lost to Dakota 25-21, 25-18. Cissna Park dropped a three-set heartbreaker against two-time defending state champion Rockford (Keith Country Day) 22-25, 25-22, 25-15. The Timberwolves will face Woodlawn for third place Saturday at 9:00 a.m., while the Warriors will try to salvage a third place trophy against Edwards County Saturday at 12:25 p.m.
CISSNA PARK, Ill. - Cissna Park will make its first appearance in the state volleyball tournament Friday morning when the Timberwolves take on two-time defending state champion Rockford (Keith Country Day). "We talk about enjoying the moment," said head coach Josh Landon. "The big thing here is that you've advanced to the final four, now let's take that next step. Someone has to win the state tournament, why not Cissna Park?"
WATSEKA, Ill. - The Watseka Warriors are heading to the state volleyball tournament for the first time in school history. The Warriors knocked off defending state champion IC Catholic in the supersectional to reach their first final four. "We've worked so hard and we've come so close every year and just finally it happening was a wonderful moment," said senior Emily Allhands. It was an emotional win for the team's seniors, who have been to the elite eight two out of the last three years. Now they're focusing on winning the school's first state trophy. "I think reality will hit when we roll up on Redbird (Arena) what we need to do to be successful and just kind of soak it all in," said head coach Krista Pufahl. "We've gone as far as we could go this so we're just going to keep working hard and hopefully get two more wins." Watseka plays Dakota in the semifinals Friday at 1:30 pm at Redbird Arena in Normal.
TUSCOLA, Ill. - Three years ago Tuscola football capped off a remarkable stretch of seasons. They made it to the state finals five out of six years - winning it all twice. The last three of those trips were under Rick Reinhart, who had never previously coached in the state finals in more than 30 years on the sidelines. "I knew exactly how tough it was," Reinhart said of winning a state title. "I don't think the average bear understands how hard it is. In each run we had two or three games that could have gone either way. I was very fortunate to have kids get the job done and coaches to help get it done. To go three times that's ridiculous - and five out of six years, we're spoiled."
DANVILLE -- A local African-American woman, who fought segregation when she was in high school decades ago, is being honored in that same school.
BISMARCK, Ill. - Bismarck-Henning coach Mark Dodd doesn't have to remind his team about where they have been or how far they have come. The Blue Devils are well aware of both. This year's seniors have won 38 games in four years, but they had never made it past the second round. That was until Saturday when they became the best in school history with a three touchdown win over perennial powerhouse Casey-Westfield. "It meant a lot," said quarterback Dylan Allen. "It was very exciting since it had never been done before."
URBANA -- Some area schools were off Tuesday for Veteran's Day, but Urbana High School students received a lesson from veterans.
Watseka beat IC Catholic in three sets at the Class 2A Christ the King super-sectional Saturday afternoon to advance to the state tournament. Cissna Park knocked off Schlarman in three to move on in the 1A tournament.
St. Joseph-Ogden won the Class 1A girls cross country state title Saturday afternoon while Monticello won the Class 1A boys championship.
SJO beat Unity 41-14 while Tuscola edged top-seeded Lawrenceville 28-21 Saturday afternoon.
HIGHLAND, Ill. - Taylorville fell behind early, but ran away with the game down the stretch as they beat Highland 36-15 in the second round of the playoffs Friday night. The Tornadoes not only earn their first ever 10-win season, but they also advance to the state quarterfinals for the first time in school history. Taylorville awaits the winner of SHG/Marion next weekend.
MAHOMET, Ill. - Mahomet-Seymour will make the 90-minute trip north Saturday to face Morris in the second round of the IHSA state football playoffs. The Bulldogs are coming off the program's first ever Class 5A playoff victory; they beat Washington by 20 last weekend. Mahomet-Seymour has predominantly been a 4A school; they've only played in 5A two other times. Increasing enrollments, though, have bumped the Bulldogs up this year. That jump means tougher competition. Morris is 6-4, but two of their losses were in overtime to 5A and 6A schools. "They come from a super tough league, they're a very good football team," Mahomet-Seymour coach Keith Pogue said of Morris. "If we can pass block and get a little bit of a run game going it's going to present them a lot of challenges. On the other side of the ball, we've got to play solid run defense. So stopping their run and having solid pass protection are two of the big keys for us."
VOLLEYBALL CLASS 1A Schlarman def. Mt. Pulaski 21-25, 25-22, 25-20 Cissna Park def. Lexington 25-20, 25-21 CLASS 2A Watseka def. Westmont 25-17, 19-25, 25-21 Maroa-Forsyth def. SJO 25-17, 25-21 Dee-Mack def. Williamsville 25-12, 25-16 Edwards Co. def. Tri-County 25-18, 25-17 CLASS 3A Mattoon def. Columbia 25-21, 22-25, 25-17 Sterling def. Lincoln 25-15, 25-14 Breese (Mater Dei) def. SHG 25-16, 25-20 CLASS 4A Normal Community def. Springfield 26-24, 23-25, 25-15
TOLONO, Ill. - No one knows the St. Joseph-Ogden/Unity rivalry quite like Cody Stunkard and Collin Davis. Both are assistant coaches on Scott Hamilton's Unity staff, but nine years ago they were a big part of the Rockets' 21-20 double overtime quarterfinal win over SJO. It is still regarded as one of the most historic games in the matchup. "That game is definitely one of the most memorable ones out of high school," said Stunkard. "They had the top defense in the state, and it goes to show that it's any given Saturday when it comes to the playoffs."
ARCOLA, Ill. - The playoff mohawks are out in full force this week in Arcola as the Purple Riders are one win away from their first 11-win season since 1997. Arcola will take a 10-0 record into Saturday's showdown with Camp Point (Central.) "It's exciting to be one of the few teams left playing," head coach Zach Zehr said. "Each week you go, it's a big step and it's a big win."
TUSCOLA, Ill. - When No. 10 throws a touchdown pass to No. 83, it has special meaning in Tuscola. It's a brotherly connection. Junior quarterback Nick Bates always knows where to find his senior brother Zach. "It's just really nice because the chemistry is always there because we just know each other so well, what we're going to do," said Zach. "We've been playing together for eight or seven years."
The St. Thomas More girls basketball team opened practice Monday. Jay Price takes over as head coach and the defending state champions hope to make it back there again.
Unity and SJO will play in the second round of the playoffs Saturday. The Spartans are out for revenge after losing to the Rockets in the regular season.
Monticello plays Wilmington in the second round of the IHSA football playoffs and they know it will be a challenging game.
Highlights and scores from the first round of the high school football playoffs.
FOOTBALL Glenwood 31 Centennial 14 Wilmington 49 PBL 7 SOCCER Springfield 1 Danville 0 VOLLEYBALL Parkland def. Lake Land 25-5, 25-13, 22-25, 25-18
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Central High School officials have made a decision on who will coach the boys basketball team this season after head coach Wayne McClain passed away earlier this month, and the Maroons are keeping it in the family. Wayne's son Sergio has been chosen to lead the team this season. McClain will have the title of interim head coach. He spent last season on the Maroons' bench as an assistant coach under his dad. He also spent one year as Parkland's head coach. It is with mixed emotions that he gets ready to lead the Maroons this year. "He has passed me the baton," Sergio said of following in his dad's footsteps. "And I'm gonna run with it. I'm gonna go as far as I can go with it. Get an opportunity to prove yourself. It's gonna be trials and tribulations with this team in what they've been through losing a leader. It's just gonna all have to come together, and we're gonna have to lean on each other in order to get this done."
VOLLEYBALL Central def. Centennial 25-16, 25-14 Tri-Valley def. St. Thomas More 25-23, 25-17 Maroa-Forsyth def. Unity 25-16, 25-16
PAXTON, Ill. - When PBL beat Bismarck-Henning back in week two Panthers coach Jeff Graham had a feeling this would be the year they finally made it back to the postseason. "Obviously it's a huge game for us now looking back at it," he said. "It did give our kids some confidence on winning close games and being there."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Central has won more than 675 football games dating all the way back to 1894, making it one of the most historic programs in the state. Recently, though, the Maroons have struggled. They haven't had a winning record in 12 years - until now. "After last year, I knew we were going to be the team to do it," said senior running back Montrel Moore. "We've been working so hard."
DECATUR -- A school construction project is taking longer than expected and it's affecting more than 1,000 high school students.
BOYS SOCCER Hersher 1 Blue Ridge 0 Danville 2 Normal West 0 Springfield 7 Mattoon 0 VOLLEYBALL Centennial def. Rantoul 25-16, 25-17 Central def. Mahomet-Seymour 19-25, 25-9, 25-18