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."
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The University of Illinois has picked a location for the five men's basketball games next season that cannot be played at State Farm Center because of construction. Illinois announced Thursday they will play those games at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield. "We wanted to find a venue that made us feel at home, that was really welcoming, that we knew that we'd have a crowd that would be excited to have our games here," said Illinois executive senior associate athletic director Jason Lener. "The staff here, the venue, the community have had their arms open and welcoming to us, so we're real excited to come here."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois students got a chance to try and beat Illini basketball coach John Groce at his own game Wednesday morning. Groce was on the quad playing pop-a-shot to help the university promote its social media outlets. The school is trying to reach more students through twitter. So what better way than to have one of the most recognizable and popular faces on campus challenge students to a game of basketball between classes.
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."
MEN'S SOCCER Region 24 Semifinals SWIC 1 Parkland 0
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
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Reilly O'Toole will get his third straight start at quarterback when the Illini visit Ohio State this weekend. The senior earned another start by leading Illinois to its first Big Ten home win in more than three years Saturday against Minnesota. "I thought we played really hard, came ready to go," O'Toole said. "We got off to a quick start, but really again we gotta be more consistent, put all four quarters together."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Centennial Chargers are back in the playoffs for the first time in four years. When they host Chatham Glenwood Friday night, it will be the first time since 2002 that the Chargers have hosted a first round playoff game. "We've got something to prove," said senior Austin Maltbia, who leads the team in rushing. "We haven't been as good in the past, and with our huge senior class, we all want to prove something - prove that we deserve to be here."
Fisher and Rantoul volleyball both won their regional games in three sets.
Game times for the first round of the IHSA football playoffs.
St. Thomas More senior Lexi Wallen is a three-sport standout for the Sabers. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns has more on why the Illinois State volleyball recruit will go down as one of the best athletes in school history.
Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt should be back on the field soon. "We feel there's a great possibility for him to be back after the open week," said Illinois Head Coach Tim Beckman. Illinois plays Iowa after the open week on November 15. Lunt broke his leg in the game against Purdue and was expected to be sidelined 4-6 weeks.
Friday Football Fever plays of the week
Bret Beherns and Robert Rosenthal talk about the latest Illini football win.
Highlights from the Illini basketball scrimmage.
Illinois used a scoop and score from V'Angelo Bentley late in the fourth quarter and a strong defensive effort to upset Minnesota 28-24 Saturday afternoon on Homecoming at Memorial Stadium.
Blue Ridge won its first sectional title in program history Saturday, beating St. Thomas More 1-0. Danville won its first regional title Saturday, beating Central 2-1.
IHSA playoff pairings were announced Saturday night. Central is back in the postseason for the first time since 2008. The Maroons will play at Metamora in the first round, as they try and win their first playoff game since 1982.
Highlights and scores from Week 9 of Friday Football Fever
All the best moments from Week 9 on Friday Football Fever - in 90 seconds
VOLLEYBALL Centennial def. Danville 25-16, 25-14 Springfield def. Central 25-23, 25-18 Parkland def. Lincoln Trail 25-3, 25-11, 25-8
GIBSON CITY, Ill. - GCMS will try to get that all-important sixth win Friday night when they visit Fisher in our Friday Football Fever spotlight game. To get ready for the playoffs GCMS played both of its non-conference games this year against playoff-contending teams. One of those, Unity, beat the Falcons by 40 points. They say it wasn't necessarily a bad thing, and if they can get a win Friday and lock up a playoff spot, they'll be better off for it.
FARMER CITY, Ill. - The Blue Ridge boys soccer team will try to win the school's first ever sectional title Saturday when the Knights face St. Thomas More. In his tenth season head coach Marty Price has really turned the program around to get them to this point. As always they'll be leaning on senior Dylan Grammer, who is one of the best in the area at putting the ball in the net - and the chance to make some school history is one thing driving them into Saturday's game.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - We are learning new details about Champaign-Urbana's bid to bring the state basketball tournament back to State Farm Center. C-U tourism officials and the University of Illinois are partnering together to try to bring only the boys state tournament to town. There are no plans to bid on the girls tournament, according to Visit Champaign County CEO Jayne DeLuce.
BOYS SOCCER St. Thomas More 2 Williamsville 1 (F) Danville 2 Urbana 1 (F)
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Tim Beckman said this week you will see both quarterbacks, Reilly O'Toole and Aaron Bailey, in the game this Saturday against Minnesota. It has been an up-and-down season for O'Toole, who has completed 55 percent of his passes and thrown more interceptions than touchdowns. He wants to play, but he says he is prepared to share the snaps if that helps the team win.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Friends and family got together in Champaign Wednesday to remember Wayne McClain. The Central High School basketball coach, and former Illinois assistant, was laid to rest Wednesday after he lost his battle with lung cancer and pneumonia last week. Thousands came to celebrate McClain's life at the Fluid Event Center in Champaign. They remembered the four state titles McClain helped Peoria Manual win in the mid-1990s, but his contributions to Illini basketball came to the forefront. Dozens of former Illinois players and coaches were there, including Bruce Weber, Bill Self, Deron Williams, Jerrance Howard, Marcus Griffin and others.
BOYS SOCCER Blue Ridge 1 Monticello 0 (F) Salt Fork/Westville 4 Hoopeston Area 3 (F/PK) Central 2 Centennial 0 (F)
ARCOLA, Ill. - When Zach Zehr was named head coach at Arcola two years ago the Deer Creek native knew all about the Purple Riders' rich football history. Now he is part of it. Zehr has Arcola back in the spotlight - much like the program was in the 1970s and 1980s when Steve Thomas coached the Purple Riders to double-digit wins in 11 out of 17 seasons. "For me it just goes back to other people before me," Zehr said of Arcola's football tradition. "Everybody that's still around here who were part of building all that up."
LANCASTER, Tex. - Illinois basketball fans were on edge Tuesday as five-star power forward Elijah Thomas made his college decision. The talented big man from Dallas, Tex. had a group of finalists that included Illinois, but Thomas instead announced Tuesday afternoon he is headed to Texas A&M. Thomas picked the Aggies over Illinois, Oklahoma State, SMU and LSU. He made the announcement at a press conference at his high school in Lancaster, Tex. Thomas took his official visit to Illinois last month alongside Illini-commit Jalen Coleman-Lands. Thomas is ranked among the Top 30 players in the country, but he becomes the latest recruit to turn down Illinois in the final days of his recruitment.
The Illinois football team will wear special uniforms for homecoming. They honor Red Grange, the greatest football player in Illinois history.
The Central volleyball team is hoping to make a deep post season run this year.
Bonus interviews with Tim Beckman and Bill Cubit talking about how the Illini plan to use both Aaron bailey and Reilly O'Toole against Minnesota.
Friday Football fever plays of the week.
The Parkland volleyball team is 42-2, conference champions, and the top-ranked team in the country.
WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten talks with former Centennial Chargers Michael Finke and Rayvonte Rice.
Decatur LSA's Hunter York wins the Class A state golf finals while Centennial takes fourth in 2A. Charleston's Lauren Chappell won the Class A girls golf state finals to claim her second straight state title.
High School soccer scores and highlight.
Former NBA coach and current ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy had high praise for Illini basketball coach John Groce.
Friday Football Fever in 90 seconds week 8.
Highlights and scores from Friday Football Fever on 10/17.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Sergio McClain always knew his dad was one-of-a-kind. "I've never met anybody like that that has taken life by the horns and yanked them off," he said. Wayne McClain was a fighter to the very end, and he waited until his final days to tell his family he had been battling lung cancer. His son Sergio found out when he overheard the doctors tell his dad that the cancer was terminal, and he was running out of time.
CHICAGO, Ill. - The Illinois basketball team received four votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll released Thursday. The Big Ten is projected to be one of the nation's toughest conferences once again this season. At the league's media day in Chicago Thursday, Wisconsin was tabbed as the unanimous favorite. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns was there and has more on the Illini.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The boys and girls golf tournaments begin Friday morning in Bloomington-Normal and Decatur, respectively. Centennial will compete in the Class 2A boys championship in Normal. It's the second time in the last four years the Chargers have qualified for state. They finished seventh back in 2011. This time around the players say they are more prepared for what's to come.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - For many, Wayne McClain's legacy will be remembered by his accomplishments on the court, and there are too many to count. But his former players and colleagues didn't talk about his wins and losses on Wednesday; instead they remembered a man whose impact was felt far beyond basketball. "The kids all looked up to him as a father figure," said Dick Van Scyoc, who preceded McClain as Peoria Manual head coach and served as McClain's mentor. "Not having maybe a dad at home he was somebody they could go to and cry on his shoulder."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The central Illinois community lost a coaching icon Wednesday. Central basketball coach, and former Illinois assistant, Wayne McClain died early Wednesday. He had been in the hospital since Friday battling pneumonia. McClain was 59 years old.
BOYS SOCCER (Class 1A regional semifinal) Judah Christian 9 St. Joseph-Ogden 1 GIRLS VOLLEYBALL Normal Community def. Central 25-21, 25-9 Normal West def. Centennial 25-14, 25-12 St. Joseph-Ogden def. Monticello 25-19, 25-17
OAKLAND, Ill. - Tri-County will try to clinch the outright LOVC Southeast division championship when they host Villa Grove-Heritage Friday night. The Titans (4-0, 6-1) hold a one-game lead over both VGH and Cumberland, and a win Friday night would give them their first outright conference title since 2010. Tri-County's only loss this year was a 30-14 loss at Clifton Central, but they expect Friday's game to be as tough as any all year. As for the other side of this matchup, VGH (3-1, 6-1) will try to bounce back from its first loss last week against Cumberland. The Blue Devils' goal of a conference title isn't out of reach yet, but it will take a victory at Tri-County Friday if they want a piece of that conference crown.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Tim Beckman told reporters on a conference call Tuesday that both Aaron Bailey and Reilly O'Toole will get a lot of reps in practice this week, but he wouldn't say who will be the starter at quarterback when the Illini take the field in a week-and-a-half against Minnesota. Beckman did say Bailey will be a part of the game plan moving forward now that he isn't redshirting.