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.
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.
Friday Football Fever play of the week nominees:
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.
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.
High School Football scores and highlights
SCORES Central 41 Dunlap 14 Danville 19 Lemont 43 Meridian 23 Bunker Hill 22 GCMS 27 Tremont 6 Tri-County 33 Decatur LSA 3
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."
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."
Friday Football fever play of the week nominees from week one.
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."
WCIA 3 Sports brings you a preseason look at the Illinois football team and some of the top storylines we'll be watching this high school football season.
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."
Central's Montrel Moore is healthy this season and looking to have a big year playing on both sides of the ball.
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.
St. Joseph-Ogden football coach Dick Duval said Thursday he is coming back for a 27th season as head coach of the Spartans. Duval is retiring from teaching at the end of this school year, but he will remain as head coach and athletic director on what he called a "year-by-year" basis.
The numbers speak for themselves. More than 2,000 yards of total offense, 34 touchdowns (5 of those were defensive scores) - all while leading his team to it's best finish in a decade. We are proud to announce Cerro Gordo-Bement senior running back Steve Isbell is our WCIA 3 High School Football Player of the Year.
It took overtime for someone to end St. Joseph-Ogden's magical playoff run, but the Spartans ran out of magic in the state title game as they fall 43-41 in overtime to the Stillman Valley Cardinals. The game went back and forth all night long, and it came down to the final possessions in overtime. Stillman Valley scored a touchdown and completed the two-point conversion to take a 43-35 lead. SJ-O (11-3) responded with a touchdown of their own, but quarterback Dalton Walsh was sacked on his two-point conversion attempt ending the game. The Spartans fall one win short of the state title, earning their fifth runner-up finish - all under head coach Dick Duval. In Class 4A, the Rochester Rockets were held to a season-low 16 points, but they still found a way to win their fourth consecutive state title 16-8 over Geneseo. Rochester becomes the first public school in IHSA history to win four state football championships in a row.
St. Joseph-Ogden junior running back Orion Ciota stepped in after Austin Hedrick got hurt earlier this season. Now he's one of the biggest reasons the Spartans are in the state finals.
St. Joseph-Ogden will have a chance to win it's first state football championship on Friday when the Spartans take on Stillman Valley in the Class 3A state title game in DeKalb. SJ-O started the year 2-and-2, but they have won nine games in a row, and they're feeling confident heading in after a major turnaround.
St. Joseph-Ogden is heading to the Class 3A state football finals after beating Greenville 44-21 Saturday afternoon.
St. Joseph-Ogden is holding opponents to less than 20 points per game this season, but the Spartans' defense will be put to the test in Saturday's state semifinal game at Greenville. The Comets are averaging more than 50 points per game, including last week's 71-point performance.
Full list of local athletes who earned all-state honors
Playoff football scores and highlights.
Football, volleyball and cross country scores and highlights.
The Unity Rockets will play without starting quarterback Justin Deters Saturday in the second round of the IHSA football playoffs at Williamsville. Taylor White will start in his place. Deters was ejected from last week's game after picking up two unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties. IHSA rules force him to sit out Saturday as well. The good news for Unity is they will have starting running back Conner Grace back this week.
First round high school football scores and highlights.
Tuscola will face a familiar opponent in the first round of the Class 1A football playoffs. The Warriors (5-4) travel to Maroa-Forsyth (9-0) Saturday for a rematch of a week seven game the Trojans won in a blowout. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns has more on Tuscola's approach the second time around.
The high school football playoffs start this week, and we'll get a sneak peek at a future rivalry in the new Okaw Valley. St. Thomas More visits Monticello Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
All the best highlights and moments from Week 9 of Friday Football Fever
Scores and highlights from week nine of Friday Football Fever.
GCMS will host rival Fisher Friday night in our Spotlight Game, and as WCIA 3's Bret Beherns reports, it will be a big game for not only the players, but also for two new members of the team who have helped the Falcons in a very special way this season.
In just one year Fisher has gone from one of the worst teams in the Heart of Illinois Conference to one of the best. It is a transformation that started with a simple slogan. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns has more on the Bunnies' motto that is behind all their success this year.
All the best highlights and moments from Week 8 of Friday Football Fever
Highlights and scores from week eight of the high school football season.
Georgetown-Ridge Farm-Chrisman (4-3) needs at least one more win to qualify for the postseason. The Buffaloes host Bismarck-Henning (7-0) Friday on Senior Night, and as WCIA 3's Bret Beherns reports, it will be a bittersweet night for one senior who is dedicating the game to someone special
Mahomet-Seymour will play for a Corn Belt title against undefeated Normal U-High Friday night. A win would give the Bulldogs (7-0, 6-0) their first outright conference championship since 2005. Mahomet-Seymour has the league's best defense, but the Pioneers (7-0, 6-0) have the conference's best offense.
Bismarck-Henning is already in the playoffs with a perfect 7-0 record, but reaching the playoffs and advancing are two different things. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns has more on the Blue Devils' double-digit winning streak and their motivation to keep it going.
Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman head football coach Josh Cavanaugh is back on the sideline this week after serving a two-game suspension. The district would not give a reason for the suspension, only calling it a "personnel matter."