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2021 IHSA Boys Football State Playoffs Round 1 Scores

1A:

 

Ridgeview 34, Rushville-Industry 6, F

Villa Grove 14, Camp Point Central 48, F

Central A&M 14, Nokomis 6, F

Shelbyville 7, Carrollton 47, F

Meridian 14, Athens 42, F

 

2A:

 

Rockridge 42, Tri-Valley 47, F

Chicago North Lawndale 14, Dee-Mack 40, F

El Paso-Gridley 6, Farmington 42, F

Momence 0, Tremont 16, F

Flora 7, Decatur St. Teresa 62, F

Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond 19, Pana 49, F

Westville 15, Maroa-Forsyth 33, F

North Mac 6, Bismarck-Henning-Rossvile-Alvin 35, F

 

3A:

 

Chicago King 0, Prairie Central 55, F

Newton 6, Tolono Unity 46, F

Eureka 6, Paxton-Buckley-Loda 24, F

Beardstown 22, Williamsville 43, F

St. Joseph-Ogden 14, Mt. Carmel 46, F

 

4A:

 

Cahokia 0, Rochester 48, F

Paris 17, Mt. Zion 6, F

Columbia 13, Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin 49, F

 

5A:

 

Chicago Morgan Park 50, Peoria 42, F

Dunlap 20, Mascoutah 28, F

Metamora 8, Marion 41, F

Highland 33, Morton 56, F

Jacksonville 8, Mahomet-Seymour 50, F

 

6A:

 

Springfield 94, Rock Island 72, F

Chatham-Glenwood 0, Crete-Monee 51, F

Champaign Centennial 20, Chicago Kenwood 7, F

Normal West 7, Washington 14, F

 

7A:

 

Blue Island Eisenhower 6, Normal Community 33, F

Libertyville 14, Pekin 28, F

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Rutgers edges Illinois 20-14 for its first Big Ten win

Noah Vedral threw for 138 yards and rushed for a touchdown to lead Rutgers past Illinois 20-14 on Saturday.

 

Isaiah Pacheco rushed 21 times for 91 yards and Kyle Monangai ran 15 times for 77 yards and a touchdown for Rutgers (4-4, 1-4 Big Ten).

 

Brandon Peters, starting for the injured Art Sitkowski, was 14 of 19 passing for 190 yards and two touchdowns for Illinois (3-6, 2-4), including a 52-yard TD pass to Isaiah Williams. Williams caught 3 passes for 67 yards and the touchdown. Daniel Barker caught 2 passes for 47 yards and a touchdown.

 

Chase Brown carried 18 times for 67 yards for the Illini.

 

Illinois only managed 107 yards on the ground against Rutgers after racking up 357 last week in a stunning 9-overtime win against then-No. 7 Penn State.

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Davis sparks huge 2nd half in Southeast Missouri State's win

Geno Hess ran for 107 yards and a touchdown, Shabari Davis returned a kickoff for a touchdown, and Southeast Missouri State celebrated homecoming with a 38-15 victory over Eastern Illinois on Saturday.

 

Davis’ 86-yard run with the second-half kickoff sparked a 31-point second half for the Redhawks (3-6, 3-1 Ohio Valley). After Kenny Doak added a field goal, CJ Ogbonna ran for a touchdown and threw for two more.

 

Hess needed 101 yards to reach 1,000 for the season and finished the game with 1,006 yards. His 17-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was his 13th TD of the season.

 

Otto Kuhns completed 14 of 30 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown for Eastern Illinois (1-8, 1-3). His touchdown went to Isaiah Hill, who caught 11 passes for 207 of the Panthers’ 275 total passing yards.

 

Ogbonna completed 9 of 16 passes for 197 yards.

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Western Illinois rallies in second half to beat Illinois St.

Connor Sampson threw for three touchdowns and Western Illinois rallied in the second half to beat Illinois State 38-31 on Saturday and snap a four-game losing streak.

 

Trailing 28-13, the Leathernecks (2-7, 2-4) scored two touchdowns in the final 2:36 of the third quarter then Sampson put them ahead with a 6-yard TD throw to Dennis Houston for a 35-28 lead with 10 1/2 minutes remaining in the game. Houston also recovered a teammate’s fumble deep in Illinois State territory with about two minutes left that led to Mason Laramie’s third field goal.

 

A minute after Sampson threw a 20-yard TD pass to Jack Whyte to get within 28-20, Michael Lawson scooped up a fumble and returned it 41 yards for a WIU score.

 

Sampson was 27 of 39 for 298 yards passing.

 

Cole Mueller rushed for 159 yards on 27 carries and three touchdowns for the Redbirds (3-5, 1-4),

 

WIU snapped a three-game losing streak to the Redbirds, who came in with 10 victories in the rivals’ last 11 meetings.

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Monticello Rolls Greenville in First Round of 3A Playoffs

Monticello got off to its best start of the  season and rolled to a 42-7 win over Greenville in the first round of the IHSA 3A high school playoffs from Monticello Saturday afternoon.

 

Spencer Mitze picked off the first play from scrimmage setting the Sages up at the 32 yard line in Greenville territory and Joey Sprinkle his Peyton Scott for a five-yard touchdown, the first of five touchdowns, as the Sages only rolled from there.

 

Sprinkle later connected with Triston Foran from 46-yards to put Monticello up 14-0. On a shovel pass to Jacob Tackett, Tackett broke free up the left sideline and outran the field for a 21-0 Monticello lead.

 

Just before halftime, Sprinkle unloaded a 65-yard strike to junior Tylor Bundy for a 28-0 halftime lead, the largest lead at the intermission by the Sages this year.

 

After Monticello went three-and-out to start the second half, Sprinkle hit Mitze for a 34-yard score and then on the ensuing possession, Tackett powered in from a yard out and Monticello used running clock the rest of the way to roll to the second round. 

 

Sprinkle finished 12-for-19 for 273 yards through the air and five touchdowns and added 33 yards on the ground.

 

Tackett had 90-yards on the single reception for a touchdown added 50 yards on nine carries with another score.

 

Foran finished with four grabs for 85 yards and two touchdowns. Scott finished with three catches for 13 yards and a touchdown. 

 

In addition to his interception and four catches for 54 yards with a touchdown, Mitze also helped a defensive front that put pressure on Comets junior quarterback Ryan Jackson all afternoon. 

 

Greenville’s only score came late when Jackson connected with Peyton McCollough for a 58-yard touchdown. 

 

The Comets end their season 5-5 while Monticello is now 8-2. They’ll travel to Benton, who beat Southwestern Piasa 42-0.

 

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Monticello Hosts Greenville in Round 1 of High School Football Playoffs

The Monticello Sages head to the postseason having lost two of its final three games.

 

It was no secret, the final third of the season was going to be a challenge with Paxton-Buckley-Loda, Prairie Central and Tolono Unity all loaded up at the end up of the schedule, and between the four teams, they comprised the top of the conference standings. 

 

The Sages lost 16-15 in week 7 action at PBL with a chance to take the lead as they were on the goal line with just over a minute to play, but an interception on first-and-goal in the end zone ended the game.

 

Monticello bounced back with a 12-0 at Prairie Central the following week but lost a heartbreaking thriller in overtime last Friday to the hands of the eventual Illini Prairie Conference champion Tolono Unity Rockets, 33-27.

 

Now the Sages face a potentially underseeded Greenville team that comes to Monticello 5-4 but riding the high of a big victory over rival Vandalia last Friday, 42-21 and punched its ticket to the postseason.

 

The Comets played without junior quarterback Ryan Jackson the week prior in a 37-7 loss to Carlinville. The win last week at Vandalia snapped a three game losing streak but the Comets still dropped four of the final six games they played. 

 

Game time is 2 pm on Saturday afternoon at Monticello High School. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

Playoff matchups across the area:

 

1A

#13 Ridgeview (5-4) at #4 Rushville-Industry (7-2)
#16 Villa Grove (5-4) at #1 Camp Point Central (8-1)
#9 Central A & M) (6-3) at #8 Nokomis (7-2)
#15 Shelbyville (5-4) at #2 Carrollton (8-1)
#14 Meridian (5-4) at #3 Athens (8-1)

 

2A

 

#15 Rockridge (5-4) at #2 Tri-Valley (9-0)
#10 Chicago North Lawndale (6-3) at #7 Dee-Mack (6-3)
 #14 El Paso-Gridley (5-4) at #3 Farmington (9-0)
#11 Momence (6-3) at #6 Tremont (7-2)
#16 Flora (5-4) at #1 Decatur St. Teresa (9-0)
#15 Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond (5-4) at #2 Pana (9-0)
#10 Westville (7-2) at #7 Maroa-Forsyth (7-2)
#14 North Mac (5-4) at #3 Bismarck-Henning-Rossville-Alvin (9-0)

 

3A

 

#10 Chicago King (6-3) at #7 Prairie Central (7-2)
#16 Newton (5-4) at #1 Tolono Unity (9-0)
#9 Eureka (6-3) at #8 Paxton-Buckley-Loda (6-3)
#13 Beardstown (5-4) at #4 Williamsville (8-1)
#15 St. Joseph-Ogden (5-4) at #2 Mt. Carmel (9-0)
#11 Greenville (5-4) at #6 Monticello (7-2)

 

4A

 

#16 Cahokia (5-4) at #1 Rochester (8-1)
#9 Paris (6-3) at #8 Mt. Zion (6-3)
14 Columbia (5-4) at #3 Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin (8-1)

 

5A

 

#9 Chicago Morgan Park (6-3) at #8 Peoria (7-2)
#13 Dunlap (5-4) at #4 Mascoutah (8-1)
#12 Metamora (5-4) at #5 Marion (8-1)
#10 Highland (5-4) at #7 Morton (7-2)
#14 Jacksonville (5-4) at #3 Mahomet-Seymour (9-0)

 

6A

 

#9 Springfield (6-3) at #8 Rock Island (6-3)
#10 Chatham-Glenwood (6-3) at #7 Crete-Monee (6-3)
#14 Champaign (Centennial) (5-4) vs. #3 Chicago Kenwood (8-1)
#11 Normal West (6-3) at #6 Washington (7-2)

 

7A

 

#30 Blue Island Eisenhower (5-4) at #3 Normal Community (9-0)
#18 Libertyville (6-3) at #15 Pekin (7-2)

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Illinois Hosts Rutgers Saturday

Illinois is riding high after surviving the longest game in college football history and knocking off an elite opponent.

 

Coming off a nine-overtime win at Penn State, Illinois seeks a second straight win when it hosts skidding Rutgers Saturday afternoon.

 

The Fighting Illini (3-5, 2-3 Big Ten) pulled off a 20-18 win at then No. 7 Penn State when it won the NCAA's first nine-overtime game. Casey Washington caught the game-winning two-point conversion from Brandon Peters to cap a game that was deadlocked at 10-all after regulation.

 

Peters, who began the season as the starter, threw the winning pass in place of former Rutgers quarterback Artur Sitkowski, who was injured in the sixth overtime. Sitkowski, who suffered a broken arm, is out for the season.

 

The upset occurred two weeks after Illinois totaled 93 yards and held the ball for 17:17 in a 24-0 loss to Wisconsin. Against Penn State -- which entered the game allowing 110.3 rushing yards -- Chase Brown finished with 223 yards and Josh McCray added 142 as Illinois finished with 357 rushing yards, marking the second time it has rushed for 300 yards this season.

 

While Illinois was making history, Rutgers, (3-4, 0-4) has had two weeks to stew over a 21-7 loss at Northwestern. The Scarlet Knights are on a four-game losing streak and have totaled 46 points after scoring 123 points in a season-opening three-game winning streak against Temple, Syracuse and Delaware.

 

Against Northwestern, quarterback Noah Vedral was 18 of 30 for 152 yards and Rutgers totaled 222 yards of offense while getting penalized 11 times for 90 yards after entering the game as the conference's least penalized team.

 

Saturday is the eighth all-time meeting, and Illinois notched its third straight win in the series on Nov. 14, 2020 in Piscataway, N.J. when it rushed for 338 yards, forced three interceptions and got a game-winning field goal from James McCourt in a 23-20 win.

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ISU Takes on In-State Rival Western Saturday

Coming off a big road win against No. 15 South Dakota last weekend, Illinois State (3-4, 1-3 MVFC) continues its two-game road swing this weekend against longtime in-state rival Western Illinois (1-7, 1-4 MVFC) at Hanson Field in Macomb.

 

Freshman running back Cole Mueller had a career day in Illinois State's road win over No. 15 South Dakota and for his efforts, he was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Offensive Player of the Week and Newcomer of the Week by the league office. The weekly honor is the second of the season for a Redbird player and the first for Mueller in his ISU career. The Wentzville, Missouri, native ran for a career-high 178 yards on 25 carries and scored a touchdown to lead the Redbirds to the victory over the Coyotes. 

 

The Redbird defense has picked up the offense on several occasions this season, but perhaps saved their best performance of the year for its win at No. 15 South Dakota.

The 'Birds held a USD offense that came into the game averaging 30 points per contest and over 300 yards of total offense to just 14 points and 269 yards in the victory. They also forced a fumble, recorded six TFLs and came up with two crucial interceptions against the Coyotes. The first resulted in a 20-yard pick six by linebacker Kenton Wilhoit and the second secured the win when Jarrell Jackson dove for the INT to give the offense the ball back and take a knee. 

 

Game time is 3 pm local time in Macomb.

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Eastern Illinois Looking to Get Right at Southeast Missouri State Saturday

Eastern Illinois closes out the month of October on Saturday at Southeast Missouri.  

 

The Panthers are looking to snap a three game losing skid including back-to-back losses at home the last two weeks to UT Martin and Tennessee State.  

 

EIU is 1-7 overall, 1-2 in the OVC.   Southeast Missouri also looks to snap a losing skid as the Redhawks have lost two straight non-OVC games to Murray State and UT Martin falling to 2-6 overall, 2-1 in the OVC.

 

Game time is 1 pm from Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Hear all the action starting at 12:30 pm on WHOW. 

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Packers beat Cardinals 24-21 after Murray throws late INT

Rasul Douglas corralled an interception with 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter that helped the Packers knock off the previously unbeaten Arizona Cardinals 24-21 in a thriller that featured two of the NFL's top quarterbacks.

 

The Cardinals looked like they were going to rally to win their eighth straight game but Kyler Murray threw the stunning interception on second-and-goal as the home crowd groaned in disbelief. A.J. Green didn't expect the pass to come his way, never turned around and Douglas was there to snatch the ball in the corner of the end zone.

 

Green Bay grabbed a 10-7 halftime advantage by making a field goal after Cardinals rookie Rondale Moore mishandled a punt deep in Arizona territory.

 

Early in the third quarter, Murray threw a pass that was deflected by Moore into the hands of Green Bay's Henry Black at the Arizona 14. Five plays later, Rodgers found Cobb in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown and 17-7 lead.

 

The Cardinals responded, but fell just short of the win. Murray finished with 274 yards passing and two interceptions.

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Compher scores twice in Colorado's 4-3 win over St. Louis

J.T. Compher scored two goals, leading the Colorado Avalanche to a 4-3 victory over St. Louis on Thursday and handing the Blues their first loss this season.

 

Nazem Kadri and Cale Makar also scored for the Avalanche, and Darcy Kuemper recorded 15 saves.

 

Vladimir Tarasenko, Brayden Schenn and Colton Parayko scored for St. Louis. Blues goalie Jordan Binnington stopped 38 shots, and also was given a rare 10-minute misconduct near the end of the second period along with Kadri for a scrum after the net was knocked off its moorings.

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Walker, Knicks hang on, deal Bulls first loss 104-103

Kemba Walker scored 21 points, RJ Barrett added 20 and the New York Knicks hung on to hand the Chicago Bulls their first loss of the season, 104-103, on Thursday night.

 

Julius Randle had 13 points, 16 rebound and nine assists. Derrick Rose came off New York's bench to score 12 points against his former team as the Knicks won their second straight and improved to 4-1.

 

This one wasn't as easy for New York. It boiled down to a stop of Chicago's DeMar DeRozan as time expired after Bulls went on a 12-0 run in the final minutes to nearly tie the score in a game the Knicks seemingly had wrapped up.

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Nascar Cup Series in Martinsville, Truck Series Back as Championship Race Awaits

Drivers are going to have their eyes on the cut line Sunday as the NASCAR playoffs round of 8 wraps up at Martinsvilee Speedway in Virginia.

 

Kyle Larson won his series-best ninth race of the season in Kansas City and the second of the round of 8 races.

 

This race will determine the four drivers eligible for the championship in the season finale in Phoenix next weekend. Larson now has two three-race winning streaks this season. He’s the first to do that since Dale Earnhardt in 1987. 

 

Larson leads Chase Elliott, the defending series champion, by 74 points and Denny Hamlin by 76 with two races remaining. Larson has led 2,397 laps, or 998 more than No. 2 Hamlin. 

 

Hamlin is the only driver that’s been running at the finish of all 34 races. Hamlin leads active drivers with five wins on the 0.526-mile oval. Martin Truex Jr. has won three and Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch have won twice.

 

The 500 lap, 263 mile race time is 2 pm Sunday.

 

The XFinity race will also determine the four drivers eligible for the series championship in the season finale. 

 

Last week at Kansas, rookie Ty Gibbs grabbed his fourth victory of the season. Austin Cindric and A.J. Allmendinger are tied in points with Justin Allgaier 38 points back and Daniel Hemric 40 behind. Justin Haley is 47 back. Hemric leads all drivers with 29 lead-lap finishes in 31 races.

 

The 250 lap, 131.5 mile race from Martinsville is at 6 pm on Saturday.

 

The Camping World Truck Series returns to this weekend in Martinsville since its last race at Talledega earlier this month. 

 

Grant Enfinger won after starting eighth last year at the fall Martinsville race. At Talladega, Tate Fogelman won for the first time in 46 career starts.

 

This race will determine the four drivers eligible for the series championship in the season finale. John Hunter Nemechek was the only one of eight championship contenders to finish in the top 10 at Talladega as many of the others were caught up in accidents. Nemechek leads Ben Rhodes by a single point in the standings with three-time champion Matt Crafton 26 points back.

 

The 200 lap, 105.2 mile truck race is at 1 pm Saturday. 

 

The championship race for each series is next weekend. 

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Meridian Football Program Excited for Postseason Opportunity

The Meridian Hawks don't get the opportunity to compete in the postseason often so they are excited for the opportunity to take on Athens Saturday afternoon at 1 pm.

 

Coach Micah Sheppard says this is a senior-heavy group. His focus with his teams is to play to the strengths of his players.

 

 

The Hawks win over Shelbyville was perhaps the game that allowed them to qualify for the postseason. Coach Sheppard says coming out of its 1-5 spring COVID season, they felt good about the opportunity this year with so many players returning.

 

 

Coach Sheppard says injuries have been something they've had to deal with all year. He is hoping they are going to have some of those kids that have been injured back this weekend. Athens is 8-1 out of the Sangamo Conference.

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Monticello Finishes Regular Season No. 10 in Latest High Schoo Football Polls

The Monticello Sages dropped two of its final three regular-season games and finishes the regular season at No. 10 in the final 3A high school football rankings as the first round of the high school playoffs kicks tomorrow night.

 

The Sages dropped a tough week seven matchup at Paxton-Buckley-Loda and then a week nine matchup at home against Tolono Unity in overtime. 

 

The Illini Prairie Conference regular-season champion Tolono Unity finishes No. 3 in the final poll. IC Catholic received 13 first-place votes to finish No. 1 in 3A. Byron received a first-place vote to finish second, Unity was followed by Williamsville who received a first-place vote as well came in fourth and Princeton rounded out the top five. 

 

Mt. Carmel, Reed-Custer, Durand, and Benton preceded Monticello in rounding out the top ten.

 

In Class 1A, Carrollton finished with four first-place votes to come in at No. 1. Athens received ten first-place votes but is No. 2 this week followed by Camp Point Central, Forreston, and Lena-Winslow who received a first-place vote rounds out the top five.

 

Fulton, Abdingdon, Ottawa Marquette, St. Bede and Aurora Christian round out the 1A top ten. 

 

In 2A, Wilmington is No. 1 with ten first-place votes. Decatur St. Teresa received four first-place votes and comes in No. 2 this week. Breese Mater Dei off its big win over Mt. Zion Friday is No. 3. Tri-Valley finished the regular season at No. 4 and Farmington rounds out the top 5.

 

Bismarck-Henning, Pana, Bishop McNamara, Nashville and Knoxville round out the top ten.

 

In the 2A poll, Wilmington and Farmington dropped a class from last week after the IHSA postseason seeding. 

 

Rochester is No. 2 this week in the 4A poll. The Rockets dropped a class after the IHSA postseason seeding was released last week. Joliet Catholic is No. and Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin checks in at No. 3. Richmond-Burton and Genoa-Kingston round out the top 10. 

 

Chicago Phillips, St. Francis, Kewanee, Peoria Notre Dame are five through nine in this week's poll like Wheaton Academy and Breese Central tied for No. 10 in the poll this week. 

 

In 5A, the Mahomet-Seymour Bulldogs finish the regular season No. 4. Oak Park Fenwick, Kankakee and Morris were the top three and Peoria rounds out the top 5.

 

Sterling and Mascoutah tied for sixth in the poll this week and Glenbard South, Marion and LaGrange Park Nazareth round out the top 10.

 

Washington finished the regular season No. 9 in the 6A poll while Normal Community wraps up the regular season No. 6 in the 7A poll. 

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Packers in Arizona for Thursday Night Football

Arizona's Kyler Murray has become one of the NFL's most exciting quarterbacks, scurrying around in the pocket to avoid would-be tacklers and often finishing with spectacular throws downfield.

 

That sounds a lot like a description of Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers.

 

It's no surprise then that Murray - who is 14 years younger than Rodgers - has modeled portions of his game after Rodgers. Now the two early season MVP candidates will meet on the field for the first time in their NFL careers when the Cardinals host the Packers on Thursday night.

 

The Cardinals are 7-0 for the first time since 1974 and trying to set a franchise record for wins to start a season. Green Bay (6-1) stumbled in the season opener, but since then has won six straight games. Rodgers is rolling during that six-game stretch, throwing 15 touchdowns and just one interception.

 

Rodgers had plenty of complimentary words for Murray as well. He also acknowledged that even though it's just Week 8, there are playoff-type vibes in the air.

 

Green Bay will likely be playing this game without receivers Davante Adams and Allen Lazard, who went on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week. Adams is tied for second in the NFL in catches (52) and is third in yards receiving (744).

 

The virus also has impacted Green Bay's coaching staff. Defensive coordinator Joe Barry tested positive this week and won't be available Thursday.

 

Arizona can relate. The Cardinals are just getting over a virus outbreak on their roster. Coach Kliff Kingsbury, quarterbacks coach Cam Turner, edge rusher Chandler Jones and defensive linemen Zach Allen and Corey Peters have all missed time over the past two weeks. Everyone but Peters has returned.

 

The Cardinals navigated those COVID-19 challenges and still beat Cleveland and Houston. Arizona expects Green Bay will have similar resiliency.

 

The Cardinals are also missing some star power. Defensive end J.J. Watt (shoulder) was ruled out on Wednesday after not practicing all week. It'll be the first game he's missed this season.

 

Tight end Zach Ertz had a stellar debut for the Cardinals last week, catching three passes for 66 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Texans.

 

Arizona acquired Ertz from the Eagles in a trade after Maxx Williams was lost for the season because of a knee injury. The 30-year-old Ertz is a three-time Pro Bowl selection and makes the Cardinals' offense more diverse.

 

In his first game with the Cardinals, Ertz hauled in a one-handed grab over the middle and also scored on a 47-yard touchdown, which was the longest of his career.

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After Tumultuous Week, Blackhawks Drop Overtime Game to Maple Leafs

William Nylander scored in overtime to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on Wednesday.

 

The Leafs snapped a four-game losing streak with the victory, and extended the Blackhawks' record to 0-6-1.

 

John Tavares and David Kampf also scored for Toronto, and Jack Campbell stopped 25 shots.

 

Chicago got 36 saves from Kevin Lankinen, and goals from Kirby Dach and Alex DeBrincat.

 

The decisive OT goal happened when Nylander broke in on a 2-on-0 and snapped a wrist shot past Lankinen.

 

The Maple Leafs outplayed Chicago as the game went on, but the Blackhawks ended one streak early, taking the lead for the first time this season when Dach beat Campbell with a power-play wrist shot over the glove side 5:44 in.

 

The Blackhawks had been tied or trailed for more than six games at that point, the longest such streak in the NHL since 1979-80.

 

DeBrincat scored at even strength for a 2-0 Chicago lead at 11:48 of the first, accepting Seth Jones' long pass following Toronto defenseman Justin Holl's turnover. DeBrincat's shot sailed over Campbell's shoulder.

 

Chicago's Patrick Kane, Henrik Borgstrom, Jujhar Khaira and Riley Stillman remain in COVID-19 protocol and missed the game. Toews tested negative earlier on Wednesday and was put back on the active roster. 

 

The non-sellout crowd in the United Center was noticeably subdued in the day after revelations that team executives in 2010 failed to take allegations of sexual assault by then-assistant coach Brad Aldrich against a backup player to authorities. The player, Kyle Beach, came forward in a Canadian television interview on Wednesday. 

 

Chicago hits the road for two games against teams that are 5-0-0, at Carolina on Friday and at St. Louis on Saturday.

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Raptors Roll Struggling Pacers

Fred VanVleet and the Raptors pushed around the Indiana Pacers to pick up a long-awaited home win.

 

VanVleet had a season-high 26 points and a career-high 10 rebounds, OG Anunoby scored a season-high 25 points, and the Raptors won at home for the first time in 20 months, beating the Pacers 118-100 on Wednesday night.

 

Indiana was the opponent the last time Toronto won at Scotiabank Arena, a 127-81 victory on Feb. 23, 2020. Since-departed Raptors stars Serge Ibaka (15 rebounds) and Kyle Lowry (11 assists) were among Toronto's statistical leaders in that game, the most lopsided win in team history.

 

The Raptors lost their first three home games this season. In the three seasons prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Toronto went 89-25 at home. Travel restrictions related to the pandemic forced the Raptors to play home games in Florida at the end of the 2019-20 season and throughout 2020-21. They went 16-20 at their temporary home in Tampa last season.

 

On Wednesday, first-year forward Scottie Barnes had 18 points and seven assists, and fellow rookie Dalano Banton came off the bench to score 10 points.

 

VanVleet shot 6 for 7 from 3-point range and had six assists.

 

Banton made 4 of 7 field-goal attempts, including 2 of 3 from beyond the arc, and added three assists.

 

Indiana's Malcolm Brogdon scored 18 points in 22 minutes but injured his left hamstring early in the third quarter and did not return. The Pacers also lost forward Isaiah Jackson to a left knee injury in the fourth. Jackson needed assistance to walk to the locker room after being injured.

 

Chris Duarte scored 14 points, Jeremy Lamb had 12 and Myles Turner had 10 for the Pacers, who are 0-3 on the road.

 

Indiana went 21-15 away from home last season, the best road record in the Eastern Conference.

 

Domantas Sabonis had nine points and eight rebounds but had four of the Pacers' 23 turnovers. The Raptors scored 31 points off Indiana miscues.

 

The Pacers visit Brooklyn on Friday night.

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Mahomet-Seymour Bulldogs Gaining Respect as 5A Playoffs Kickoff

The Mahomet-Seymour Bulldogs are hoping a senior-heavy group with a lot of talent has them poised to make a deep run as they begin their journey in the 5A playoffs this Saturday when they host Jacksonville.

 

Bulldgos Head Coach John Adkins says his 11 seniors provide great leadership to his team and they can win a variety of ways. Defensively, Coach Adkins believes his team is fun to watch on that side of the ball. 

 

 

When the preseason top-10 rankings came out, Coach Adkin's Bulldogs were not on the radar but gradually, his team started to gain recognition, finishing the final regular-season poll coming into week 9 at No. 4 in the state. Despite a lack of early respect from the pollsters, Coach Adkins says his kids kept their heads down and kept working.

 

 

For his team to be successful in the postseason, Coach Adkins says his group needs to continue to get better each day and continue the hard work that has gotten them to this point in the season.

 

The Bulldgos host Jacksonville Saturday at 7 pm. The winner gets a chance to take on Troy Triad or Hillcrest. 

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Blackhawks GM Resigns Amid Sexual Assault Allegations

The Chicago Blackhawks mishandled allegations that an assistant coach sexually assaulted a player during the team’s Stanley Cup run in 2010, according to an investigation commissioned by the franchise that cast a shadow over the NHL on Tuesday.

 

Stan Bowman, Chicago’s general manager and president of hockey operations, resigned in the wake of the findings by an outside law firm, and the NHL fined the team $2 million for “the organization’s inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response.” Al MacIsaac, one of the team’s top hockey executives, also is out.

 

Florida Panthers coach Joel Quenneville and Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, who were with the Blackhawks when the sexual assault allegations were first reported, were named in the damning report as well.

 

The Panthers declined to comment, citing NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s plans to meet with Quenneville. Cheveldayoff said he shared everything he knows with Jenner & Block for its report.

 

The Blackhawks hired Jenner & Block to conduct what they called an independent review in response to two lawsuits filed against the franchise: one by a player identified as John Doe alleging sexual assault by then-assistant coach Brad Aldrich in 2010 and another filed by a former student whom Aldrich was convicted of assaulting in Michigan.

 

The report, which team CEO Danny Wirtz called “both disturbing and difficult to read,” was released by the franchise. Former federal prosecutor Reid Schar, who led the investigation, said the firm found no evidence that Wirtz or his father, Rocky, who owns the team, were aware of the allegations before the former player’s lawsuit was brought to their attention ahead of its filing.

 

In a statement released through his attorney, Susan Loggans, John Doe said he was “grateful for the accountability” shown by the Blackhawks.

 

Bowman, the son of Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman, said he was stepping aside because he didn’t want to be a distraction. He also resigned his position as GM of the U.S men’s hockey team at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

 

According to the report, the encounter between John Doe, then 20, and Aldrich, then 27, occurred on May 8 or 9 in 2010. Doe told investigators that Aldrich threatened him with a souvenir baseball bat before forcibly performing oral sex on him and masturbating on the player’s back, allegations that he also detailed in a lawsuit. Aldrich told investigators the encounter was consensual.

 

On May 23, right after Chicago advanced to the Stanley Cup Final, Bowman, MacIsaac, former team president John McDonough, former executive vice president Jay Blunk and then-assistant general manager Cheveldayoff met with then-coach Quenneville and mental skills coach Jim Gary to discuss the allegations. (McDonough and Blunk are no longer employed in the NHL.)

 

Schar said accounts of the meeting “vary significantly.”

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Packers Add WR Lazard to COVID List

Green Bay's decimated receiving group has taken one more hit as the Packers prepare to face the unbeaten Arizona Cardinals.

 

Allen Lazard joined 2020 All-Pro wideout Davante Adams on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday. Adams was placed on the list Monday.

 

That means neither receiver is likely to play Thursday at Arizona (7-0).

 

Lazard's potential absence would make it even tougher for the Packers to maintain their uncanny level of success in games Adams has missed.

 

Adams has sat out six games since 2019 because of injury. The Packers have won them all.

 

None of the other games the Packers won without Adams were quite as challenging as this one.

 

The Packers (6-1) have a short week to prepare for a road test against the NFL’s lone remaining unbeaten team.

 

They also likely will be without defensive coordinator Joe Barry, who tested positive this week. Receiver Malik Taylor had been on the reserve/COVID-19 list since Oct. 15, but was activated Tuesday.

 

That’s what they’ve been able to do the other times they’ve been without Adams recently. Rodgers recalled how other players often have stepped up to make big plays in those games.

 

For instance, Lazard had six catches for 146 yards and a touchdown when the Packers won 37-30 at New Orleans without Adams last year. One week later, tight end Robert Tonyan caught three touchdown passes in a 30-16 victory over Atlanta when Adams was still sidelined.

 

Perhaps no team relies more on a single receiver than the Packers depend on Adams. He is tied for second in the league in catches (52) and targets (73), behind only Cooper Kupp of the Los Angeles Rams. He ranks third in yards receiving with 744, behind Kupp and Cincinnati’s Ja’Marr Chase.

 

Nobody else on the Packers has more than 28 targets, 26 catches or 186 yards receiving.

 

While the offense prepares for the possibility of playing without Adams, the defense is adapting to Barry's likely absence.

 

Packers coach Matt LaFleur said defensive backs coach Jerry Gray would make the defensive calls if Barry's unavailable. Gray was a defensive coordinator with Buffalo from 2001-05 and with Tennessee from 2011-13.

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Resurgent Tri-Valley Football Program Back in Conversation for Deep Postseason Run

Only once in Josh Roop's previous 12 years at Tri-Valley had his Vikings missed the postseason, and that was his first year in 2007-08. That changed in 2019 when the Vikings finished 4-5.

 

Coach Roop says his kids came into the season with the expectation to be undefeated. He says any team can set that goal for themselves but the kids put in the work to make it happen.

 

 

Primarily a run-first team over the years, Coach Roop says he's kept that philosophy but they are spreading it out this year and they have the ability to throw the football when they need to thanks to the talent they have.

 

 

Coach Roop admits perhaps they lost a bit of the culture they'd established in 2019 and that contributed to them missing the postseason. He credits year's seniors for stepping and leading and re-establishing that culture.

 

 

Coach Roop says the key for his team will be to continue to get better as the postseason rolls along and he and his team will be getting back to the basics and working on fundamentals. 

 

The Vikings are the second seed in the north bracket of the 2A playoffs. They'll host Rockridge on Saturday at 1 pm. The winner takes on either Dee-Mack or Chicago North Lawndale.

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Monticello Sets Game Time Saturday for 2 pm Against Greenville

The Monticello Sages first-round playoff game hosting Greenville will be 2 pm on Saturday. 

 

The Sages drew the sixth seed in the south bracket of the 2A playoffs. 

 

The winner of Saturday's matchup will take on either Benton or Piasa Southwestern. 

 

The Comets are 5-4 on the season.

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Illinois' Cockburn First Team All-American

Gonzaga's Drew Timme was the lone unanimous selection by a 63-person media panel on The Associated Press preseason All-America team released Monday. He was joined by Illinois big man Kofi Cockburn, UCLA guard Johnny Juzang, Villanova point guard Collin Gillespie and Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis.

 

Timme could have left for the NBA after leading Gonzaga into last season’s national title game. He likely would have been drafted and gone on to have a solid career.

 

But Timme wanted more. Certainly, a chance to finish off a championship run, but also to work one more season with coach Mark Few.

 

Cockburn faced a similar decision before opting to return to the Illini after weighing the NBA for a second straight year. The 7-foot center averaged 17.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore last season to earn a second-team spot on the AP All-America team.

 

He was projected to be taken in the late first round or early second round of the NBA draft, but returned to cement his legacy at Illinois.

 

Juzang’s stock rose after UCLA’s improbable run to the Final Four last season.

 

The 6-foot-6 guard was one of the breakout stars in March Madness, shooting 51% while averaging 22.8 points. His 137 points were the second-highest NCAA tournament total in UCLA history.

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Bears Coach Nagy Has COVID

Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy says he has tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Nagy, who is vaccinated, announced the result during a Zoom call Monday minutes after his usual in-person session was switched.

 

Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor will run meetings that Nagy can't conduct virtually.

 

League rules say vaccinated individuals who are asymptomatic can return to the practice facility once they have two consecutive negative PCR tests taken at least 24 hours apart. If they are symptomatic, they need two negative tests taken at least 24 hours apart and must be symptom-free for 48 hours.

 

The Bears had four players on the COVID-19 list as of Monday morning, including star linebacker Robert Quinn and veteran tight end Jimmy Graham. Linebacker Caleb Johnson and right tackle Elijah Wilkinson were added to it hours before Sunday's blowout loss at Tampa Bay. Running back Damien Williams was removed from the list on Saturday.

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Packers Put WR Adams on COVID List

The Green Bay Packers likely will have to face the unbeaten Arizona Cardinals without 2020 All-Pro receiver Davante Adams and defensive coordinator Joe Barry.

 

General manager Brian Gutekunst announced Monday afternoon that the team has placed Adams on the reserve/COVID-19 list. That announcement came just over an hour after coach Matt LaFleur confirmed that Barry had tested positive.

 

LaFleur said that Barry is fully vaccinated and therefore possibly could join the Packers (6-1) for Thursday night’s game if he tested negative Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

LaFleur spoke to reporters before the announcement regarding Adams, who is tied for second in the NFL in catches (73) and is third in yards receiving (744). He did say there were “potentially some other issues with staff.”

 

The reserve/COVID-19 list is for players who either test positive or have close contact with someone who's infected.

 

LaFleur said the Packers are in advanced protocols and conducted all of Monday’s coaches meetings virtually. LaFleur said all team personnel have to wear masks while in the building, whether or not they’re vaccinated.

 

The Packers are working through which assistant will be responsible for calling defensive plays Thursday if Barry’s unavailable. One candidate could be defensive backs coach Jerry Gray, who has been a defensive coordinator with the Buffalo Bills (2001-05) and Tennessee Titans (2011-13).

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Cubs Hire Astros Exec as Assistant GM

The Chicago Cubs continued to reshape their front office on Monday, hiring Houston Astros executive Ehsan Bokhari as assistant general manager.

 

The move comes a week and a half after the Cubs hired Carter Hawkins from Cleveland’s front office as general manager to work under president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer.

 

The 38-year-old Bokhari spent the past three years working in player evaluation for Houston. He oversaw all projects by the team’s research and development group.

 

Bokhari’s baseball career began in 2015 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He spent four seasons in their research and development department.

 

Bokhari was a visiting assistant professor in the statistics department during the 2014-15 academic year at the University of Illinois, where he earned his master’s degree in statistics in 2011 and doctorate in quantitative psychology in 2014.

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Cardinals Name Oliver Marmol Manager

The St. Louis Cardinals have hired Oliver Marmol as the team's next manager, the club announced Monday. Marmol, 35, becomes the youngest manager in MLB and takes over after the club surprisingly fired Mike Shildt earlier this month. Marmol is also the youngest Cardinals manager since Marty Marion, who managed the 1951 team at age 34. 

 

Marmol served last season as the Cardinals' bench coach under Shildt and has been a part of the team's MLB staff since 2017. He's a former Cardinals draftee and minor leaguer who also served as a hitting coach in the minors. Marmol also boasts managerial experience at the minor-league level, as he guided Johnson City and Palm Beach within the Cardinals' system. Across five seasons as a Cardinals minor-league manager, Marmol compiled a record of 268-225 (.544) with four postseason appearances.

 

That the Cardinals had a managerial vacancy has been one of the biggest surprises of the season. Shildt was fresh off a 92-win campaign and postseason berth when he was let go. Also, Schildt's win percentage of .559 across three seasons is the highest figure for a Cardinals manager since Johnny Keane's .560 in the early 1960s. 

 

Given Marmol's long history in the organization -- long by the standards of 35-year-olds, at least -- there's no doubt a deep mutual familiarity. Given that Shildt's ouster was owing to, in the words of president of baseball operations John Mozeliak, a "philosophical difference" with the front office, team brass surely expects no such friction with Marmol. Marmol's hiring also suggests he's comfortable embracing an analytically driven approach to his managerial duties and is likewise on board with the data-driven methods of hitting coach Jeff Albert. 

 

Expectations in 2022 will be high for both Marmol and the front office. The Cardinals return a core of Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Jack Flaherty and breakout slugger Tyler O'Neill, among others. Also, Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina -- each of whom is older than Marmol -- are back for what figures to be a final season.

 

Marmol becomes the franchise's 37th manager since 1900 and 51st overall. 

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Bulls Stay Hot, Down Raptors

DeMar DeRozan scored 26 points against his former team, including 11 in the final period, Zach LaVine had 22 points and the Chicago Bulls opened a season with four straight wins for the first time since 1996-97, holding off the Toronto Raptors 111-108 on Monday night.

 

DeRozan scored four of Chicago's final five points as the Bulls survived a late Toronto challenge.

 

Nikola Vucevic scored 17 points and Lonzo Ball had 15 as the Bulls won their fourth straight meeting with Toronto. Ball shot 5 for 9 from 3-point range.

 

Toronto's Fred VanVleet scored 15 points and set a career high with 17 assists. Precious Achiuwa had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Raptors, and rookie Scottie Barnes scored 13 points.

 

Chicago opened a 20-point lead less than three minutes into the second half and was up 97-86 with 7:57 left in the fourth, but Anunoby scored the final five points in a 9-0 Toronto run as the Raptors cut it to 97-95 with 4:49 to go.

 

DeRozan sandwiched jump shots around a pair of free throws from Alex Caruso as the Bulls answered with a 6-0 spurt to take a 103-95 lead with 3:27 to play.

 

Barnes scored off a Bulls turnover with 15 seconds left, cutting it to 110-108. Vucevic missed the first of two free throws, ending Chicago's streak of 20 consecutive makes, but hit the second to put the Bulls up by three. VanVleet missed a potential game-tying shot at the buzzer.

 

Six different Raptors made a 3-pointer in the second quarter, but Ball made three of his own as Chicago outscored Toronto 37-27 to lead 61-51 at halftime.

 

LaVine scored 13 points in the third as the Bulls took a 92-80 lead to the final quarter.

 

Chicago shot 21 for 22 at the free throw line, led by a 10-for-10 performance from DeRozan.

 

Troy Brown Jr. scored 11 points for the Bulls.

 

Bulls host the New York Knicks on Thursday night.

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Blues Stay Hot, Blank Blues

Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals and Ville Husso recorded his second career shutout as the St. Louis Blues remained undefeated in five games with a 2-0 victory Monday night over the Los Angeles Kings.

 

The Blues are off to a 5-0 start for the first time in franchise history. The Kings haven't won since their season opener.

 

It was Tarasenko's first multi-goal game since Feb. 14, 2019.

 

Husso stopped 34 shots in his first start of the season. The Finnish goalie is in his second season, and improved to 2-1 against Kings.

 

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick had 32 saves in falling to 12-16-3 lifetime against St. Louis.

 

Tarasenko's first goal of the season came on a dazzling play at 3:08 of the third period to snap a scoreless tie. Tarasenko took a cross-ice pass from Tory Krug, cut inside Kings defenseman Mikey Anderson and snapped a wrist shot in the top corner past Quick.

 

For the second goal, Ivan Barbashev poked the puck forward to Tarasenko and he made it look easy on the breakaway. And Tarasenko's third goal of the season came with just under five minutes left.

 

Tarasenko has a four-game point-scoring streak (three goals, three assists), and in his career, he has 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists) in 25 games against Los Angeles.

 

The Blues added an empty-net goal with about a minute left from David Perron, who has six goals over the last three games.

 

The win gave the Blues back-to-back wins over Los Angeles after routing the Kings 7-3 on Saturday.

 

Blues LW Pavel Buchnevich was back after he served a two-game suspension for a head butt against Arizona forward Lawson Crouse on Oct. 18. In the Blues' first four games, Buchnevich has played only one full game.

 

The Blues host Colorado on Thursday.

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Clinton Cross Country Teams Advances to Sectionals

The Clinton Maroons boy's and girl's cross country teams are advancing to Sectionals.

The Lady Maroon's finished second at the Tuscola Regional at Wimple Park while the boy's placed seventh.

 

Clinton's Lexi Lord and Clare Holland finished fourth and fifth respectively while MaKayla Koeppel finished eighth. 

 

Lord's new lifetime best 19:23 - nearly twenty seconds off her time last week of 19:42 - is the 2nd fastest in Clinton’s history. Holland also set a lifetime best at the Regional with a 19:47, the eighth time a girl has broken the 20-minute mark in the school's history. Koeppel's time of 20:14 was her season-best and was 24 seconds off her time last week at Regionals.

 

Amerie Hemphill finished 20th, Jessie Wertz finished 23rd, Alexa Harris 25th, and Chloe Barth 29th.


 Sophomore Drew Moser was the top boy's finisher at 20th overall with a lifetime best of 17:07, nine seconds ahead of time last week of 17:16. Jade-Carlos Gustaffson finished 38th, Justyn West 47th, Talan Thrasher 49th, Preston Daniels 55th, and Colin Jameson 62nd. Daniels' 19:13 finish was his lifetime best and 15 seconds off his Conference meet time of 19:28 last week.

 

Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond, Monticello, Decatur St. Teresa, Shelbyville, and Tuscola were the top five team finishers on the boy's side. Heyworth, Clinton, Bement, Villa Grove, Argenta-Oreana and Sullivan round out the top ten finishers. 

 

Monticello's Ed Mitchell was the top finisher for the Sages. Logan Beckmier was the top boy's finisher from Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond. Phoenix Firnhaber from Shelbyville finished second. 

 

Dylan Howell from Bement finished ninth. Jacob Elston finished 11th for the Sages while Caleb Wood finished 14th. 

 

Mabry Bruhn, Rachel Koon and Sylvia Miller helped the Monticello Lady Sages sweep the top-three finishers and finished first overall as a team on the girl's side. After Clinton finished second, Shelbyville, Argenta-Oreana, and Tuscola round out the girl's top five. Decatur St. Teresa, Villa Grove, Heyworth, Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond and Bement round out the top 10 finishers. 

 

Heidi Heldt was the top finisher for Argenta-Oreana at no. 9. Danielle Strunk was Heyworth's top finisher at No. 11. Clara Rudolph and Kyara Welter finished 13th and 14th, respectively. Joe Walker finished 17th for the Lady Sages.

 

The Sectional run is up next. 

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Mt. Zion Braves Looking To Postseason

The Mt. Zion Braves had a challenging schedule to finish out the second half of its 2021 varsity football season and won two of four games to finish 6-3 overall this season.

 

Coach Patrick Etherton calls his line the biggest he's had in his time at Mt. Zion and very talented skill position players this year. He also indicates they have a big senior class that has led them. 

 

 

According to Coach Etherton, he says the Apollo Conference allows them to schedule challenging out of conference opponents and they did just that this year, in addition to the Apollo conference being very good once again.

 

 

Coach Etherton says they had some big roles that would need to be filled in for coming into the season but he also felt he had a lot of good talent to fill in those spots. He is pleased with how the kids have responded to not just those new roles but filling in when they would have players go down to injury.

 

The Braves are the eighth seed in the south bracket of the 4A playoffs. They will host 6-3 Paris with the winner having a chance to take on either top-seeded Rochester or Cahokia.

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Packers Roll Washington Football Team

Aaron Rodgers threw touchdown passes to three receivers and the defense stood tall in the red zone to help the Packers beat Washington 24-10 on Sunday for their sixth consecutive victory.

 

Washington (2-5) lost its third straight despite outgaining Green Bay 430-304 and never punting all day. Washington had five scoreless trips inside Green Bay's 30-yard line, including back-to-back series that ended inside the 5.

 

Rodgers withstood back trouble and went 27 of 35 for 274 yards with touchdown passes to Davante Adams, Allen Lazard and Robert Tonyan.

 

Washington's Taylor Heinicke was 25 of 36 for 268 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for a game-high 95 yards on 10 carries.

 

The Packers visit Arizona on Thursday.

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Kyle Larson Wins Third Straight Race in Kansas

Kyle Larson won his ninth race of the season, but most meaningful victory to date in his new job with Hendrick Motorsports at Kansas Motorspeedway in Kansas City, Kansas and the second leg of the round of eight playoffs in the NASCAR Cup Series. 

 

Larson crossed the finish line and as part of his celebration stood on the window ledge of the No. 5 Chevrolet and pointed to the sky for Ricky Hendrick and the nine others killed in the 2004 crash of a team plane en route to a race in Virginia.

 

Larson has only heard stories about the late Ricky Hendrick, the son of his team owner who was killed 17 years ago in a plane crash on the way to a NASCAR race.

 

The anniversary is a difficult day for Rick and Linda Hendrick, neither of whom made the trip Sunday to the playoff race at Kansas Speedway. Rick Hendrick instead texted Larson before the race and told his driver what a win would mean to the Hendrick Motorsports organization.

 

The victory was Larson’s third consecutive and fourth over the last six playoff races. Larson has won three straight races twice this season and is the first driver to do that since the late Dale Earnhardt in 1987.

 

Larson is locked into the Nov. 7 championship finale, and the remaining three spots in the winner-take-all title race will be settled next Sunday at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia — where the Hendrick flight was headed on that 2004 race morning.

 

Larson beat reigning Cup champion and Hendrick teammate Chase Elliott by 3.619-seconds for the win, but Elliott focused on the importance of the day for the organization over his defeat.

 

The Hendrick cars have been far and above the strongest on tracks in which NASCAR uses its 550 horsepower package, but Kansas marked the final race of the season with those rules.

 

But in finishing second, Elliott moved above the cutline and is second in the standings headed to Martinsville. Denny Hamlin is third and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch fourth, a single point above the elimination line.

 

Kevin Harvick finished third in a Ford and there was no chance of another incident with Elliott because NASCAR two weeks ago demanded the two end their feud.

 

Kurt Busch was fourth and followed by Hamlin, the highest-finishing Toyota driver.

 

It was a terrible day for Team Penske despite Joey Logano’s ninth-place finish. Brad Keselowski finished 17th and Ryan Blaney was wrecked on a late restart and finished 37th.

 

All three Fords from the Penske camp go to Martinsville below the playoff elimination cutline. Martin Truex Jr. is also below the cutline. Blaney is one point below Kyle Busch, while Truex is three points behind his JGR teammate.

 

Keselowski is six points below the cutline and Logano is 26 and ranked last. A win by any of the drivers is worth an automatic berth into the championship field.

 

The penultimate race of the season, at Martinsville Speedway, where the final three spots in the championship finale will be decided. Elliott is the defending race winner; Truex won at Martinsville in the spring.

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Bucs Blast Bears

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-1) won their fourth straight game for the best seven-game start in franchise history as the defending Super Bowl champion routed the Chicago Bears 38-3.

 

The Bucs also avenged one of their five 2020 regular-season losses, with Tom Brady completing 20 of 36 passes for 211 yards and four TDs.

 

The Tampa Bay defense did its job, too, limiting the offensively challenged Bears (3-4) to Cairo Santos' second-quarter field goal and sacking rookie Justin Fields four times, forcing two fumbles. Dee Delaney had one of the Bucs' three interceptions, a first-quarter pick that led to Brady's 599th career TD pass.

 

With Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski sidelined by injuries, Evans had a big day with six catches for 76 yards and three TDs, including a 9-yarder that gave Brady No. 600 with 6 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

 

Evans also had scoring receptions of 2 and 8 yards as the Bucs built the lead to 35-3 at halftime. Chris Godwin had eight catches for 111 yards and a 5-yard reception set up by Delaney's interception. Rookie Jaelon Darden's 43-yard punt return led to Leonard Fournette's early 2-yard TD run.

 

Fields, meanwhile, fell to 2-3 as a starter. The first-round draft pick finished 22 of 32 for 184 yards and three interceptions. He also lost two fumbles and has now been sacked a league-leading 22 times.

 

Chicago's turnovers contributed to the Bucs scoring four of their five touchdowns on drives that started inside Bears territory.

 

The Bears host San Francisco next Sunday.

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Hickbottom's 3 TDs lead Tennessee State to 3rd straight win

As heard on WHOW, Geremy Hickbottom rushed for two touchdowns and passed for another to help Tennessee State beat Eastern Illinois 28-0 on Saturday for its first three-game winning streak since 2017.

 

It was also Tennessee State’s first shutout in an Ohio Valley Conference game since 2013.

 

The Tennessee State defense took advantage of four turnovers. James Green, Josh Green and Eddie Graham each made an interception, and Davoan Hawkins forced a fumble. Green returned his 47 yards before getting tackled at the 2, and Graham made his in the end zone.

 

Hickbottom was 14 of 24 for 161 yards, and he carried it eight times for 38 yards for Tennessee State (4-3, 2-1). Devon Starling rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.

 

Three quarterbacks for Eastern Illinois (1-7, 1-2) combined for 15-of-35 passing for 115 yards. Otto Kuhns had a team-high 70 yards passing but was intercepted three times.

 

Tune in next Saturday, October 30, as EIU travels to SEMO. You can hear the game live on all of WHOW's many platforms at 12:30pm.

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High School Football Playoff Pairings Released

Central Illinois matchups:

1A

#13 Ridgeview (5-4) at #4 Rushville-Industry (7-2)
#16 Villa Grove (5-4) at #1 Camp Point Central (8-1)
#9 Central A & M) (6-3) at #8 Nokomis (7-2)
#15 Shelbyville (5-4) at #2 Carrollton (8-1)
#14 Meridian (5-4) at #3 Athens (8-1)

2A

#15 Rockridge (5-4) at #2 Tri-Valley (9-0)
#10 Chicago North Lawndale (6-3) at #7 Dee-Mack (6-3)
 #14 El Paso-Gridley (5-4) at #3 Farmington (9-0)
#11 Momence (6-3) at #6 Tremont (7-2)
#16 Flora (5-4) at #1 Decatur St. Teresa (9-0)
#15 Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond (5-4) at #2 Pana (9-0)
#10 Westville (7-2) at #7 Maroa-Forsyth (7-2)
#14 North Mac (5-4) at #3 Bismarck-Henning-Rossville-Alvin (9-0)

3A

#10 Chicago King (6-3) at #7 Prairie Central (7-2)
#16 Newton (5-4) at #1 Tolono Unity (9-0)
#9 Eureka (6-3) at #8 Paxton-Buckley-Loda (6-3)
#13 Beardstown (5-4) at #4 Williamsville (8-1)
#15 St. Joseph-Ogden (5-4) at #2 Mt. Carmel (9-0)
#11 Greenville (5-4) at #6 Monticello (7-2)

4A

#16 Cahokia (5-4) at #1 Rochester (8-1)
#9 Paris (6-3) at #8 Mt. Zion (6-3)
14 Columbia (5-4) at #3 Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin (8-1)

5A

#9 Chicago Morgan Park (6-3) at #8 Peoria (7-2)
#13 Dunlap (5-4) at #4 Mascoutah (8-1)
#12 Metamora (5-4) at #5 Marion (8-1)
#10 Highland (5-4) at #7 Morton (7-2)
#14 Jacksonville (5-4) at #3 Mahomet-Seymour (9-0)

6A

#9 Springfield (6-3) at #8 Rock Island (6-3)
#10 Chatham-Glenwood (6-3) at #7 Crete-Monee (6-3)
#14 Champaign (Centennial) (5-4) vs. #3 Chicago Kenwood (8-1)
#11 Normal West (6-3) at #6 Washington (7-2)

7A

#30 Blue Island Eisenhower (5-4) at #3 Normal Community (9-0)
#18 Libertyville (6-3) at #15 Pekin (7-2)

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Illinois outlasts No. 7 Penn State in 9th overtime

Casey Washington caught a 2-point conversion pass from Brandon Peters to end the first nine-overtime game in NCAA history and lift Illinois over No. 7 Penn State 20-18 on Saturday.

 

The teams were tied at 10 after regulation, exchanged field goals in the first two overtimes, then began to alternate 2-point attempts in the third OT as part of a format tweaked ahead of the season.

 

Neither team converted until the eighth overtime, when Isaiah Williams ran one in to put Illinois (3-5, 2-3 Big Ten) up 18-16. Noah Cain kept the it alive for Penn State (5-2, 2-2) with a 2-point run of his own.

 

In the ninth OT, Sean Clifford’s pass to Parker Washington was broken up by linebacker Khalan Tolson. Peters then found Washington near the back of the end zone for the winning completion. 

 

The 2-point conversion shootout started in 2019, the season after LSU and Texas A&M played a seven overtime game that left both teams badly beaten up. The rule was tweaked this year, with the 2-point conversion possessions beginning with the third overtime instead of the fifth.

 

 

Chase Brown and Josh McCray combined for 365 rushing yards and a touchdown for Illinois, and James McCourt kicked three field goals.

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Monticello Falls in Overtime to Tolono Unity

With the game on the line, a fourth down and goal situation in overtime failed for Monticello and allowed Tolono Unity to escape with a 33-27 win in overtime at Monticello High School in the regular season finale and the Rockets claimed the 2021 Illini Prairie Conference championship. 

 

Unity tied the game at 27 with 2:02 left after Joey Sprinkle threw a late interception. The Sages would get the ball in Unity territory before turning the ball over on downs. 

 

In overtime, Monticello had Unity in a fourth-and-goal to go situation and fade pass to the left corner of the end zone was caught to give the Rockets the lead at 33-27, the first since they led 7-0. The extra point was no good setting up a chance for Monticello to win it on its first possession of overtime.

 

The Sages were set back right off the bat with a five-yard false start. They got seven yards back on a quick pass to Triston Foran. On second down, a double-reverse went for four yards when back-up quarterback Luke Teschke hit Joey Sprinkle, getting the Sages just inside the five.

 

On third down, a shovel pass for Jacob Tackett only gained three yards, setting up fourth down and short.

 

On fourth down, Sprinkle was just able to get a pass off as he was going down avoiding a sack, his pass for the end zone fell incomplete but pass interference in the end zone set the Sages up for a fourth down from the two yard line.

 

On fourth down, a reverse to junior quarterback Drew Sheppard failed as he was sacked to end the game. 

 

Monticello also pulled off another successful hook-and-lateral pass that sprung Tackett for a 52-yard touchdown late in the first half and set Monticello up for a 14-7 lead going in the the half.

 

Sprinkle scored his longest touchdown of the season, a 69-yard run in the third quarter. 

 

Foran hauled in two more touchdown passes and finished with 84 receiving yards on seven catches. Tackett did most of his damage in the receiving game with 70 yards on seven receptions with his touchdown.

 

Spencer Mitze finished with seven catches for 68 yards in another strong performance for the junior.

 

Tylor Bundy was the Piatt/DeWitt ServPro player of the game with a pair of interceptions and a trio of kick returns that set Monticello up with good field position.

 

The Sages finish the regular season 7-2, dropping two of its final three.

 

Unity wraps up the regular season undefeated at 9-0.

 

Both teams will await its playoff seeding on Saturday. 

 

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Clinton Falls to Iroquois West

In a game heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons fell to Iroquois West by a score of 37-7 on Friday night. Senior quarterback Ethan Boyer was 9 of 31 passing for 109 yards and an interception. He also had 12 carries for 27 yards and a touchdown. Senior Tristin Potts had 12 carries for 15 yards. Aiden Schlesinger had 4 catches for 38 yards and Adam Kroeger had 3 catches for 40 yards. The DeWitt/Piatt Counties ServPro Player of the Game was Houston Stapleton who led the Maroons in interceptions.

 

Iroquois West junior quarterback Sam McMillan was 2 of 8 passing for 20 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Junior Trystyn Schacht had 19 carries for 22 yards and 3 touchdowns.

 

With the loss, the Maroons finish the season 1-8. Iroquois West improves to 7-2. 

 

Tune in tomorrow (Saturday night) at 7pm for the Annual Pigskin Preview Show to hear playoff pairings for the area teams. You can hear it live on all of WHOW's many platforms.

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WHOW, WEZC to Air Annual High School Football Playoff Show Saturday

It's high school football postseason time in Illinois and Saturday night the pairings for the football playoffs get released by the IHSA.

 

WHOW 92.3 FM in DeWitt County, 106.5 FM in McLean County, the WHOW mobile app, Amazon Alexa, 95.9 FM WEZC, and dewittdailynews.com will air the yearly show from 7 pm to 9 pm Saturday, 

 

Hear as the pairings are released as well as from area coaches like Josh Roop at Tri-Valley, Jon Adkins at Mahomet-Seymour, Meridian Coach Micah Sheppard, Mt. Zion football coach Patrick Etherton, Cully Welter from Monticello, and more.

 

And be sure to tune in to 95.9 FM WEZC starting Saturday, October 30 for every Monticello Sages postseason football game. Sages postseason games will also be streamed at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Clinton Hosts Iroquois West Tonight

The Clinton Maroons will welcome Iroquois West to Clinton for a non-conference week nine matchup in high school football action tonight.

 

The Maroons come into action tonight 1-6 overall and off its fifth straight loss, an 18-7 loss at Meridian last Friday. Coach Ron Bass says the Raiders are big and run the ball effectively.

 

 

Game time tonight is 7 pm. Hear it all on 92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, at the WHOW mobile app and at Amazon Alexa.

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Monticello Hosts Tolono Unity on Senior Night

The Monticello Sages will host Tolono Unity for senior night tonight at Monticello High School in the Illini Prairie Conference and regular-season finale for both teams.

 

The long-running rivalry will only get more intense tonight as a win locks in the Rockets for the regular-season title and a win for Monticello clinches them a share of the conference title as the Illini Prairie does not do tiebreakers. Monticello coach Cully Welter says the rivalry has been pretty even in recent years and says once again, Unity will be a handful for them.

 

 

Defensively Coach Welter says they are going to have to tackle well and defensively they will have to handle a lot of pressure from the front seven.

 

 

Coach Welter indicates Unity has good team speed, a similar trait of his team. He says that could be a good matchup tonight.

 

Opening kick tonight is at 7 pm. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Key Matchups Highlight Final Week of High School Football Regular Season

The high school football postseason kicks off next week and as the final week of the regular season kicks off tonight, there are some key matchups for area schools fighting for playoff eligibility and clinching a postseason birth.

 

Five wins make a team eligible for postseason play but do not guarantee a spot in the postseason. At six wins, teams clinch that postseason spot.

 

Tonight in the Central Illinois Conference, five-win Central A&M will host five-win Shelbyville, with the winner locking in that postseason spot, the other hoping its playoff points are enough to get in.

 

In Decatur, St. Teresa will host Warrensburg-Latham. The Bulldogs are the top team in 2A hosting a 5-3 Cardinals team hoping to pull an upset of epic proportions to lock itself into the postseason. The Cardinals may very well join either Central A&M or Shelbyville hopings its playoff points are enough to play again next week.

 

The Tuscola Warriors are hoping to put the Meridian Hawks further on the bubble. Tuscola cannot make the postseason, they had an interruption to its season due to COVID in September, and will not reach the five-win threshold to qualify for the postseason. At 3-3, the Warriors can make Saturday's selection process more uncomfortable but the resurgent Hawks are looking to lock their place in the postseason with a win in Tuscola.

 

Clinton, well out of postseason contention, will host Iroquois West in a replacement game for Sullivan, who canceled its season shortly after the 2021 campaign kicked off in August.

 

The Illini Prairie Conference has a trio of teams locked into the postseason with six wins. Tolono Unity, Monticello, and Prairie Central. 

 

Tonight, the Sages and Rockets battle for the conference title. Bloomington Central Catholic, sitting at 4-4 on the season, will host Prairie Central with a chance to qualify for the postseason. The Saints have been marred by injuries in the last half of its season, losing four of its last five games, can redeem recent disappointments with a win tonight.

 

Tonight in Paxton, St. Joseph-Ogden has been resurgent since they dropped the first three of its season. The Spartans have won five straight, and are eligible for the postseason, as are the Panthers. The winner clinches its postseason birth, the other should have enough points to get in, but will wait Saturday for the official announcement.

 

The 4-4 Lincoln Railsplitters will have a chance to qualify for the postseason for the first time in roughly 35 years Friday when they host Troy-Triad. Triad is 6-2. Not only will the Railsplitters have its work cut out for them Friday, but if they pull out the upset, they will hope playoff points are enough as their week 1 over Clinton will reduce its points as the Maroons had its season impacted by COVID for two weeks.

 

Effingham, at 4-4 overall, will host 4-4 Highland with both teams looking to qualify for the postseason. 

 

The Heart of Illinois leaves little drama for this final week of the regular season. Tri-Valley, El Paso-Gridley, Dee-Mack, and Tremont are all locked in the large division of the conference. Only 4-4 Ridgeview, who is at LeRoy Friday, needs a win to qualify for the postseason. 

 

In the Central State Eight, Rochester (7-1), Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin (7-1), and Chatham-Glenwood (6-2) are locked into the postseason. Springfield High at 5-4, will take on Springfield Southeast Friday. The Senators are qualified for the postseason but will look to add to the CS8 teams to make the postseason with a win. 

 

Additionally, Jacksonville will host Decatur MacArthur Friday night. Both teams are 4-4. The winner qualifies for the postseason. 

 

The Big Twelve has four teams qualified for the postseason. Tonight's rivalry game between Normal Community (8-0, 7-0) and Normal West (6-2, 6-1) will determine the conference champion. Both teams are locked into the postseason, as are Peoria Notre Dame (6-3) and Peoria High (7-2). Peoria dropped Peoria Notre Dame 40-35 Thursday night. 

 

At 4-4, Champaign Centennial is at cross-town rival Champaign Central with a chance to qualify for the postseason. Champaign Central is 2-6. 

 

Bloomington High, at 4-4, will have its work cut out for themselves to qualify for the postseason. The Purple Raiders are at fourth-ranked Mahomet-Seymour. 

 

In the Mid-Illini Conference, Washington can clinch the conference title with a win tonight over East Peoria. Morton and Pekin have clinched postseason births with six wins. 

 

Dunlap and Metamora each are at five wins entering week 9. Dunlap hosts 6-2 Morton while Metamora is at Canton. 

 

Williamsville can wrap up the Sangamo Conference championship this Friday with a win over 4-4 Pittsfield. Athens and Maroa-Forsyth are in. The Trojans host 4-4 Riverton Friday night. 

 

Week 9 matchups this week:

 

8-Man Football

 

Decatur LSA at Milford (Sat.)
Blue Ridge at Peoria Heights
Flanagan-Cornell-Cornell-Woodland at Champaign St. Thomas More (Sat.)

 

Big Twelve

 

Peoria Richwoods at Peoria Manual
Urbana at Danville

 

Central State Eight

 

Decatur MacArthur at Jacksonville 
Rochester at Normal U-High
Springfield Lanphier at Decatur Eisenhower

 

Heart of Illinois 

 

El Paso-Gridley at Tri-Valley
Eureka at Dee-Mack
Fieldcerst at Tremont
Heyworth at G.C.M.S.
LeRoy vs. Ridgeview

 

Illini Prairie

 

Illinois Valley Central at Rantoul
Olympia at Pontiac

 

Lincoln Prairie

 

Oakland Tri-County (3-5)at Cerro Gordo-Bement (3-5)
Toledo-Cumberland (7-1) at Sangamon Valley (1-7)
Villa Grove (5-3) at Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond (4-4)

 

Mid-Illini

 

Morton at Dunlap
Pekin at Limestone
Washington at East Peoria

 

Non-Conference matchups tonight

 

Breese Mater Dei at Mt. Zion
Fisher at Ottawa Marquette (Sat.)

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Illinois State Looks to Get on Track at North Dakota Saturday

For the fourth week in a row, Illinois State (2-4, 0-3 MVFC) will have a tough test ahead of it as the Redbirds face their fourth-consecutive nationally ranked team in No. 15 South Dakota (5-2, 3-1 MVFC) at the DakotaDome in Vermillion.

 

One look at the Redbirds' schedule to start MVFC play and you knew it was going to be difficult. That run has proven to be very tough for the Redbirds, who have gone 0-3 against No. 7 Southern Illinois, No. 16 Missouri State and No. 3 North Dakota State. 

 

The Redbird defense recorded another pair of interceptions in their contest against North Dakota State, after the Bison came into the game with just one through their first five games.

 

The Redbirds have lost three straight and have played only three home games this year. They won't return home until Nov. 6 when they host Northern Iowa. 

 

Game time Saturday is at 2 pm local time.

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Illinois At Penn State Saturday

Penn State coach James Franklin originally planned to practice with two quarterbacks this week, neither named Sean Clifford.

 

But the third-year starter, who’s nursing an unspecified upper-body injury, participated with some passes. He also split snaps with Ta’Quan Roberson and Christian Veilleux on Wednesday.

 

Clifford’s return to the practice field doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll return to Beaver Stadium when the No. 7 Nittany Lions (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten) host Illinois (2-5, 1-3) on Saturday.

 

If Clifford does play, it would be his first action since he was knocked out of the loss to Iowa on Oct. 9. If he doesn’t, the Nittany Lions will turn to Roberson or true freshman Vellieux to attempt their fourth-straight win over the Illini.

 

Like Penn State, Illinois is coming off a bye, trying to get its offense going, possibly without starting quarterback Brandon Peters. He was injured during a shutout loss to Wisconsin on Oct. 9.

 

Illini coach Bret Bielema said he hoped to get Peters back, but noted on Monday he hasn’t been cleared to practice.

 

Sophomore Artur Sitkowski will start if Peters can’t. Sitkowski has completed 66 of 129 passes for 666 yards with six touchdowns and an interception this year.

 

Game time Saturday is 11 am central time and can be seen on ABC.

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Packers Host Washington Football Team

Washington's Taylor Heinicke grew up watching Green Bay Packers games on television and idolizing Brett Favre, their Hall of Fame quarterback.

 

Now the 28-year-old quarterback is about to match up with Favre's successor as Washington tries to cool off reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers and snap the Packers' five-game winning streak.

 

Green Bay (5-1) hasn't lost since falling to the New Orleans Saints on the season's opening week. Washington (2-4) is trying to avoid a third consecutive defeat.

 

The way Green Bay's schedule is constructed, this shapes up as a potential trap game for the Packers.

 

Green Bay is coming off consecutive road wins at Cincinnati and Chicago. The Packers visit the unbeaten Arizona Cardinals just four nights after the Washington game. They follow that up by traveling to Kansas City.

 

Washington running back Antonio Gibson (shin) and wide receiver Terry McLaurin (hamstring) didn't practice Wednesday, putting their availability for Sunday's game in question.

 

Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari is practicing with the Packers again after opening the season on the physically unable to perform list, which meant he couldn't play in the first six games. The Packers aren't saying yet just when Bakhtiari will return as he comes back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

 

Green Bay outside linebacker Preston Smith, who played for Washington from 2015-18, injured his oblique in a 24-14 victory at Chicago last weekend. His status for Sunday's game is uncertain.

 

Game time is noon local time Sunday.

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Eastern Hosts Tennessee State for Homecoming

Eastern Illinois hosts Tennessee State for the Panthers Homecoming Game this Saturday.  


EIU led No. 17 UT Martin last week at the half but could not hold on as the Panthers lost to fall to 1-6 overall, 1-1 in the Ohio Valley Conference.  

 

Tennessee State enters with a  3-3 record as the Tigers have won two straight including an OVC win over Tennessee Tech last Saturday to move TSU to 1-1 in the league standings.

 

Jason Johnson continues to make tackles as the third year linebacker posted his third straight double figure tackle game with 14 stops against UT Martin.  Johnson leads the OVC in tackles with 71 and ranks 12th in the FCS this season.

 

Wide receiver DeAirious Smith hauled in one pass against UT Martin good for a six-yard touchdown against UT Martin.  It was the third receiving touchdown of the season for Smith and his fourth overall touchdown.

 

Game time is 2 pm from Charleston on Saturday. Hear all the action on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW.

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Bears In Tampa to Take on Bucs

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach Bruce Arians likes what he's seen of rookie Justin Fields, noting the young quarterback not only has a strong arm but also the ability to give opposing defenses fits when he decides to tuck the ball and run.

 

Chicago might rank last in the NFL in total offense and be the only team in the league that averages more yards per game rushing than passing, but Arians says there are talented players around Fields who give the Bears (3-3) the potential to be more productive.

 

The Bucs held off Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles 28-22 last week in a game that wasn't as close as the final score. They have added incentive to keep tabs on Fields and the Bears after playing poorly last season during a 20-19 loss at Chicago.

 

It won't be easy for the Bears, who lead the NFL with 21 sacks, to replicate their success.

 

Tom Brady, who was still getting acclimated to new surroundings when the teams met a year ago, leads the NFL in passing yards (2,064) and is second in touchdown passes (17) through six games.

 

The Bears average 129 yards rushing compared to a league-low 117.2 passing. Throw in the fact the Bucs have the league's stingiest run defense (54.8 yards per game) and Chicago faces a tall task Sunday.

 

Tampa Bay leads the league in passing but is 28th in rushing. 

 

The Bears rank last in the NFL in total offense even though they are seventh in rushing. Clearly, they have work to do in the passing game.

 

Fields continues to show promise as well as having room to grow. The No. 11 overall draft pick led 80-yard touchdown drives in the first and fourth quarters against Green Bay, but the offense also stalled for a large part of that game.

 

Fields has thrown for 632 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in six games, including four starts. The former Ohio State star has been sacked 18 times for a league-leading 163 yards.

 

The Bears are 2-2 with Fields as their starter.

 

The Bears could be without one of their top pass rushers when they face another all-time great quarterback.

 

Chicago placed Robert Quinn on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday, putting the resurgent linebacker's status in question. The two-time Pro Bowl pick is second on the team to Khalil Mack with 5 1/2 sacks after finishing with two last season, his first with the Bears.

 

Mack (foot) and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (groin) are banged up, too.

 

Even at full strength, the Bears would be in for another tough task. Brady may not own the Bears the way Aaron Rodgers has over the years. But the three-time MVP is 5-1 in six games against Chicago.

 

Game time is 3:25 pm Sunday afternoon. 

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Packers Add LB Mercilus

In his 10th season with Houston, Whitney Mercilus was released by the one-win Texans on Tuesday. Contenders quickly called to express their interest.

 

Ultimately, Mercilus chose the Green Bay Packers on Wednesday and signed on Thursday. Just like that, he went from a rebuilding team to a championship contender that’s won five in a row.

 

While he joined the team too late to attend the morning meetings, he did practice on Thursday. Outside linebackers coach Mike Smith will give Mercilus a crash course in the scheme in hopes of giving him a role in Sunday’s game against Washington.

 

A free agent for the first time, Mercilus said Kansas City and Pittsburgh were among the teams that were interested. After talking to contacts around the league, along with Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst, coach Matt LaFleur and former Texans receiver and now current Packers receiver Randall Cobb, Mercilus signed with the outside linebacker-needy Packers.

 

The Packers have been hit hard by injuries and at outside linebacker, in particular, with Pro Bowler Za’Darius Smith and backups Chauncey Rivers and Randy Ramsey on injured reserve.

 

The other veteran starter, Preston Smith, is dealing with an oblique injury. By the end of Sunday’s victory at Chicago, Green Bay was down to 2019 first-round pick Rashan Gary, 2020 seventh-round pick Jonathan Garvin and La’Darius Hamilton, who was signed off Tampa Bay’s practice squad last month.

 

Enter the 31-year-old Mercilus, a first-round pick by the Texans in 2012 who was released by the team on Tuesday.

 

Mercilus has 57 sacks in nine-plus season. That includes three this season, but only one season of eight-plus sacks in his career. That was 2015, when he had 12.

 

With Za’Darius Smith questionable to return this season following back surgery, Green Bay is tied for ninth in the NFL with 14 sacks, but only tied for 19th with 53 pressures. The hope is Mercilus can bolster the pass rush and help offset the absence of All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander, who is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.

 

Mercilus is the latest veteran the Packers have signed to shore up a defense dealing with multiple injuries. The Packers signed linebacker Jaylon Smith two weeks ago, one day after the Dallas Cowboys released him.

 

The Packers enter Week 7 with a 5-1 record. Houston, meanwhile, is 5-17 since the start of last season and wanted to give Mercilus’ snaps to some younger players.

 

After Sunday’s game, Green Bay will face a series of games against top-flight offenses. That starts on a short week at Arizona on Thursday, followed by Kansas City, Seattle, Minnesota and the Los Angeles Rams before the Week 13 bye.

 

In terms of total offense, the Chiefs are second, the Vikings are fifth, the Cardinals are seventh and the Rams are eighth.

 

Perhaps the addition of Mercilus can help slow down those prolific teams.

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Canucks Roll Blackhawks

Jason Dickinson, Tanner Pearson and Brock Boeser scored their first goals of the season and the Vancouver Canucks beat the winless Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 on Thursday night.

 

Thatcher Demko made 29 saves and Conor Garland added an empty-netter with 1:02 left to help the Canucks (2-2-1) end a two-game slide. Vancouver scored two goals in the second period to take the lead for good in the fifth of a six-game road trip, its longest to start a season in team history.

 

Alex DeBrincat scored a power-play goal for sputtering Chicago, which dropped to 0-4-1. Kevin Lankinen was sharp in stopping 21 shots, but the Blackhawks again failed to cash in offensively despite outshooting the Canucks 30-25.

 

The Blackhawks have been outscored 21-9 this season and haven't led in any of their five games.

 

The Blackhawks saluted Patrick Kane's 1,000th game in a pregame video tribute and on-ice ceremony. Kane played the milestone game back on March 9 in Dallas, but wanted to wait to celebrate it in front of a full crowd at the United Center.

 

The Blackhawks host the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

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NASCAR Playoffs Headed to Kansas

Kyle Larson clinched a spot in the championship-deciding season finale with a win in Texas, his series-best eighth of the season. Now the rest of the playoff field will have two races to jockey their way to the Final Four in Phoenix as the next chance is Sunday in Kansas City. 

 

Joey Logano won after starting second last year. Ryan Blaney moved into second in the points race, 51 behind, with Denny Hamlin third, 59 back. Kyle Busch (-60) and Chase Elliott (-68) round out the top five. Logano crashed out of the race early and will likely have to win one of the next two races to make the finale. He and Hamlin share the lead among active drivers with three wins apiece at Kansas.

 

Larson had six career victories coming into this season. He will be contending for the championship in the season finale for the first time.

 

Race time is 3 pm local time Sunday. 

 

Meanwhile, the X-Finity Series is also stopped in Kansas City this week. 

 

John Hunter Nemechek overcame a late-race penalty and rallied to win in Texas.AJ Allmendinger’s lead over defending series champion Austin Cindric went from six points to four at Texas. Justin Allgaier is 26 points back, Noah Gragson 28 and Daniel Hemric 30. 

 

Nemechek became the fourth driver to win in the No. 54 for Joe Gibbs Racing this year, joining Kyle Busch, Ty Gibbs and Christopher Bell. 

 

Nemechek went from the lead to 18th position after a team member was penalized on a pit stop with 51 laps to go.

 

Chase Briscoe won after starting sixth.

 

Race time is 3 pm on Sunday. 

 

The Camping World Truck Series last raced at Talladega and is off another week, returning to the track next week in Martinsville.

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WHOW, WEZC to Air Annual High School Football Playoff Show Saturday

It's high school football postseason time in Illinois and Saturday night the pairings for the football playoffs get released by the IHSA.

 

WHOW 92.3 FM in DeWitt County, 106.5 FM in McLean County, the WHOW mobile app, Amazon Alexa, 95.9 FM WEZC, and dewittdailynews.com will air its yearly playoff show from 7 pm to 9 pm Saturday.

 

Hear as the pairings are released as well as from area coaches like Josh Roop at Tri-Valley, Jon Adkins at Mahomet-Seymour, Meridian Coach Micah Sheppard, Mt. Zion football coach Patrick Etherton, Cully Welter from Monticello, and more.

 

And be sure to tune in to 95.9 FM WEZC starting Saturday, October 30 for every Monticello Sages postseason football game. Sages postseason games will also be streamed at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Bulls Topple Pistons in Season Opener

Zach DeMar DeRozan had 17 points, and Lonzo Ball had 12 points in their Bulls debut as both players work on creating chemistry on the court with LaVine. LaVine scored 15 of his 34 points in the third quarter to spark sluggish Chicago, leading the Bulls to a 94-88 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night in the opener for both teams.

 

Detroit's Jerami Grant was off on an 11-foot baseline jumper with 50 seconds left, missing a chance to tie it. The Bulls sealed the victory by making free throws.

 

LaVine, an Olympian and All-Star, had a block and a steal to help hold Detroit to 40% shooting.

 

DeMar DeRozan had 17 points, and Lonzo Ball had 12 points in their Bulls debut as both players work on creating chemistry on the court with LaVine.

 

The Pistons were without rookie guard Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 overall pick, whose NBA debut was delayed by a sprained right ankle.

 

Grant led the Pistons with 24 points. Detroit's Saddiq Bey scored 13 points, Isaiah Stewart added 12 points and reserve Kelly Olynyk scored 10 points in his debut with the team.

 

Detroit missed 7 of 8 shots to open the game and Chicago failed to connect on 10 of its first 13 shots. By the end of the dismal first quarter, the Pistons led 20-14 as both teams failed to make more than 30% of their shots.

 

The Bulls hosts New Orleans on Friday night.

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Illinois LB Hansen's Career at Illinois Over After Knee Surgery

Illinois linebacker Jake Hansen will miss the rest of the season after having knee surgery.

Hansen, who was injured in the second quarter against Wisconsin on Oct. 9, made the announcement Wednesday on Twitter.

 

Hansen tweeted it pains me to say that I will not play another game as an Illinois football player.

 

Hansen’s 12 forced fumbles made him the NCAA’s active career leader and ranked second on the Illinois all-time chart behind Simeon Rice’s 13. He led the nation with 14 takeaways over the 2019-20 seasons.

 

In five games this season, Hansen had 32 tackles, including 2.5 for loss and a sack, to go with two forced fumbles.

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Hornets Edge Pacers in Season Opener

LaMelo Ball scored 31 points, hitting seven 3-pointers, and the Charlotte Hornets used a 24-0 third period run to battle back and beat the Indiana Pacers 123-122 on Wednesday night.

 

Indiana led 122-121 on Torrey Craig's foul shots with 12.7 left. P.J. Washington made two free throws with 4.6 seconds left before Domantas Sabonis missed from 11 feet to seal the Hornets' win.

 

Ball scored 12 points in the third-period run and finished with nine rebounds and seven assists. Gordon Hayward scored 27 for Charlotte, which got 14 each from newcomers Kelly Oubre Jr. and Ish Smith. Miles Bridges had 13 and Cody Martin 10 for the Hornets, who played without last year's leading scorer Terry Rozier.

 

Sabonis scored 33 points with 15 rebounds, Malcolm Brogdon had 28, and Chris Duarte chipped in with 27 for Indiana, which had a 21-point lead early in the second half. Justin Holiday added 11 for the Pacers.

 

Both teams had to overcome double-digit leads in the second half to set up a tense finish.

 

Indiana led the entire first half and appeared set for a second straight runaway victory in the series. In May, the Pacers' 20-7 opening run led to a 144-117 rout in a play-in game.

 

Wednesday, as Indiana pushed its lead past 20 to start the second half, Charlotte began its monstrous run with 8:48 to play in the third. Sabonis' basket gave Indiana an 84-63 lead. Ball took over from there, scoring 12 of Charlotte's 24 consecutive points, including two 3-pointers and a dunk.

 

Smith's basket gave Charlotte its first double-digit lead at 106-96. During the 24-0 Charlotte run, Indiana shot 0-for-8 and committed five turnovers over a 5 1/2-minute span. The Hornets outscored Indiana 33-13 in the period.

 

The Pacers are at Washington on Friday night.

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Blues Down Golden Knights to Continue Early Season Success

Vladimir Tarasenko broke a tie midway through the third period in St. Louis' 3-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday night.

 

Tarasenko's tenure with the St. Louis Blues was a hot topic during the offseason after he requested a trade earlier in the summer, and again after the team left the 29-year-old winger unprotected in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft.

 

The organization might be thankful he's still wearing a Blues sweater.

 

Brandon Saad and Ivan Barbashev added goals for the Blues. St. Louis won all three games on its season-opening trip, also beating Colorado 5-3 and Arizona 7-4.

 

William Karlsson opened the scoring for the Golden Knights, and Robin Lehner made 35 saves.

 

After averaging 30.5 shots on goal in their first two games, the Blues fired 38 on net Wednesday.

 

It was a critical mistake that cost Vegas, incidentally by former Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo.

 

On the tiebreaking goal, Pietrangelo turned the puck over in the neutral zone with a blind pass, giving the Blues a 3-on-0 rush. Taking a pass from Brayden Schenn, Jordan Kyrou fed Tarasenko for a one-timer past Lehner with 10:11 to play.

 

Vegas, meanwhile, played its first game without top-line forwards Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty, who are both injured.

 

The Blues host the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night for its home opener. 

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Monticello Down Another Spot Despite Big Win Friday in Latest 3A Poll

Despite overcoming the elements of consistent rain Friday and shutting down the Prairie Central prolific run game Friday in a 12-0 win in Fairbury, the Monticello Sages are down a spot in this week's 3A high school football rankings as the postseason looms starting next week.

 

Monticello was jumped by Mt. Carmel for 8th in this week's rankings, leaving Monticello at No. 9. Reed-Custer and Durand tied for tenth. IC Catholic jumped Wilmington for the top-ranking in this week's poll. The inexplicable shuffle of the 3A top five continued as Byron jumped Williamson after Friday wins. Unbeaten Tolono Unity, whose baffling drop in the poll to fifth after Monticello lost two weeks ago, remains fifth in the latest poll. 

 

Princeton and Farmington are sixth and seventh, respectively, this week.

 

Decatur St. Teresa holds down the top spot in 2A followed by Breese Mater Dei, Tri-Valley, Bismarck-Henning, and Pana. 

 

Athens, who beat Maroa-Forsyth Friday night, jumps to sixth this week followed by the Trojans, Knoxville, and Johnston City, and Vandalia tie for ninth to round out the 2A top ten.

 

The 1A top ten remains nearly unchanged. Carrollton is the top team this week. Abington and Lena-Winslow traded places for second and third, while Camp Point Central and Fulton round out the top-five, their same rankings from a week ago.

 

Forreston, Ottawa Marquette remains in place at sixth then seventh. St. Bede moved up a spot from ninth to eighth, Aurora Christian moved up to ninth from tenth and Toledo-Cumberland joins the top ten for the first time this season. 

 

Central A&M dropped out of the rankings this week. 

 

Joliet Catholic is the unanimous No. 1 in 4A. Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin remained at No. 2. Peoria Notre Dame moved up to eighth from tenth this week. Stillman Valley stayed at No. 9 while Breese Central joins the 4A rankings for the first time this week.

 

Rochester is the unanimous No. 1 in 5A. Mahomet-Seymour saw a big jump up to No. 4 from No. 6 last week. Peoria moved up from No. 7 to No. 5 this week. Morton dropped from the rankings.

 

Washington re-enters the Top 10 of the 6A poll at No. 10 this week. East St. Louis is the top team again this week.

 

In 7A, Normal Community remains steady at No. 7. Batavia is the top team in this week's 7A poll. 

 

Loyola is the unanimous No. 1 in 8A.

 

The high school football playoffs get started next week.

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WHOW, WEZC to Air Annual High School Football Playoff Show Saturday

It's high school football postseason time in Illinois and Saturday night the pairings for the football playoffs get released by the IHSA.

 

WHOW 92.3 FM in DeWitt County, 106.5 FM in McLean County, the WHOW mobile app, Amazon Alexa, 95.9 FM WEZC, and dewittdailynews.com will air the yearly show from 7 pm to 9 pm Saturday, 

 

Hear as the pairings are released as well as from area coaches like Josh Roop at Tri-Valley, Jon Adkins at Mahomet-Seymour, Cully Welter from Monticello, and many more.

 

And be sure to tune in to 95.9 FM WEZC starting Saturday, October 30 for every Monticello Sages postseason football game. Sages postseason games will also be streamed at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Bears LB Robert Quinn Goes on COVID List

The Chicago Bears placed linebacker Robert Quinn on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, possibly leaving them without one of their top pass rushers when they visit Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

 

The resurgent Quinn is second on the team to Khalil Mack with 5 1/2 sacks. The two-time Pro Bowl pick had two last season — his first in Chicago. The Bears (3-3) are tied with Minnesota for the league lead with 21 sacks.

 

Chicago placed defensive back Deon Bush on injured reserve with a quad injury. He was hurt in a loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

 

The Bears also promoted defensive back Teez Tabor from the practice squad to the active roster.

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Bulls Open Season Against Detroit Pistons

After trading for two-time All-Star center Nikola Vucevic at the deadline last March, they added four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan and point guard Lonzo Ball in the offseason. All those moves have the Bulls thinking better days are coming.

 

Star Zach LaVine has never played on a team that made the postseason. It’s something he hopes to change in his eighth year in the league and fifth with the Bulls.

 

Playing on an Olympic championship team was an experience LaVine will never forget. The high-scoring All-Star hopes the winning doesn’t stop there.

 

He would love nothing more than to make the playoffs at long last, and the Bulls might be in position to do just that.

 

LaVine set career highs last season in points per game (27.4), field-goal percentage (50.7) and 3-point accuracy (41.9%) and made his first All-Star team. He followed that up with a gold medal playing for the United States in Tokyo, an experience he said was “incredible.”

 

Now, he has his sights set on making the Eastern Conference playoffs. And so do the Bulls, after four straight losing seasons.

 

The changes have the Bulls thinking they’re ready to make a big jump in the Eastern Conference after finishing 11th at 31-41 in their first year under coach Billy Donovan.

Their most recent playoff appearance was in 2017. They haven’t advanced in the postseason since 2015, when they beat Milwaukee and got knocked out by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference finals. Former coach Tom Thibodeau was then fired.

 

The Bulls open the season tonight at Detroit.

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Islanders Down Blackhawks

Ilya Sorokin made 39 saves and Oliver Wahlstrom scored twice in the third period, helping the Islanders beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 on Tuesday night.

 

Cal Clutterbuck and Anthony Beauvillier also scored as New York improved to 1-2-0 on its opening 13-game road trip. The Islanders don't play their first home game at the new UBS Arena until Nov. 20.

 

Chicago outplayed New York for long stretches in its home opener, but remained winless during a sluggish 0-3-1 start. Coach Jeremy Colliton was booed by the crowd during pregame introductions, and there were more boos as the Islanders pulled away in the third.

 

MacKenzie Entwistle scored for Chicago with 26 seconds left, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 stops.

 

The Blackhawks have been outscored 17-8 this season. They haven't led in any of their four games.

 

Blackhawks winger Jujhar Khaira then fought with Matt Martin, but it wasn't enough to wake up his struggling team.

 

The Blackhawks paid tribute to longtime goaltender Tony Esposito with a pregame video that included fellow Hall of Famer Chris Chelios leading the crowd in chants of ''Tony! Tony!'' Esposito died in August following a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.

 

The Blackhawks host the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.

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Pacers Start New Season in Charlotte

The Indiana Pacers open the 2021-22 season tonight on the road against the jump-start Charlotte Hornets.

 

Charlotte finished 33-39 overall and 20-22 in Eastern Conference games in the 2020-21 season. The Hornets averaged 17.7 points off of turnovers, 12.7second-chance points and 34.7 bench points last season.

 

Indiana went 34-38 overall and 20-22 in Eastern Conference games in the 2020-21 season. The Pacers averaged 27.4 assists per game on 43.3 made field goals last season.

 

The memory of an embarrassing 144-117 loss to the Indiana Pacers in the NBA play-in game last May is never far from the mind of Miles Bridges and many of his returning Charlotte Hornets teammates.

 

The Hornets are healthy now and have added veteran center Mason Plumlee and forward Kelly Oubre Jr. via free agency along with guard James Bouknight and forward Kai Jones in the first round of the NBA draft.

 

New Pacers coach Rick Carlisle believes Malcolm Brogdon is a natural in the leading role.

 

Brogdon’s resume includes a master’s degree in public policy and leadership from the University of Virginia and a charitable foundation that promotes education and clean water in Africa.

 

It just took some time for Brogdon to find his opening on the court. He wasn’t a regular starter In Milwaukee until his third season, and when he arrived in Indiana, two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo was the Pacers’ voice.

 

When Oladipo was traded away in January, the Pacers suddenly had a leadership void — one Pritchard believed went unfilled in part because COVID-19 restrictions prevented players from getting together in large gatherings.

 

The Pacers slid from third in points allowed per game to 25th last season, at 115.3 points. That’s not acceptable to Carlisle, who already has made it clear he expects Indiana to be a much better defensive team.

 

Center Myles Turner and two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis are back again this season and they’re already hearing the same, old question — can they play together? Carlisle insists they can while Turner and Sabonis insist they enjoy teaming up.

 

Injuries have prevented the Pacers from reaching their full potential in recent years and they may already be starting to take a toll this season.

 

T.J. Warren, Indiana’s top scorer in 2019-20, is out indefinitely as he continues to recover from left foot surgery and forward Caris LeVert was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back.

 

Indiana hopes LeVert can play in tonight's season opener at Charlotte and Warren returns in weeks.

 

Indiana will be challenged right out of the gate, too.

 

There’s a four-game West Coast swing in early November with stops at Portland, Denver and Utah, followed by a home game against the 76ers and a three-game road trip against the East. The Pacers also face the Lakers and Milwaukee in Thanksgiving week. They visit Milwaukee on Dec. 15 — their third matchup against the defending champs in 66 days.

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WHOW, WEZC to Air Annual High School Football Playoff Show Saturday

It's high school football postseason time in Illinois and Saturday night the pairings for the football playoffs get released by the IHSA.

 

WHOW 92.3 FM in DeWitt County, 106.5 FM in McLean County, the WHOW mobile app, Amazon Alexa, 95.9 FM WEZC, and dewittdailynews.com will air the yearly show from 7 pm to 9 pm Saturday, 

 

Hear as the pairings are released as well as from area coaches like Josh Roop at Tri-Valley, Jon Adkins at Mahomet-Seymour, Cully Welter from Monticello, and many more.

 

And be sure to tune in to 95.9 FM WEZC starting Saturday, October 30 for every Monticello Sages postseason football game. Sages postseason games will also be streamed at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Lady Maroons Volleyball Sweeps Argenta-Oreana

The Clinton Lady Maroons volleyball team swept the Argenta-Oreana Lady Bombers in two sets, 25-19 and 25-10 Monday night in non-conference at Clinton High School.

 

The Lady Maroons travel to Meridian Thursday to wrap up its regular season. 

 

They will take on Warrensburg-Latham Monday to start postseason play at Maroa-Forsyth High School. 

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Blues Blast Coyotes

Jordan Kyrou had two goals and two assists, and the St. Louis Blues scored five times in a 5:07 span of the second period for a 7-4 victory over Arizona in the Coyotes' home opener Monday night.

 

Kyrou and Klim Kostin had two goals apiece during the second-period flurry, which began when Justin Faulk scored on a power play to tie it 2-all at 11:10 after goalie Carter Hutton lost his stick during a scramble in the crease.

 

Kyrou scored his first goal after a Coyotes giveaway at 12:46 to give the Blues a 3-2 lead, and Kostin got two goals 47 seconds apart to make it 5-2 as Arizona had trouble getting the puck out of its own end.

 

Hutton was pulled for Karel Vejmelka after Kyrou skated in alone to cap the scoring burst for a 6-2 lead at 16:17.

 

Pavel Buchnevich and Ivan Barbashev also scored for the Blues, who have won the first two games of a season-opening three-game road trip.

 

Jordan Binnington made 22 saves for the Blues. 

 

Buchnevich was given a five-minute major penalty and ejected with 1:07 remaining in the first period for headbutting Lawson Crouse, whose goal gave the Coyotes a 2-1 lead early in the second.

 

The Blues play at Vegas on Wednesday. They have not opened with three straight on the road since 2006.

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Week 8 High School Football Scores

Central Illinois:

 

Decatur St. Teresa 42, Shelbyville 6, F

Tuscola 15, Warrensburg-Latham 3, F

 

Illini Prairie:

 

Bloomington Central Catholic 27, Olympia 14, F

Paxton-Buckley-Loda 0, Tolono Unity 35, F

Pontiac 19, Illinois Valley Central 34, F

Rantoul 6, St. Joseph-Ogden 29, F

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Maroons Fall to Hawks

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons fell to the Meridian Hawks by a score of 18-7 on Friday night. Senior quarterback Ethan Boyer was 4 of 15 passing for 40 yards and 2 interceptions. He had 14 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown. The Maroons' defense was led by the DeWitt/Piatt SerPro Player of the Game Trevor Willis.

 

The Hawks were led by senior quarterback Drew Hurelbrink who was 10 of 19 passing for 114 yards. Hurelbrink had 13 carries for 131 yards and a touchdown.

 

With the loss, the Maroons fall to 1-7 on the season. Meridian improves to 5-3 overall and is playoff eligible.

 

Tune in next week, Friday, September 22, as the Maroons welcome Iroquois West to Sprague Field. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW mobile app, and on Amazon Alexa. Kickoff is set for 7pm with the broadcast beginning shortly before.

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Monticello Defeats Prairie Central

As heard on WEZC, the Monticello Sages defeated the Prairie Central Hawks by a score of 12-0 Friday night. Center/linebacker Lucas Courson was the Piatt/DeWitt Counties ServPro Player of the Game.

 

With the win, Monticello improves to 7-1. Prairie Central falls to 6-2.

 

Tune in next Friday night, October 22, as Monticello hosts Tolono Unity for the Illini Praire Conference championship.

 

 

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Five Clinton Cross Country Runners Make All-Conference

The Clinton Lady Maroons cross country team qualified four runners for All-Conference and Drew Moser qualified for the boy's All-Conference at the Central Illinois Conference Cross Country meet at Wimple Park in Tuscola Thursday.

 

Moser set a personal best, running 17-minutes, 15-seconds, a six-second differential from his previous best.

 

Pictured left to right: MaKayla Koeppel, Lexi Lord, Drew Moser, Clare Holland and Amerie Hemphill

 

Lexi Lord set a personal best and took home the Conference championship finishing first and is the seventh runner in Clinton High School history to break the 20-minute mark and tied the fourth-best time in school history.

 

Clare Holland finished second with another personal record of 20-minutes, 15-seconds. Her time cut off 28-seconds from her previous best of 20-minutes, 43-seconds. Holland went from a 15th place finish as a freshman to an 11th place finish as a sophomore, then 8th last year, her junior year, and second-place as a senior.

 

MaKayla Koeppel finished third with a personal best of 20-minutes, 38-seconds. It was 12-seconds ahead of her previous best. Koeppel finished fourth in the conference last year.

 

Amerie Hemphill was the final all-conference qualifier finished with a personal best of 21-minutes, 45-seconds. At the 400-meter mark of the race, Hemphill was in 11th place around 35-meters behind 10th place, and finished strong to pass for 10th. Her late rally earned her the athlete of the meet.

 

Chloe Barth, Missy Hale, Autumn Brinkoetter and Maddi Leonard all set personal bests at the conference meet for the girls. 

 

Talan Thrasher, Preston Daniels, and Colin Jameson set personal bests at the conference meet while Aidan Shanks and Jade Carlos Gustafson set course personal records Thursday.

 

The postseason is up next for the Maroons. 

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Maroons Ready for Meridian

The Clinton Maroons will hit the road for Week 8 of the high school football season when they travel to Meridian tonight for Central Illinois Conference football action. 

 

The Maroons lost a close Homecoming game to Warrensburg-Latham 30-22 last Friday night. Coach Ron Bass felt his team played hard and is pleased with the response after announcing last week he would be dividing the team into a senior-led group and a group of younger players coming back next year.

 

 

The Maroons travel to Meridian and the 4-3 Hawks are in a position to qualify for the postseason with a win Friday. Coach Bass noted the opportunities they created for themselves in a crucial win over Shelbyville. 

 

 

The Maroons come into tonight's game at 1-5 overall with a week four forfeit on its resume. Tonight's action kicks at 7 pm and can be heard on WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, at the WHOW mobile app, and at Amazon Alexa.

 

Central Illinois Conference action tonight...

 

Decatur St. Teresa at Shelbyville

Tuscola at Warrensburg-Latham

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Monticello Travels to Prairie Central Tonight

You have to go back to week 8 of the regular season in 2019 the last time Monticello lost a regular-season football game until last week's 16-15 heartbreaker at PBL.

 

The 6-1 Sages will look to rebound tonight when they hit the road for the second straight week traveling to Fairbury to take on Prairie Central in week 8 Illini Prairie high school football action. Coach Cully Welter called it an ugly game. Sidetracked by delays at several points over confusion by the officials, Monticello struggled to find a rhythm offensively.

 

 

The Hawks have a prolific run game that has helped them to six-straight wins, entering play at 6-1 overall. Coach Welter is again concerned with the size of Prairie Central like PBL anticipates the Hawks being a hard-nosed, physical team. 

 

 

Coach Welter says the Hawks have shown a couple of different defensive schemes so they will plan for everything they've seen on film. Monticello still has a chance to win the conference title with a win tonight and then would have to win a showdown with Tolono Unity next Friday night which would be for the Illini Prairie Conference title. 

 

Illini Prairie action tonight...

 

Bloomington Central Catholic at Olympia

Paxton-Buckley-Loda at Tolono Unity

Pontiac at Illinois Valley Central

Rantoul at St. Joseph-Ogden

 

Week 8 matchups...

 

8-Man Football

 

Champaign St. Thomas More at Martinsville

Edwardsville Metro-East Lutheran at Decatur LSA

Flanagan-Cornell-Woodland at Pawnee (Sat.)

South Beloit at Blue Ridge

 

Apollo

 

Charleston at Mt. Zion

Lincoln at Taylorville

Mattoon at Mahomet-Seymour

 

Central State Eight

 

Chatham-Glenwood at Springfield Lanphier

Decatur MacArthur at Springfield (Sat.)

Jacksonville at Decatur Eisenhower

Normal U-High at Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin

Springfield Southeast at Rochester

 

Heart of Illinois

 

Tri-Valley at Eureka

Dee-Mack at Fieldcrest

Tremont at El Paso-Gridley

Ridgeview at Heyworth

Fisher at LeRoy

 

Mid-Illini

 

Limestone at Morton

Canton at Dunlap

East Peoria at Pekin

Metamora at Washington

 

Sangamo

 

Athens at Maroa-Forsyth

 

Non-Conference

 

Effingham at Breese Mater Dei

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley at Forreston (Sat.)

Central A & M at Central (Sat.)

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Illinois on Bye This Week

The Illinois Fighting Illini will be searching for answers during its bye week this week. 

 

After a season-opening win over Nebraska, the Illini have lost five of their last six, its latest a 24-0 Homecoming defeat to Wisconsin. 

 

The Illini are at Penn State next Saturday with a national TV broadcast on ABC at 11 am.

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ISU Comes Out of Bye Hosting North Dakota State for Homecoming

Following a bye week, Illinois State (2-3, 0-2 MVFC) will welcome back alumni and fans to campus for the 100th Homecoming celebration this weekend, when the Redbirds host No. 3 ranked North Dakota State (5-0, 2-0 MVFC) at Hancock Stadium.

 

Heading into the game against Missouri State, talented redshirt freshman Jabari Khepera had just six receptions dating back to last spring in eight games played. Against No. 16 Missouri State, Khepera nearly tied that mark with five receptions and set career-highs with 107 yards receiving against the Bears in a breakout performance.

 

The Texas native caught his first career touchdown, a 75-yard bomb from fellow freshman quarterback Jackson Waring, and averaged 21.4 yards per reception in the contest. He now ranks second on the team in receiving and is averaging 13.9 yards per grab on the year.

 

In just his second career start, Jackson Waring came out strong in the first half of the Redbirds' game against Missouri State. Facing stout fronts shutting down the running game, Waring took the top off the defense with long completions of 30, 24, 59, 23, 75 and 17 yards. He also threw the first three touchdowns of his young career, including the 75-yard strike to Khepera midway through the second quarter. He would finish the game with a career-high 318 yards passing and is now completing 61.3 percent of his passes on the year.

 

Game time is 2 pm Saturday in Normal.

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Eastern Illinois Comes Out of Bye Week Hosting UT-Martin for Homecoming Weekend

Eastern Illinois and UT Martin will meet on Saturday afternoon with the winner emerging as the lone undefeated team in the Ohio Valley Conference.   

 

The Panthers are 1-5 overall, but 1-0 in the OVC following a conference-opening win at Tennessee Tech on Sept. 25.  EIU is coming off a bye week in the schedule after playing a non-conference game at Murray State.   

 

UT Martin won its OVC opener last weekend with a home win over Murray State as the Skyhawks improved to 4-1 overall, 1-0 in the OVC.  

 

Jason Johnson turned in his second straight big tackle performance finishing with 12 tackles at Murray State.  Johnson now leads the OVC in tackles with 57 including 33 solo tackles and five tackles for loss.

 

Russell Dandy was named the Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player and Newcomer of the Week following the Panthers last contest on Oct. 2 at Murray State. 

 

Arron Foulkes hauled in seven passes for 132 yards in the Panthers last game at Murray State.  The day included a 54-yard touchdown reception from Chris Katrenick early in the fourth quarter. 

 

Game time is 2 pm Saturday from Charleston. Hear the action starting at 1:30 pm with the pregame on WHOW.

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Bears, Packers Meet in Chicago Sunday

Given where they were a few weeks ago, the Chicago Bears' odds of grabbing a share of the NFC North lead seemed about as long as a Hail Mary pass.

 

Back-to-back wins have them in a position to do just that. The problem is they're facing a big obstacle with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers standing in their way.

 

The Bears will try to clear it and move into a first-place tie with Green Bay when they host their rival Sunday.

 

For the Bears, wins over Rodgers and the Packers (4-1) have been few and far between. Green Bay has won 19 of the past 22 meetings counting the playoffs, and the Packers are 21-5 against Chicago in games Rodgers has started. In one of the losses, he left with an injury after the opening series.

 

The Packers have won four straight since getting trounced by New Orleans 38-3 in the season opener in Jacksonville. They escaped in overtime at Cincinnati last week, 25-22.

 

Injuries have forced the Packers to play without 2020 All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee), 2020 Pro Bowl cornerback Jaire Alexander (shoulder) and 2020 Pro Bowl outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith (back).

 

Bakhtiari hasn't played all season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament on Dec. 31, though he's getting closer to a return. Smith hasn't played since the season opener. Alexander will be missing a second straight game.

 

The Bears are also banged up.

They could be without their top two rushers, with David Montgomery (sprained knee) on injured reserve and Damien Williams placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday. RT Germain Ifedi (knee) is on IR.

 

Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (groin) did not play last week. Fields suffered knee and rib injuries and missed a few plays against the Raiders.

 

Linebacker Khalil Mack (foot) and receiver Allen Robinson (ankle) were also dealing with injuries.

 

Green Bay's Davante Adams leads the NFL in catches (42) and yards receiving (579), and he's coming off a performance in which he caught 11 passes for a career-high 206 yards.

 

Adams has nearly 2 1/2 times more catches and over three times as many yards receiving as any of his teammates. Running back Aaron Jones ranks second on the team in catches with 17, while Randall Cobb ranks second in yards receiving with 157.

 

Game time is noon Sunday.

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NASCAR Playoffs Start Round of 8 in Texas

Kyle Larson won his record third road race of the season — and series-high seventh victory overall — on the Roval at Charlotte expanding his lead over Denny Hamlin by 35 points, Martin Truex Jr. by 36 and Ryan Blaney by 41 as the NASCAR playoffs round of eight opens at Texas Motorspeedway Sunday for the EchoPark Automotive 500.

 

Others still in championship contention include former champions Kyle Busch (2015, 2019), defending champion Chase Elliott, Joey Logano (2018) and Brad Keselowski (2012). 

 

2014 champion Kevin Harvick failed to advance past the second round for the first time since the format was introduced in 2014. Also eliminated were Alex Bowman, Christopher Bell and William Byron.

 

Harvick nearly knocked Elliot from the playoffs with a mid-race takeout but Elliot recovered and fought his way back into contention, getting close to Harvick late in the race and seemingly forced Harvick to over-maneuver a turn and totaled the front end of his Ford Mustang, ending his day and his championship hopes.

 

The question coming into Texas is - is the dispute over? Harvick has not said it is or isn't. Elliot says he's focused on defending his title. 

 

Race time Sunday is 2 pm. 

 

The XFinity Series will run Saturday at 3 pm.

 

A.J. Allmendinger won for the fifth time this season, and the third consecutive year on the Charlotte Roval, to advance to the playoffs’ round of eight.

 

Allmendinger jumped from fourth to first in the points race, six better than defending series champion Austin Cindric. Justin Allgaier is 29 points back, Noah Gragson 33 back and Daniel Hemric 34 behind. 

 

Joining Allmendinger and Cindric in the next playoff round are Hemric, Justin Haley, Brandon Jones, Gragson, Allgaier and Harrison Burton. Jeb Burton, Myatt Snider, Jeremy Clements and Riley Herbst were eliminated.

 

Burton won in Texas last year after starting 12th.

 

Both circuits head to Kansas next weekend. 

 

The Camping World Truck Series is off until Oct. 30 when the series is in Martinsville. 

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Clinton High School Cross Country Squad Heads to Conference Meet Today

The Clinton Maroons cross country teams will hit the road this afternoon for the Central Illinois Conference meet in Tuscola.

 

Co-head coach Rachel Anderson-Lyons says this is the championship phase of their season. She points out this year's team has a lot of female runners.

 

 

According to Coach Anderson-Lyons, sophomore runner Drew Moser has shown the most progress from his time running as a freshman. She credits his work ethic in the off-season and his leadership in setting the example for young runners.

 

 

Co-head coach Leanne Sosamon says the girl's team has a dynamic trio for its top 3 runners. Coach Sosamon says Lexi Lord, MaKayla Koeppel, and Claire Holland have a great chance to lead the Maroons to state this year.

 

 

The Maroons head to the Conference meet at Wimple Park in Tuscola. After the conference meet, the Maroons head to the post-season and Regionals. 

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Clinton High School Cross Country Squad Heads to Conference Meet Today

The Clinton Maroons cross country teams will hit the road this afternoon for the Central Illinois Conference meet in Tuscola.

 

Co-head coach Rachel Anderson-Lyons says this is the championship phase of their season. She points out this year's team has a lot of female runners.

 

 

According to Coach Anderson-Lyons, sophomore runner Drew Moser has shown the most progress from his time running as a freshman. She credits his work ethic in the off-season and his leadership in setting the example for young runners.

 

 

Co-head coach Leanne Sosamon says the girl's team has a dynamic trio for its top 3 runners. Coach Sosamon says Lexi Lord, MaKayla Koeppel, and Claire Holland have a great chance to lead the Maroons to state this year.

 

 

The Maroons head to the Conference meet at Wimple Park in Tuscola. After the conference meet, the Maroons head to the post-season and Regionals. 

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Avalanche Double Up Blackhawks in Season Opener

Bowen Byram, Colorado's youngest player at 20 years, 4 months, scored his first NHL goal and added an assist, and 34-year-old Jack Johnson also scored to lead the short-handed Avalanche over the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 in the season opener for both teams Wednesday night.

 

Johnson, who is 8 days older than teammate Darren Helm, made the team on a professional tryout and made an immediate impact with the first goal of the game.

 

Nazem Kadri and Gabriel Landeskog each had a goal and an assist for Colorado, which played without star center Nathan MacKinnon and head coach Jared Bednar. Both are in the COVID-19 protocol and away from the club.

 

Darcy Kuemper stopped 32 shots in his Avalanche debut.

 

Kuemper, acquired from Arizona in the offseason, wasn't tested early but made two big saves on Kirby Dach in the second period. Dach had a breakaway at 12:02, but Kuemper closed the pads on his shot. Minutes later, Dach had another wide-open chance from the left circle that Kuemper stopped.

 

Colorado got a measure of revenge against Chicago goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who helped Vegas beat the Avalanche in the second round of the 2020-21 playoffs. Fleury faced a barrage of pucks early as Colorado had 17 of the first 19 shots on goal.

The Blackhawks got on the board late in the first period when forward Dominik Kubalik scored on the power play at 16:47, cutting the Avalanche's lead to 3-1.

 

Connor Murphy scored an unassisted goal at 15:13 of the third period. Chicago went on the power play at 16:26 and pulled Fleury for a 6-on-4 advantage, but couldn't score.

 

The Blackhawks are at the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.

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Monticello Falls to No. 8 in 3A After Friday Night Loss

The Monticello Sages have tumbled all the way to No. 8 in the latest AP high school football Class 3A polls.

 

Monticello lost 16-15 Friday night at Paxton-Buckley-Loda. Wilmington and IC Catholic received the first place votes to come in at 1-2, respectively. Williamsville and Byron jumped Tolono Unity to round out the top five. 

 

Princeton and Farmington are sixth and seventh and Mt. Carmel and Durand return to the poll to round out the top ten. 

 

In Class 1A, Carrollton jumped Lena-Winslow for the No. 1 spot. Abingdon, Camp Point Central and Fulton round out the top 5. Forreston, Ottawa Marquette, Central A&M, St. Bede and Aurora Christian round out the top 10.

 

In 2A, Decatur St. Teresa remains the unanimous No. 1 followed by Breese Mater Dei, Tri-Valley, Maroa-Forsyth and Bismarck-Henning. Pana, Knoxville, Athens, Bishop McNamara and Clifton Central round out the top 10.

 

Joliet Catholic is the unanimous No. 1 in 4A. Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin, Richmond-Burton, Kewanee, and Genoa-Kingston round out the top 5. 

 

Chicago Phillips, St. Francis, Coal City, Stillman Valley Peoria Notre Dame round out the top 10.

 

In 5A, Rochester is the unanimous No. 1 team. Mahomet-Seymour stays at No. 6 and Peoria moves up a spot to No. 7. 

 

East St. Louis is the No. 1 team in 6A.

 

Normal Community stayed put at No. 7 in the latest 7A poll with Batavia taking over No. 1 in the latest poll. 

 

Loyola is the unanimous No. 1 in 8A.

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Lady Maroons Swim Team Competes in Jacksonville

The Clinton Lady Maroons swim team competed Monday in Jacksonville.

 

The 200-yard freestyle relay consisting of Ella Steward, Addie Koritz, Grace Dempsey, & Jessica West took first place. The 200-yard medley relay team with Chloe Barth, West, Erica Mills, and Dempsey and the 400-yard freestyle relay team with Dempsey, Koritz, Lexi Lord, and Steward each brought home 2nd place.

 

West also won the 100-yard freestyle and took second in the 50-yard freestyle. Koritz took second in the 100-yard freestyle and third in the 100-yard backstroke. 

 

Mills took second in the 500-yard freestyle and third in the 50-yard freestyle. 

 

Steward finished fourth in the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard breaststroke while Lord finished fourth in the 50-yard freestyle.

 

Barth finished sixth in the 200-yard freestyle while Dempsey took seventh in the 100-yard freestyle.

 

The Lady Maroons go to Olympia High School on Tuesday, October 26. 

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Blackhawks Open 2021-22 Season Tonight

The Colorado Avalanche had Stanley Cup title hopes last year, but those were thwarted by Marc-Andre Fleury and the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round of the playoffs.

 

Wednesday night the Avalanche revisit some of those bad memories. Not against Vegas, but against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks at Denver in the season opener for both teams.

 

Colorado will be short-handed for the opener. Head coach Jared Bednar has been away from the team after testing positive for COVID-19 last week and star center Nathan MacKinnon was put in the COVID-19 protocol Tuesday after testing positive for the virus.

 

Neither will be with the team on Wednesday night.

 

While adding a Stanley Cup-winning goaltender and veteran of deep playoff runs is newsworthy, most of the attention in Chicago will be on center Jonathan Toews and his return to the ice. Toews has not played a meaningful game since the 2019-20 season, opting out of last year due to his diagnosis of chronic immune response syndrome.

 

He began practicing with the team in June and has upped his workload in training camp and the preseason and is expected to be active for Wednesday night.

 

Toews captained Chicago to three titles from 2010-15 but the Blackhawks have slipped since. They weren't in the Edmonton bubble in 2020 and didn't make the playoffs last year. Their hope is the addition of Fleury and Toews will make them better.

 

Chicago rounded out its roster by signing veteran defenseman Erik Gustafsson to a one-year deal after placing Caleb Jones on the injured list with a left wrist injury.

 

Colorado enters this season as a serious Cup contender after a busy offseason. The Avalanche had to make tough decisions in the summer, opting to sign captain Gabriel Landeskog and dynamic defenseman Cale Makar to long-term deals and letting goaltender Philipp Grubauer leave via free agency.

 

Sakic then traded for goalie Darcy Kuemper to be the No. 1 goaltender. He also dealt defenseman Ryan Graves to New Jersey before the expansion draft.

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Astros Eliminate White Sox

Jose Altuve hit a three-run homer and scored four times, and Houston eliminated the Chicago White Sox with a 10-1 victory in Game 4 of their AL Division Series on Tuesday and the Astros are going to the AL Championship Series for the fifth straight year.

 

Correa and Bregman each hit a two-run double as the Astros bounced back from Sunday night's 12-6 loss with their usual relentless brand of baseball. Michael Brantley had three hits and two RBIs.

 

Next up for Altuve and company is Game 1 of the ALCS against former Astros bench coach Alex Cora and the Boston Red Sox on Friday in Houston. The Red Sox eliminated Tampa Bay with a 6-5 victory in Game 4 on Monday night.

 

Gavin Sheets connected for Chicago, becoming the third rookie in franchise history to homer in a postseason game. But Carlos Rodon was knocked out in the third inning of his first start since Sept. 29, and the AL Central champions left eight runners on base.

 

The White Sox also lost in the first round of the 2020 playoffs, dropping two of three in Oakland. Before this year, the franchise had never made consecutive postseason appearances.

 

Lance McCullers also pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings in Houston's 6-1 victory in Game 1 on Thursday. If he can't go in the ALCS, it would be a big blow for the Astros.

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White Sox, Astros Game 4 Rained Out

The Houston Astros  will look to clinch a series win with a victory over Chicago in Game 4 of the ALDS after Monday afternoon's game was postponed due to rain in the forecast.

 

The White Sox won Sunday 12-6. Michael Kopech notched his first victory and Leury Garcia went 2-for-5 with a double, a home run and four RBIs for Chicago. Yimi Garcia took his first loss for Houston.

 

Lance McCullers (1-0, 3.16 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 185 strikeouts) gets the ball for Houston while the White Sox turn to Carlos Rodon (0-0, 2.37 ERA, .95 WHIP, 185 strikeouts).

 

Game time is 1:07 pm local time and can be heard on WHOW.

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Blackhawks Agree to Deal With D Gustafsson

The Chicago Blackhawks brought back Erik Gustafsson on Monday, agreeing to a one-year contract with the free-agent defenseman.

 

Gustafsson was released by the New York Islanders on Sunday. The deal with Chicago is worth $800,000.

 

The return of Gustafsson bolsters the Blackhawks’ blue line after they lost young defensemen Caleb Jones and Wyatt Kalynuk to injuries. Jones sprained his left wrist, and Kalynuk sprained his right ankle.

 

Jones was placed on long-term injured reserve on Monday, and Kalynuk and defenseman Alec Regula went on IR. Regula is dealing with lower back trouble.

 

The Blackhawks visit Colorado on Wednesday for their season opener.

 

The 29-year-old Gustafsson made his NHL debut with Chicago in 2015. He set career highs with 17 goals and 43 assists in 79 games for the Blackhawks during the 2018-19 season.

 

He was traded to Calgary in February 2020 for a third-round draft pick. He played for Philadelphia and Montreal last season, finishing with a goal and 11 assists in 29 games. Gustafsson has 30 goals and 109 assists in 281 NHL games.

 

The Blackhawks also re-assigned four players to Rockford of the AHL; forwards MacKenzie Entwistle and Philipp Kurashev, and goaltenders Collin Delia and Malcolm Subban.

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White Sox Offense Comes Alive As They Stave Off Elimination

As heard on WHOW, Leury Garcia and Grandal homered, and Yasmani Grandal's borderline baserunning helped the White Sox top the Houston Astros 12-6 on Sunday night to stay alive in their AL Division Series.

 

Backed by a boisterous crowd of 40,288, the AL Central champions erased a 5-1 deficit in the franchise's first home playoff game in 13 years, trimming Houston's series edge to 2-1. Tim Anderson collected three more hits, and Ryan Tepera started a stellar finish for Chicago's bullpen after Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech (1-0) struggled.

 

Houston was hoping to sweep its way into its fifth consecutive appearance in the AL Championship Series. The AL West champions got off to a fast start behind Kyle Tucker, but they went down in order in the last five innings.

 

The playoff-tested Astros rolled into Chicago after a pair of impressive victories at home, then jumped out to a 5-1 lead in Game 3. The sweet-swinging Tucker hit a two-run double off Cease in the second and a two-run homer off Kopech in the third.

Houston's fast start silenced the towel-waving crowd, but it got revved up again in the bottom half of the third.

 

After Grandal's two-run shot just over the wall in left made it 5-3, Yoan Moncada and Gavin Sheets reached on two-out singles. Leury Garcia then looked at two balls from Luis Garcia before Baker replaced his starting pitcher with Yimi Garcia (0-1).

 

The winner of the Garcia trilogy was Leury, listed at 5-foot-8 and 190 pounds. The versatile veteran drove a 3-1 pitch from Yimi Garcia deep to center for a 436-foot homer.

 

The game was tied at 6 when the White Sox went ahead to stay with three runs in the fourth - highlighted by a memorable run by Grandal that rankled Baker and the Astros.

 

After Jose Abreu's tiebreaking RBI single put runners on the corners with none out, Grandal hit a bouncer to Yuli Gurriel at first. Gurriel tried to come home, but his throw went went off Grandal as the catcher sprinted up the line in the infield grass.

 

Luis Robert scored, taking out umpire Tom Hallion in the process, and Gurriel was charged with an error. The Astros lobbied for an interference call on Grandal, but the umpires huddled and left the play in place.

 

Eloy Jimenez capped the big fourth with his second RBI single, and the White Sox put it away with three more runs in the eighth. Leury Garcia doubled in Andrew Vaughn and scored on Anderson's single.

 

The 16-hit attack for Chicago - a franchise postseason record - overshadowed perfect relief by Ryan Tepera, Aaron Bummer, Craig Kimbrel and Hendriks. Tepera worked two innings before Bummer got five outs. Kimbrel got the last out of the eighth before Hendriks finished.

 

Anderson has 16 hits in six career playoff games, the most by any player in a six-game postseason span.

 

Game 4 of the best-of-five series is scheduled for Monday afternoon, but there is rain in the forecast. Carlos Rodon starts for the White Sox. Rodon went 13-5 with a 2.37 ERA in 24 starts this year, but he was limited down the stretch because of shoulder soreness and fatigue. The Astros will start Jose Urquidy, who was 8-3 with a 3.62 ERA in 20 starts.

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Packers Outlast Bengals

The historically reliable Mason Crosby missed three straight potential winning field-goal attempts before hitting a 49-yarder in overtime to lift Green Bay (4-1) to a wild 25-22 win over the Bengals.

 

Crosby had a chance to hit a potentially decisive kick with 2:12 left, and again with 3 seconds remaining in regulation. Both went wide left. He got another chance to win it in overtime, but again he missed left.

 

The Bengals' Evan McPherson also missed on shots that could have won the game - with 26 seconds left in regulation and again in overtime.

 

Cincinnati had tied the score late in the fourth period. Joe Mixon bounced right for an 8-yard touchdown run, and Joe Burrow hit Tee Higgins in the back of the end zone for the 2-point conversion with 3:27 left.

 

Crosby was set up for a 36-yard shot with 2:12 left. After that miss, the Bengals drove to the Packers 47, but McPherson's attempt bounced off the right upright with 26 seconds left. Then it was Crosby's turn to miss again, a 51-yard attempt.

 

In overtime, Burrow was intercepted by linebacker De'Vondre Campbell, but Crosby missed his third straight.

 

Burrow was taken to the hospital as a precaution after the game for a possible throat contusion, the team said. Burrow threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns but also took a beating from the Green Bay defense.

 

Rodgers threw two touchdown passes to move into fifth place on the all-time list. Davante Adams had 11 catches for a career-high 206 yards.

 

Rodgers threw a 12-yard TD pass to AJ Dillon in the first quarter to tie for fifth place all-time with Philip Rivers. His 5-yard scoring toss to Adams in the second quarter put him ahead of Rivers. He finished 27 for 39 for 344 yards and an interception as the Packers won their fourth straight since losing the opener to New Orleans.

 

The Packers are at Chicago next Sunday.

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Short-Handed Bears Stun Raiders

Justin Fields threw his first career touchdown pass, and the Chicago defense largely shut down the Las Vegas Raiders' high-powered offense in a 20-9 win Sunday.

 

Damien Williams scored a touchdown and combined with Khalil Herbert for 139 yards rushing in the Vegas debut for the Bears (3-2), who were accompanied to Sin City by thousands of vacationing fans for the latest meeting of two beloved NFL franchises that failed to win a playoff game in the previous decade.

 

Jesper Horsted caught the first TD pass by Fields, who went 12 of 20 for 111 yards in the touted Ohio State product's third career start - his first since being named the Bears' No. 1 quarterback by coach Matt Nagy.

 

Fields wasn't satisfied with the offense's quiet performance, but he was determined to finish what became a 16-play, 86-yard scoring drive despite a scary tackle.

 

Fields hyperextended his left leg and got the wind knocked out of him on a tackle in the second quarter. Although Chicago's rookie quarterback was seriously shaken up, he walked to the sideline and only stayed there for two plays before barging back onto the field.

 

Fields is determined to be a dependable leader for the Bears, even when their defense is leading the way to another victory.

 

The Bears' 32nd-ranked offense managed just 252 yards, but Chicago's defense allowed three points from Vegas' first seven drives. Khalil Mack led the Bears' dominance of his former team with eight tackles and a sack of Derek Carr, his good friend, on a 2-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter.

 

The Bears got ample help from the Raiders' untimely first-half penalties - including a holding call on Foster Moreau while he attempted to block Mack that negated a touchdown by Josh Jacobs.

 

Carr passed for 206 yards and Jacobs rushed for a late touchdown in the second straight loss for the Raiders (3-2) - its first with fans in the stands at 2-year-old Allegiant Stadium. Vegas was penalized 10 times for 82 yards.

 

Cairo Santos hit two 46-yard field goals and Chicago's defense stopped Vegas on downs in the final three minutes.

 

The Bears host the Green Bay Packers (4-1) next Sunday.

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SungJae Im Wins Shriners Open from Las Vegas

Sungjae Im turned a shootout into a one-man show Sunday in Las Vegas, running the tables with seven birdies in eight holes around the turn for a 9-under 62 and a four-shot victory in the Shriners Children’s Open.

 

Im was among four players who had at least a share of the lead on the front nine of the TPC Summerlin on an ideal day of scoring with little wind.

 

When he holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole, the third-toughest on the course, to tie for the lead, the 23-year-old South Korean was just getting started.

 

He closed out the front nine with a simple up-and-down short of the green on the par-5 ninth to take the lead, then ran off four more birdies, the best of that lot on No. 10 when he went from a fairway bunker to 25 feet and made the putt.

 

His strongest challenger, Matthew Wolff, rolled in an 18-foot birdie on the ninth to keep pace. He had two misses off the tee that cost him.

 

Rory Sabbatini, the Olympic silver medalist from Slovakia, shot 28 on the front nine and was briefly tied for the lead. He could only manage even par on the back nine for a 64 and tied for third with Marc Leishman (63) and 54-hole leader Adam Schenk (70).

 

Phil Mickelson won for the third time in four career PGA Tour Champions starts, closing with a 4-under 68 on Sunday for a two-shot victory in the Constellation Furyk & Friends.

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Larson Overcomes Mechanical Issues to Win at Charlotte Roval

Ky.e Larson rallied from his early electrical issues Sunday to win for the seventh time this season and storm into the third round of NASCAR’s playoffs on The Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

 

It ended a topsy-turvy day for Hendrick Motorsports in which Larson and Chase Elliott advanced, Alex Bowman and William Byron were eliminated, and Elliott was nearly sabotaged by a vengeful Kevin Harvick.

 

Rick Hendrick first began to worry when Larson and Bowman had electrical issues at nearly same time.

 

By the time reigning Cup champion Elliott was deliberately crashed by Harvick and nearly knocked out of the playoffs, Hendrick had seen enough destruction.

 

Harvick laid in wait to deliver payback on Elliott for Elliott costing him a win at Bristol three weeks ago and the retaliation came at about the halfway mark. Harvick sent Elliott into the wall and on the verge of playoff elimination.

 

Just as the crews for Larson and Bowman had done earlier to salvage their races, Elliott’s No. 9 team went to work and got the driver back into contention. And even with his bumper flapping in the wind off the back of his Chevrolet, Elliott drove through the field and into position to ruin another day for Harvick.

 

The team said on their radio Elliott should wreck Harvick if given the chance and maybe that caused Harvick to worry. As Elliott closed on Harvick as they hurtled into the first turn with 10 laps remaining, Harvick botched the entry almost as if he was defensively driving in his rearview mirror

 

Harvick drove directly into the wall, crumpled the front of his Ford and the crowd erupted as Elliott cruised through the crash scene. Just like that, Harvick’s title run came to its earliest end since the elimination format began in 2014.

 

Harvick had advanced to the third round the past seven years and all the way to the title race five times. He didn’t admit to wrecking Elliott as payback for Bristol, but he didn’t deny it, either.

 

On the day he made his 750th career start, he finished 33rd and was eliminated along with Christopher Bell, Byron and Bowman.

 

Larson, meanwhile, had plunged to 36th when he began to lose power. The lengthy stops to change the battery and the alternator belt saved his race and staved off his own startling flirtation with an early playoff exit.

 

Larson became the first driver in NASCAR history to win three road course races in a season. He passed Denny Hamlin for the lead with eight laps remaining to become the first driver since Kasey Kahne in 2006 to win both the Coca-Cola 600 in May and Charlotte’s fall race in the same season.

 

The opening race of the third round of the playoffs Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch is the defending race winner.

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Wisconsin uses running game to roll over Illinois 24-0

Chez Mellusi ran for 145 yards and a touchdown and Wisconsin beat Illinois 24-0 on Saturday.

 

Braelon Allen rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries and John Chenal carried nine times for 38 yards and a touchdown for the Badgers.

 

Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz was 10-of-19 passing for 100 yards with an interception. The Badgers (2-3, 1-2 Big Ten Conference) outgained Illinois 491-93 yards in total offense.

 

Chase Brown led all Illinois rushers with 35 yards on eight carries. Brown rushed for 257 yards against Charlotte last week and tied his career high with two rushing touchdowns.

 

Illinois starting quarterback Brandon Peters was 3-of-7 passing for 30 yards before sustaining an unknown injury while being sacked in the second quarter. Artur Sitkowski replaced him and went 8 of 27 for 55 yards.

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PBL Rallies Past Monticello

Paxton-Buckley-Loda scored 16 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and intercepted a Joey Sprinkle pass from the 1-yard line with under a minute to play and upset the third-ranked Monticello Sages 16-15 in Illini Prairie Conference high school football action Friday in Paxton.

 

Monticello opened the scoring with a 15-yard strike when Sprinkle hit Triston Foran on in the end zone on the opening drive.

 

After Monticello stalled on its second possession, the Sages pinned the Panthers inside the five-yard line in the shadow of their own end zone and picked up a safety to lead 9-0.

 

That score stood until Jacob Tackett raced 52-yards on a hook-and-lateral feed on a 2nd-and-44 to make the score 15-0 that was set up by Luke Teschke’s interception of Mason Bruns. 

 

The Panthers responded when Bruns snuck in the first touchdown from the 1-yard line and converted the two-point conversion to make it 15-8.

 

On the next possession, Tyler Smith scored on a 60-yard run and PBL took the lead when 6-foot-3 tight end Kayden Snelling rumbled in for the 16-15 lead.

 

With just over three-minutes left, Monticello drove the football to the one-yard line and on a fake jet-sweep option, Sprinkle’s pass to the back of the end zone was picked off to seal the victory for PBL with 58-seconds left.

 

Sprinkle finished 21-for-37 with 178 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions.

 

Foran was the Piatt/DeWitt County ServPro player of the game with nine catches for 86 yards and a touchdown.

 

Jacob Tacket finished with 72 yards through the air and a touchdown but was limited to just 11 yards on the ground on five carries. 

 

With the loss, the Sages drop to 6-1 overall and PBL improves to 5-2. 

 

Monticello hits the road again next Friday night at Prairie Central.

 

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Maroons Fall to Cards on Homecoming

In a game heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons fell to the Warrensburg-Latham Cardinals 30-22 on Homecoming Friday night. The Maroons were led by the DeWitt/Piatt ServPro Player of the Game Ethan Boyer, who was 9 of 16 passing for 147 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Boyer also had 11 carries for 78 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tristin Potts had 16 carries for 60 yards, and Aiden Schlesinger had 3 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.

 

Warrensburg quarterback MJ Murphy had 27 carries for 150 yards and a touchdown. Shane Gillen had 10 carries for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jacob Six went 4 for 12 passing for 48 yards and an interception.

 

Tune in next Friday, October 15, as the Maroons travel to Meridian to take on the Hawks. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW mobile app, and on Amazon Alexa. Kickoff is set for 7pm with the broadcast beginning shortly before.

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Clinton High School Football Coach Focusing on Next Year

It's not often you hear a coach outright say they are moving on to see what they have for the next year but that's essentially what Clinton High School's football coach is doing as the Maroons are out of playoff contention and enter the final third of the regular season hosting Warrensburg-Latham tonight in Central Illinois Conference high school football action at Clinton High School for Homecoming. 

 

It will be an interesting game as Coach Ron Bass says he'll have two different groups playing. He's going to having a mostly seniors group and then the rest of the team that will be returning next year.

 

 

The Maroons hosted Seneca last week as Tuscola had to cancel due to COVID in its program. Despite the lopsided score, Coach Bass was pleased with the continued fight his kids showed.

 

 

The Cardinals enter play tonight among four teams at 4-2 trailing Decatur St. Teresa in the Central Illinois Conference. Game time tonight is 7:05 pm and can be heard on WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW mobile app and at Amazon Alexa.

 

Central Illinois Conference games tonight:

 

Shelbyville

Flora

 

Decatur St. Teresa

Chester

 

Macon Meridian

Central A&M

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Illinois Hosts Wisconsin Saturday

Wisconsin will try to get back on track against Illinois on Saturday after suffering consecutive losses for just the fifth time in seven seasons under coach Paul Chryst.

 

The Badgers (1-3, 0-2 Big Ten) are off to their worst start since 1990 and are 5-8 over their last 13 games and 9-10 over their last 19 games.

 

Standing in the Badgers’ way is former coach Bret Bielema and an Illinois squad that has also stumbled this season.

 

Bielema, in his first year at Illinois (2-4, 1-2), understands the pressure and interest surrounding playing his old team. Chryst was an offensive coordinator on Bielema’s Wisconsin staffs from 2006-11.

 

Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz and tight end Jake Ferguson are expected to play on Saturday. Both suffered chest injuries in the Michigan game and were initially listed as questionable for the Illinois game. Mertz and Ferguson connected on three of Mertz’ five touchdown passes in Wisconsin’s blowout of Illinois last season.

 

Illinois appears to be staying with Brandon Peters, despite some poor game decisions and accuracy problems. Backup Art Sitkowski is available should Peters falter.

 

Wisconsin ranks third in the nation and leads the Big Ten in total defense, allowing just 249 yards per game. The Badgers also rank seventh in the country allowing just 4.3 yards per play.

 

Illinois has held opponents to 20 points or fewer in three straight games for the first time since 2011, when it had a streak of four straight to start the season. The Illini have forced at least one turnover in each game and are averaging 2.5 sacks per game.

 

The Illini have given up 292.2 yards passing per game, which ranks 119th in FBS.

 

Illinois has been without two of its top defenders in linebacker Jake Hansen and cornerback Devon Witherspoon the past two games due to undisclosed injuries. Both are questionable for Saturday.

 

Illinois’ ground game is led by Chase Brown and true freshman Josh McCray.

 

Brown rushed for 257 yards against Charlotte last week and tied his career-high with two rushing touchdowns. His 257 yards were the fourth-most in a game in school history. McCray ran for a career-best 156 yards on 24 carries against Purdue on Sept. 25. The yardage was the most by a true freshman in college football in a road game this year.

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Monticello Begins Trying Three-Game Stretch to Finish Regular Season

The Monticello Sages will begin what is expected to be a real test as they enter the final third of its regular season tonight when they travel to Paxton to take on Paxton-Buckley-Loda in Illini Prairie Conference football action.

 

Monticello blanked Rantoul 28-0 last Friday and Coach Cully Welter says sometimes you think you played a good game and then the film shows things you can work, but like last Friday, you think you didn't play a good game but the film shows otherwise.

 

 

Monticello meets up with PBL, Prairie Central and Tolono Unity to finish out the season and the three teams at the top of the conference with Monticello so far. Coach Welter says they'll be challenged by the Panther's size and the diversity of its offense.

 

 

Coach Welter feels it will be somewhat of an advantage for his team that they have to practice against a multiple formation offense that he runs. 

 

Tonight's game kicks at 7 pm and can be heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

 

Illini Prairie

 

Illinois Valley Central at Bloomington Central Catholic

Prairie Central at Olympia

Monticello at Paxton-Buckley-Loda

St. Joseph-Ogden at Pontiac

Tolono Unity at Rantoul

 

Week 7 Action in central Illinois...

 

8-Man Football

 

Polo at Peoria Heights

Champaign St. Thomas More at West Prairie (Sat.)

Decatur LSA at Galva (Sat.)

Milford at Blue Ridge

 

Apollo

 

Charleston at Mattoon

Lincoln at Effingham 

 

Big Twelve

 

Bloomington vs. Peoria Notre Dame at Richwoods Stadium (Sat.)

Champaign Central at Peoria

Danville at Normal West

Peoria Manual at Champaign Centennial

 

Central State Eight

 

Decatur Eisenhower at Normal U-High

Rochester at Chatham-Glenwood)

Springfield at Jacksonville 

Springfield Lanphier at Springfield Southeast

Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin at Decatur MacArthur

 

Lincoln Prairie

 

Arcola at Cerro Gordo-Bement

Sangamon Valley at Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond

Oakland Tri-County at Villa Grove

 

Sangamo

 

Petersburg PORTA at Maroa-Forsyth

Pleasant Plains at Williamsville

 

Non-Conference action tonight...

 

Eureka vs. Ridgeview

G.C.M.S. at DTri-Valley

Granite City at Normal Community

Heyworth at El Paso-Gridley

LeRoy at Dee-Mack

Mahomet-Seymour at Peoria Richwoods

Mt. Zion at Collinsville

Tremont at Fisher

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Illinois State, Eastern Illinois Both on Bye Saturday

The Illinois State Redbirds and Eastern Illinois Panthers football teams are on bye this week.

 

EIU lost 22-6 in a non-conference tilt with Murray State last Saturday while the Redbirds were rolled 41-20 by Missouri State at home. 

 

When they return to action next Saturday, ISU hots North Dakota State for Homecoming while will host UT-Martin for its Hall of Fame weekend. 

 

Hear next Saturday's EIU action on WHOW with a 1:30 pm pregame and a 2 pm kick-off.

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Packers at Cincinnati Sunday, Bears in Vegas

One of Cincinnati Bengals' coach Zac Taylor's first assignments, when he was hired as an NFL assistant with the Dolphins in 2012, was cataloging videotape of Aaron Rodgers, who was the reigning NFL MVP. Taylor will have a sideline seat Sunday when the Packers (3-1) visit the improved Bengals (3-1).

 

Rodgers at 37 is still bringing it. Last week in Green Bay's win over the Steelers, he was 20 for 36 for 248 yards and two touchdowns. He's thrown for 897 yards as Green Bay has reeled off three straight wins after losing to New Orleans in Week 1.

 

Four days after Cincinnati took down the Steelers in Pittsburgh, the Bengals fell behind the Jacksonville Jaguars 14-0 at halftime of Thursday night's game. The unflappable Burrow led scores on all four second-half drives, the final one setting up Evan McPherson for a game-winning 35-yard field goal as time ran out.

 

Rodgers threw his 420th career touchdown pass in the win last week to tie Dan Marino for sixth all time.

 

Rodgers has a chance to move into the top five Sunday. He's one behind Philip Rivers, who threw 421 touchdown passes before retiring at the end of last season.

 

Green Bay's Davante Adams leads the NFL with 31 receptions and has more than twice as many catches as any of his teammates. Running back Aaron Jones is second on the team with 13. Randall Cobb ranks second among wideouts with nine.

 

But the Packers did show they're capable of spreading the ball around when the Steelers limited Adams to six catches for 64 yards and no touchdowns. Cobb had two touchdown catches in the game, marking his first game with multiple touchdown catches since 2015.

 

Cornerback Jaire Alexander is unlikely to play Sunday as the Packers continue consulting with specialists about his injured shoulder. Outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith will miss a fourth straight game with a back issue.

 

David Bakhtiari, an All-Pro left tackle in 2020, hasn't played yet this season and will miss at least the first six games as he recovers from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Elgton Jenkins, a Pro Bowl left guard last season who had been filling in at left tackle, has missed the Packers' past two games with an ankle injury.

 

The Packers also will be missing wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a second straight game because of a hamstring injury.

 

 

 

Former Raiders' first pick Kahlil Mack is set to visit Las Vegas on Sunday with the Chicago Bears (2-2). Quarterback Derek Carr still misses the player he calls ''one of my best friends in the whole world'' even as the Raiders (3-1) show signs of returning to contention.

With an improved pass rush led by Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue, the Raiders have gotten off to a strong start this season despite losing 28-14 to the Chargers last week.

 

The Bears had a game that was far from perfect two weeks ago when they were held to 47 yards in rookie quarterback Justin Fields' first start and lost 26-6 to Cleveland.

Chicago fared much better last week when Fields threw for 209 yards in a 24-14 win over Detroit, earning him the starting job for good.

 

Bears coach Matt Nagy reversed course Wednesday and declared the former Ohio State star the team's No. 1 quarterback after insisting two days earlier that spot still belonged to veteran Andy Dalton.

 

Las Vegas ranks 31st in the league in rushing, averaging 3.25 yards per carry, and has allowed 12 sacks, fifth most in the NFL.

 

The Bears could be missing two key players, with running back David Montgomery (knee) out indefinitely and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks' status in question because of a groin injury. Both players were hurt in the win over Detroit.

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Astros Roll Sox in Game 1

As heard on WHOW, Lance McCullers pitched scoreless ball into the seventh inning, and the Astros beat Lance Lynn and the Chicago White Sox 6-1 in Game 1 of their AL Division Series on Thursday.

 

Michael Brantley added two hits and two RBIs as the AL West champions showed off their playoff experience in an impressive opening performance. McCullers allowed four hits in 6 2/3 innings in his eighth career postseason start.

 

The 28-year-old McCullers didn't allow a hit until Yoan Moncada singled with one out in the fourth. 

 

Yordan Alvarez hit an RBI double in the third and a solo homer in the fifth. 

 

Lynn was tagged for five runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings. Five of the six hits that he allowed came off his four-seam or cut fastball.

 

Chicago got on the board on Jose Abreu's two-out single in the eighth. But Kendall Graveman retired Grandal on a liner to center for the final out.

 

Game 2 of the best-of-five series is Friday in Houston. Hear this afternoon's action on WHOW. Houston left-hander Framber Valdez (11-6, 3.14 ERA) opposes Lucas Giolito (11-9, 3.53 ERA).

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Dodgers Walk Off Cardinals

Chris Taylor hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Dodgers a 3-1 victory Wednesday night in a scintillating NL wild-card game.

 

Justin Turner homered early and the 106-win Dodgers advanced to a best-of-five Division Series against the NL West champion Giants, who won 107 games to barely hold off rival Los Angeles for the division title. Game 1 is Friday night in San Francisco.

 

Cody Bellinger got the Dodgers started when he drew a two-out walk from T.J. McFarland. Alex Reyes entered to face Taylor, and Bellinger stole second.

 

Taylor then sent a 2-1 breaking ball into the left field pavilion, triggering an explosion of cheers and ending an October struggle that lasted 4 hours, 15 minutes.

 

Taylor also made a nifty defensive play in the eighth, robbing Edmundo Sosa of a hit for the second out.

 

Tommy Edman dropped a one-out single into right off closer Kenley Jansen in the top of the ninth and stole second. Paul Goldschmidt took a called third strike and Tyler O'Neill went down swinging to end the threat. Edman went 3 for 5 with a run scored.

 

The Dodgers' bullpen stymied the St. Louis hitters, allowing just a pair of singles after the fifth inning.

 

St. Louis finished 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position, stranding 11 overall. The Cardinals went on a club-record 17-game winning streak in September to grab the second NL wild card, only to see their October dreams squelched.

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Bears Name Fields Starting QB Remainder of the Season

Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy had a plan to develop Justin Fields and resisted making the rookie his team's starting quarterback from the start of offseason practices.

 

On Monday, Nagy had said Fields was still the backup and playing only because of Andy Dalton’s knee injury. But on Tuesday he told both quarterbacks of the change and announced it Wednesday. Dalton will return to practice this week after suffering a bone bruise to his left knee and will be the backup.

 

Fields experienced a dreadful start, going 6 of 20 for 68 yards and taking nine sacks in Week 3 against Cleveland. In his first home start on Sunday he completed 11 of 17 passes for 209 yards, including a 64-yarder to Darnell Mooney.

 

Nagy cited the way Fields bounced back with a strong effort against Detroit last Sunday as key to the decision after he had a poor game against Cleveland.

 

The Bears (2-2) are at Las Vegas (3-1) on Sunday.

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White Sox Open Postseason Play

The Houston Astros finally get a chance to avenge a 2005 World Series sweep at the hands of the Chicago White Sox when the clubs meet in the American League Division Series, beginning Thursday afternoon in Houston.

 

The AL West champion Astros earned home-field advantage in the best-of-five series by virtue of having two more wins than the White Sox compiled en route to the AL Central title.

 

Houston also had a 5-2 advantage head-to-head, sweeping a four-game home series in June before losing two of three in Chicago in July.

 

The teams clash in the postseason for the first time in 16 years. The clubs almost met last year, when the White Sox were beaten 2-1 by the Oakland Athletics in the opening round and thus denied a shot at the Astros.

 

Right-handers Lance McCullers Jr. (13-5, 3.16) of the Astros and Lance Lynn (11-6, 2.69) of the White Sox are the scheduled starters in Game 1.

 

McCullers pitched two of Houston's five earlier wins over the White Sox, allowing a total of just three runs and four hits in 13 innings with 14 strikeouts. The Astros won those games 8-2 at home and 7-1 on the road.

 

The 28-year-old has made six career starts against Chicago, going 4-1 with a 2.17 ERA.

 

Lynn, meanwhile, was bombed for six runs and eight hits in four innings in his only previous start against the Astros this season. The visiting White Sox were beaten 7-3.

The 34-year-old has gone 5-7 with a 4.41 ERA in 14-lifetime appearances against Houston, 13 as a starter.

 

Both veterans have extensive postseason experience, with Lynn having pitched in 26 previous games (seven starts), with a 5-4 record and 4.80 ERA, while McCullers has gone 1-2 with a 3.28 ERA in 14 playoff games (seven starts).

 

Lynn won a championship with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011; McCullers won one with the Astros in 2017.

 

The White Sox are uncertain of the status of slugger Jose Abreu, who flew to Houston on his own Wednesday night in an attempt to shake non-COVID, flu-like symptoms.

He will be a game-time decision Thursday.

 

Game time today 3:07 central time and you can hear all the action starting at 2:30 pm this afternoon on WHOW. 

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Packers Seeking Second Opinion on CB Alexander's Injury

The Green Bay Packers continue to consult with specialists on 2020 Pro Bowl cornerback Jaire Alexander’s injured shoulder in hopes of avoiding season-ending surgery.

 

It was a whirlwind of a day for the Packers, winners of three straight headed into Sunday’s game at the Cincinnati Bengals.

 

First, with Alexander’s season in limbo, the team reportedly had interest but failed to acquire two-time All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore from the New England Patriots. The Packers lacked the salary cap space to absorb the remainder of Gilmore’s $7 million base salaries.

 

Ultimately, the Carolina Panthers sent a 2023 sixth-round draft choice to New England for the 31-year-old cornerback.

 

Second, to bolster the depth at cornerback, the Packers grabbed Rasul Douglas off the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad.

 

A third-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017, the 6-foot-2 Douglas has made 29 starts. He had five interceptions for the Eagles during his first two seasons and broke up nine passes while starting a career-high 11 games last year for Carolina.

 

Third, Alexander missed practice with the shoulder injury sustained on his fourth down hit of Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris on Sunday. LaFleur said Alexander likely would miss the game against Cincinnati.

 

Alexander has 41 passes defended in his first three seasons. He had two interceptions in last year’s NFC championship game loss to Tampa Bay.

 

His injury is the latest blow to a team that already was without All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, Pro Bowl left guard Elgton Jenkins and Pro Bowl outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith.

 

Kevin King, who missed the past two games with a concussion, returned to practice on Wednesday. Another is Eric Stokes, this year’s first-round pick.

 

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger targeted Stokes early and often on Sunday, but Stokes ended the game with an interception.

 

King and Stokes presumably would be the cornerbacks and Chandon Sullivan would man the slot against the Bengals if Alexander is unavailable.

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Cardinals Wild Card Game Preview

The National League wild-card representatives meet in a winner-take-all game Wednesday at Los Angeles, with the 106-win Dodgers facing the Cardinals, who produced a franchise-best, 17-game winning streak last month.

 

It is a pairing worthy of seven games, yet this is one night only. Awaiting the winner is the 107-win San Francisco Giants.

 

Only once in four playoff rounds last season did the World Series champion Dodgers see an elimination game, when they earned a 4-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves in Game 7 of the NL Championship Series. Max Muncy had a single and a run in that one but is not expected to play Wednesday because of a left elbow injury.

 

Corey Seager, AJ Pollock and Trea Turner will have to carry the Los Angeles offense without Muncy and his team-best 36 home runs and 94 RBIs.

 

Right-hander Max Scherzer (15-4, 2.46 ERA overall) earned the starting nod after going 7-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 11 starts with the Dodgers following his arrival from the Washington Nationals at the trade deadline.

 

Scherzer is 4-6 with a 2.76 ERA in 13 career regular-season starts against the Cardinals. Facing St. Louis in Game 2 of the 2019 NLCS while pitching for Washington, he struck out 11 and gave up one hit over seven scoreless innings.

 

The Cardinals will turn to 40-year-old right-hander Adam Wainwright (17-7, 3.05 ERA). He went 6-0 with a 2.44 ERA over his past eight starts, but he now faces a Dodgers offense that averaged nine runs over its past five games.

 

Wainwright, a 16-year veteran, is 7-5 with a 2.66 ERA in 17 regular-season appearances (14 starts) against the Dodgers. He has made three career postseason starts against Los Angeles, going 0-1 with a 4.12 ERA. Wainwright's most recent playoff appearance against the Dodgers came in the 2014 NL Division Series, when he gave up six runs on 11 hits in a forgettable 4 1/3 innings.

 

The Cardinals were written off early in the year after ace Jack Flaherty sustained an oblique injury that cost him nearly half the season while the offense sputtered despite the addition of Nolan Arenado.

 

St. Louis was a sub-.500 team as late as Aug. 9 before winning the next six games. Since Aug. 10, the Cardinals are 35-16.

 

Arenado finished with 34 home runs and 105 RBIs. Now, the Southern California native will return home for his first postseason appearance since 2018.

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Monticello No. 3 in This Week's 3A High School Football Poll

After their sixth straight win last Friday night over Rantoul, the Monticello Sages flipped places this week with IC Catholic for No. 2 in the latest Class 3A high school football state rankings.

 

Wilmington received five first-place votes in this week's poll to remain No. 1 while IC Catholic collected eight first-place votes. 

 

Monticello, Tolono Unity, and Williamsville round out the top five for the poll. Byron, Farmington, Princeton, Montini and Benton round out the 3A top-10.

 

Class 1A saw quite a shake-up. Lena-Winslow is the unanimous No. 1. Carrollton leap-frogged Abingdon for No. 2, who tied Camp Point Central for No. 3. Camp Point Central dropped a spot this week. Forreston rounds out the top 5. 

 

Brown County and St. Bede flipped places at 6-7, respectively. Winchester West Central moved up a spot to No. 8, Central A&M moved up to No. 9 and Ottawa Marquette is new to the poll this week at No. 10.

 

Decatur St. Teresa remains No. 1 in the 2A poll with 11 first-place votes. Breese Mater Dei received the other two first-place votes. Tri-Valley, Maroa-Forsyth and Bismarck-Henning all moved up spots in the latest poll to round out the top-5. 

 

Pana separated itself from Knoxville to stand alone at No. 6 and Knoxville came in at No. 7 while Clifton Central moved up to No. 8 from No. 10 last week and newcomers to the poll, Athens and Vandalia round out the top-10 in 2A.

 

The 4A Poll remained the same 1-4 with Joliet Catholic the unanimous No. 1 followed by Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin, Richmond-Burton and St. Francis. Kewanee was a big mover this week up to a tie at No. 5 from No. 8 last week. Genoa-Kingston moved up into a tie for fifth with Kewanee from No. 7 last week. Chicago Phillips dropped to No. 7 after its second loss of the season last Friday. Coal City dropped from No. 6 to No. 8 while newcomers Stillman Valley and Peoria Notre Dame round out the top-10. 

 

In 5a, Rochester received 10 of 12 first-place votes to stay at No. 1. Fenwick remains No. 2 with a first-place vote followed by Mascoutah at No. 3. Morris and Sterling were big movers this week into the top five. Morris received a first-place vote and checks in at No. 4 from No. 7 last week while Sterling moved up to No. 5 from No. 9 last week.

 

Mahomet-Seymour was also a big mover in the latest 5A poll, up to No. 6 from No. 10 last week. Providence and Peoria who were tied for fourth last week dropped to No. 7 and No. 8, respectively and Glenbard South and Marion were newcomers to this week's poll and round out the top 10.

 

East St. Louis received 11 of 13 first-place votes in the 6A poll to remain No. 1 while Cary-Grove received the other two first-place votes to remain No. 2. 

 

Normal Community moved up a spot to No. 7 in the 7A poll. Brother Rice is No. 1 again this week.

 

Loyola is the unanimous No. 1 in this week's 8A poll.

 

The high school football season enters the final third of its regular-season schedule this week. 

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Bears Trade for Dolphins Receiver

The Miami Dolphins traded wide receiver and returner Jakeem Grant to the Chicago Bears on Tuesday.

 

Grant is going to the Bears in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2023 draft.

 

Grant had primarily been a returner for the Dolphins this season, with only two catches for minus-7 yards in the season's first four games.

 

He returned eight punts for 59 yards and two kickoffs for 46 yards so far this season. But in Sunday's loss to Indianapolis, he muffed a punt for a turnover deep in Miami territory and the Colts turned that extended possession into a field goal for a 17-3 lead.

Indianapolis went on to win 27-17.

 

The trade gives Miami the chance to make rookie Jaylen Waddle the primary returner.

Grant was a sixth-round pick in 2016 for Miami. He made 91 catches for 1,001 yards in parts of six seasons with the team, with five touchdowns. He also had five return touchdowns for Miami — three punts, two kickoffs — and a rushing score.

 

Chicago cleared a roster spot for Grant by waiving receiver-returner Nsimba Webster, who was averaging 3.3 yards on four punt returns for the Bears this season.

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Clinton Volleyball Swept By Tremont

The Clinton Lady Maroons volleyball team was swept by Tremont Monday night.

 

The Lady Maroons fell 26-21 and 28-25.

 

They will travel to Shelbyville Thursday.

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Illini RB Brown Named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week

After running for the fourth-most rushing yards in a game in Illini history on Saturday, Illinois running back Chase Brown was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, the conference office announced. 

 

Brown rushed for a career-high 257 yards and tied his career-high with two rushing touchdowns, giving him three TDs on the season and five for his career. Brown's 257 yards are the fourth-most in a single game in program history.

 

Brown's first TD against Charlotte gave the Illini a 17-14 lead in the third quarter. He carried the ball six times for 72 yards on the drive which covered 94 yards overall, Illinois' longest drive of the season by yards.

 

Brown's second TD against Charlotte, an 80-yard score, came on the first play of the ensuing Illini possession and gave Illinois a 24-14 lead as time expired in the third quarter. The 80-yard scoring run tied for the 10th-longest run in Illinois program history.

 

Brown's 257 yards were the third-most by a running back in college football this season. Only Ohio State's TreVeyon Henderson (277 vs. Tulsa) and Michigan State's Kenneth Walker III (264 vs. Northwestern) have had more in a game this season.

 

Brown is Illinois' second Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week this season after QB Artur Sitkowski won the award after Illinois' Week 0 win over Nebraska.

 

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EIU's Dandy Conference Defensive Back of Week, Newcomer of the Week

Eastern Illinois junior defensive back Russell Dandy picked up a pair of weekly Ohio Valley Conference honors on Sunday as the league announced its weekly awards.
 


Dandy was named both the OVC Defensive Player and Newcomer of the Week following his performance in the Panthers non-conference game on Saturday at Murray State.
 
Dandy was responsible for all three turnovers gained by the Eastern Illinois defense as he had two interceptions including one in the endzone that turned away a Murray State touchdown.
 
He finished with seven tackles (all solo) with a tackle for loss.   On his tackle for loss, he forced a fumble that he would recover on the play.
 
It marked the second straight week that EIU has had a player win OVC Defensive Player of the Week honors after Jordan Miles won last week for his efforts at Tennessee Tech.
 
Dandy has 21 tackles for the season and his two interceptions rank him 41st in the FCS and third in the OVC.
 
EIU heads into a bye week before back-to-back home games on Oct. 16 and Oct. 23 against UT Martin and Tennessee State.  EIU currently sits in first place in the OVC standings with a 1-0 conference mark. 

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Packers Concerned About CB Alexander

Already accustomed to playing without their top pass rusher, the Green Bay Packers now must prepare for the likely absence of their best cornerback.

 

Jaire Alexander injured a shoulder in the second half of the Packers’ 27-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Without getting into specifics, Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Monday he had spoken with head athletic trainer Bryan Engel and team physician Patrick McKenzie about Alexander’s situation.

 

When LaFleur was asked if he could rule out a worst-case scenario, he replied that “everything's kind of getting looked at right now.”

 

If Alexander misses significant time, it would represent arguably the toughest blow yet for a team already dealing with multiple injuries.

 

Outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith, who had a combined 26 sacks in 2019-20, hasn’t played since a season-opening 38-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints and might miss the rest of the season.

 

Left tackle David Bakhtiari, a 2020 All-Pro selection, hasn’t played all season and will miss at least two more games as he recovers from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling went on injured reserve with a hamstring issue last week and must miss at least two more games.

 

The Packers (3-1) played without guard/tackle Elgton Jenkins (ankle) for a second straight game Sunday and also were missing linebacker Krys Barnes and cornerback Kevin King due to concussions.

 

Through it all, the Packers have won three straight games to lead the NFC North. They’ve beaten San Francisco and Pittsburgh the past two weeks while missing their two best offensive linemen.

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Packers Rout Steelers

Aaron Rodgers connected with Randall Cobb for two touchdowns and ran for another score as the Packers won their third straight, 27-17 over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

 

Cobb caught a 23-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to put the Packers (3-1) ahead for good and scored again on a 1-yard reception that made it 27-10 in the third period. That short throw was the 420th TD pass of Rodgers' career, tying Dan Marino for sixth all-time.

 

Through the first three games, Cobb had four catches for 58 yards. He caught five passes for 69 yards Sunday.

 

Rodgers and Cobb connected on two third-down completions that set up Green Bay's touchdown. Cobb's go-ahead score also came on third down.

 

Rodgers went 20 of 36 for 248 yards and scored the Packers' first points on a 4-yard rush in his first home start against the Steelers, the only team he hadn't faced at Lambeau Field.

 

After falling behind 7-0, Green Bay scored 27 of the next 30 points to seize control.

 

The list of Packers unable to play Sunday included linebacker Krys Barnes, offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins, cornerback Kevin King and receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Green Bay has been missing All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari all season and hasn't had outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith since the opening week.

 

Pittsburgh (1-3) has lost three straight, failing to top 17 points in each game, after a surprising season-opening win at Buffalo. Since opening the 2020 season with 11 straight wins, the Steelers have lost eight of 10.

 

The Steelers host Denver next Sunday and the Packers are at Cincinnati next Sunday.

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Bears Move to .500 With Win Over Lions

Justin Fields brushed off a nightmarish first start, and Chicago bounced back from one of the worst offensive performances the NFL has seen to beat the winless Detroit Lions 24-14 on Sunday.

 

Fields and the Bears (2-2) were in much better form coming off a brutal loss at Cleveland last week. They scored touchdowns on their first two possessions and rang up 373 yards after being held by the Browns to 47, the ninth-lowest total in league history.

 

Fields looked more comfortable, completing 11 of 17 passes for 209 yards in his second consecutive start with Andy Dalton sidelined because of a bone bruise in his left knee. The former Ohio State star threw an interception. But he was also sacked just once, a big improvement after being taken down nine times for 67 yards while throwing for just 68 the previous week.

 

David Montgomery ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns before leaving with a knee injury. He scored on Chicago's first two possessions, running it in from the 4 and 9 to make it 14-0, but hobbled off the field following a 5-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Nagy said he wasn't sure how serious the injury is.

 

Darnell Mooney caught five passes for a career-high 125 yards, including a 64-yarder.

Robert Quinn had a strip-sack with the Lions deep in Chicago territory. Khalil Mack added a sack and fumble recovery, and the Bears got some payback for a loss to Detroit at Soldier Field last season that capped a six-game skid.

 

Detroit QB Jared Goff was 24 of 38 for 299 yards. He hit Kalif Raymond with a 4-yard touchdown in the third quarter and 25-yarder in the fourth to make it 24-14.

 

The Bears are in Las Vegas on next Sunday. 

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Cubs Edge Cardinals to Close Out Regular Season

Matt Duffy extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games with a pair of run-scoring singles to help the Chicago Cubs to a 3-2 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday in a game that was halted after seven innings and the Cardinals dropped a rain-shortened season finale, turning their attention toward the NL wild-card game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.

 

Tommy Edman homered for St. Louis. Shildt removed regulars Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado after two innings to rest for a potential postseason run.

 

The Cardinals closed the regular season by winning 19 of their final 22 games, with a franchise-record, 17-game winning streak from Sept. 11-28. They will be participating in the postseason for the third year in a row.

 

Chicago lost 91 games this season, the most since it went 66-96 in 2013, however, the Cubs won four of their final five games.

 

Jake Woodford (3-4) gave up three runs on six hits in five innings.

 

The contest was delayed twice by a total of 42 minutes.

 

Adam Wainwright (17-7, 3.15) will start for the Cardinals on Wednesday. At age 40, he is the second-oldest St. Louis pitcher to start a postseason game behind 41-year-old Grover Pete Alexander, who started Game 2 of the 1928 World Series.

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Rain Pushes Talladega Playoff to Monday

NASCAR’s playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway was washed out and rescheduled for Monday because persistent rain backed the series into too tight of a window to run as scheduled.

 

The race was initially delayed almost two hours and NASCAR made one attempt Sunday at starting the 500-miler. But it began to rain again as the cars circled the 2.66-mile superspeedway behind the pace car.

 

Talladega does not have lights — the Xfinity Series race on Saturday ended six laps early because of impending darkness — and the lengthy delay meant NASCAR would flirt with sunset if it even started the race. Talladega’s 500 miles average a 3 hour, 41 minute runtime and NASCAR does not like to start a race unless it expects to run to completion.

 

Compounding the scheduling issue was that the Cup Series race was the lead-in to NBC’s airing Sunday night of Tom Brady’s return to New England, an NFL game that would have taken priority over the race. The rescheduled start is 1 p.m. Monday on NBC Sports Network.

 

Talladega marks the middle race of the second round of NASCAR’s playoffs, with the hybrid road course/oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway scheduled as next week’s elimination race. The field of 12 playoff drivers will be whittled to eight at The Roval, and only Talladega pole sitter Denny Hamlin already has earned a berth into the third round.

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White Sox Turn Attention to Postseason After Sunday Loss

Daz Cameron homered leading off the ninth to spark a three-run inning, and the Detroit Tigers closed their fifth straight losing season with a 5-2 win over the AL Central champion Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

 

Detroit finished third at 77-85, 16 games behind the White Sox (93-69), whose six-game winning streak was ended.

 

After winning the division for the first time since 2008, the White Sox open the Division Series on Thursday at AL West champion Houston. Chicago swept the 2005 World Series, when the Astros were in the NL. This series will feature a match-up of long-time rivals Tony La Russa and Dusty Baker.

 

With the scored tied in the ninth, Cameron drove a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez (4-4) over the right-field fence for his fourth homer of the season and a 3-2 lead. Two batters later, Dustin Garneau had an RBI double and Akil Baddoo caped the rally with a sacrifice fly.

 

Joe Jimenez (6-1) worked a scoreless eighth and Michael Fulmer got three outs for his 14th save in 18 chances.

 

Chicago's Jose Abreu entered the game four RBIs behind the major-league lead, but was given the day off. La Russa said Abreu has been battling an illness and it didn't make sense to push him. Abreu finished with 30 homers, 117 RBIs and a .261 batting average.

 

The White Sox game 1 at Houston is Thursday.

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Witherspoon leads Murray State past Eastern Illinois 22-6

As heard on WHOW, Damonta Witherspoon ran for a career-high 141 yards and a touchdown, and Murray State stopped Eastern Illinois on downs four times for a 22-6 win on Saturday.

 

It was a nonconference game between Ohio Valley Conference rivals.

 

The Racers (2-2), coming off a pair of losses against FBS opponents, overcame three turnovers by limiting the Panthers (1-5) to just three first downs on 16 third-down situations.

 

DJ Williams capped an 85-yard drive with a 14-yard run and Aaron Baum kicked two of his three field goals to give Murray State a 13-0 lead at the half.

 

Eastern Illinois got the ball to start the second half and lost seven yards before a short punt only reached midfield. With a 15-yard personal foul tacked on, the Racers were on the 35. On the fourth snap Witherspoon scored on a 5-yard run.

 

Arron Foulkes hauled in a 54-yard pass from Chris Katrenick early in the fourth quarter for the Eastern Illinois touchdown.

 

Tune in Saturday, October 16, as the Panthers take on UT Martin. You can hear the game live at 1:30pm on all of WHOW's many platforms.

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Chase Brown's 257 yards, 2 TDs leads Illinois past Charlotte

Chase Brown rushed for 257 yards and two touchdowns and Illinois beat Charlotte 24-14 on Saturday.

 

Brandon Peters was 10 of 19 passing for 78 yards and one touchdown for the Illini. Josh McCray rushed 16 times for 64 yards. Daniel Barker caught one pass for 10 yards and a touchdown.

 

Chris Reynolds was 17 of 23 passing for 191 yards and two touchdowns for Charlotte (3-2).

 

Calvin Camp rushed seven times for 29 yards for the 49ers. Victor Tucker caught five passes for 55 yards and a touchdown, and Grant DuBose caught four passes for 70 yards. Elijah Spencer caught two passes for 34 yards and a touchdown.

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Little's 3 TDs send Missouri St. past Illinois St. 41-20

Tobias Little ran for three touchdowns, Jason Shelley threw for 319 yards and two scores and Missouri State beat Illinois State 41-20 on Saturday.

 

Little had a pair of 2-yard scores in the second quarter and a 5-yard score near the midway point of the third when the Bears (3-1, 2-0 Missouri Valley Football Conference) began to take control.

 

Little’s first 2-yard touchdown dive put Missouri State up 14-13 before Jackson Waring threw a 75-yard touchdown to Jabari Khepera 14 seconds later. His second touchdown run with 3:16 left before halftime put the Bears in front to stay.

 

Waring threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns but also was intercepted three times. Khepera caught five passes for 107 yards for Illinois State (2-3, 0-2).

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Monticello Blanks Rantoul on Homecoming Night

As heard on WEZC, Monticello shut out Rantoul 28-0 on Homecoming night from Monticello High School in Illini Prairie Conference high school football action.

 

The Sages started fast, scoring on its first two possessions as Joey Sprinkle had a one-yard touchdown run to make the score 6-0 and then Jacob Tackett scored from a yard out after a 62-yard run set up his only score of the night.

 

But the Eagles' defense stood tall the rest of the half and they controlled the ball on offense.

 

Tylor Bundy opened the Sages scoring in the second half with a 24-yard run and Sprinkle hit Triston Foran for a 6-yard touchdown to make it 28-0.

 

Sprinkle finished 16-for-25 with 191 yards and a touchdown passing and ran for 46 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.

 

Bundy finished with just two carries and 32 yards with a touchdown.

 

Tackett finished with nine carries for 90 yards and a touchdown while Foran hauled in five catches for 45 yards and a touchdown.

 

Spencer Mitze (mitts) continued to play well for the Sages, finishing with six catches for 96 yards. Peyton Scott had two catches for 25 yards and a 10-yard run. 

 

Monticello is 6-0 on the season while Rantoul falls to 0-6. The Sages head to Paxton to take on Paxton-Buckley-Loda next Friday night. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Maroons Fall To Seneca, 50-10

In a game heard on WHOW Friday night, the Clinton Maroons fell to the visiting Seneca Fighting Irish, 50-10.

 

Seneca opened up the scoring with big touchdown runs of 44 & 80 yards on their first two possessions, and didn't look back from there.    The Irish were led by sophomore quarterback Nathan Grant, who went 2 for 2 passing for 83 yards & a touchdown.  He also ran 4 times for 107 yards & a score.  Seneca's Braden Ellis ran 5 times for 131 yards and a score.  Collin Wright added 6 carries for 81 yards and a TD.  

 

Clinton's quarterback Ethan Boyer went 9 of 18 for 154 yards, a TD, & 3 interceptions.  He carried the ball 6 times for 44 yards.

 

The WHOW/Maroons ServPro of Piatt/DeWitt County "Player of the Game" was awarded to senior Clinton wideout Adam Kroeger.  He had 4 catches for 114 yards & a touchdown.   Tristin Potts finished with 21 carries for 42 yards.  Makayla Koeppel also added a 23 yard field goal for the Maroons.

 

Clinton falls to (1-5) with the loss.  Seneca improves to (2-4) with the win.  Clinton was originally scheduled to play Tuscola for Senior Night, however the Warriors had to cancel Thursday due to Covid protocols.  The Maroons were able to put together the game with Seneca in under 24 hours. 

 

The Maroons host Warrensburg-Latham for Homecoming next Friday night.  Hear the game at 7pm on all WHOW platforms!

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Monticello Hosts Rantoul for Homecoming

Off a 42-12 win at Pontiac last week, the Monticello Sages host Rantoul for Homecoming Night.

 

The Sages allowed a pair of big-play touchdowns in the first half but rebounded to blank the Indians in the second half and roll to their fifth straight win.

 

The winless Eagles lost 30-6 last week to Paxton-Buckley-Loda. 

 

Game time Friday is 7 pm and can be heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

 

Illini Prairie action Friday:

 

Bloomington Central Catholic at St. Joseph-Ogden
Paxton-Buckley-Loda at Prairie Central
Pontiac at Tolono Unity
Olympia at Illinois Valley Central

 

Week 5 action across the area....

 

8-Man Football:

 

Bushnell-Prairie City at Decatur LSA
Blue Ridge at Edwardsville Metro-East Lutheran

 

Apollo

 

Effingham at Mt. Zion
Mattoon at Lincoln
Taylorville at Charleston

 

Big Twelve

 

Champaign Centennial at Bloomington
Normal West at Urbana 
Normal Community at Peoria 
Peoria Manual at Champaign Central
Peoria Notre Dame at Danville 

 

Central State Eight

 

Decatur MacArthur at Decatur Eisenhower
Normal U-High at Springfield 
Rochester at Springfield Lanphier (Sat.)
Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin at Jacksonville 
Springfield (Southeast) at Chatham-Glenwood

 

Heart of Illinois 

 

Tri-Valley at Fieldcrest
El Paso-Gridley at Eureka
Dee-Mack at Tremont
Ridgeview at G.C.M.S.
Fisher at Heyworth

 

Lincoln Prairie

 

Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond at Arcola
Cerro Gordo-Bement at Argenta-Oreana
Toledo-Cumberland at Oakland Tri-County
Villa Grove at Sangamon Valley

 

Mid-Illini

 

Canton at Limestone
East Peoria at Dunlap
Metamora at Morton
Washington at Pekin

 

Sangamo

 

Maroa-Forsyth at Pleasant Plains

 

Non-Conference action tonight:

 

Harvey Thornton at Peoria Richwoods
LeRoy at Ottawa Marquette
Madison at Decatur St. Teresa
Mahomet-Seymour at Quincy Notre Dame
Peoria Heights at Milford (Sat.)

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Illinois Hosts Charlotte Saturday

Illinois has not won a game since August and hosts a surging Charlotte team Saturday that is eager to knock off a Big Ten opponent.

 

Illinois’ last victory was the 30-22 season-opening win over Nebraska on Aug. 28. The Illini (1-4, 1-2 Big Ten) have lost all four games since. Three of those were games where Illinois was either tied or down by less than one score with the ball in the final minute.

 

First-year coach Bret Bielema said his team is working on how to close out tight games.

Led by senior quarterback Chris Reynolds, Charlotte (3-1, 1-0 Conference USA) this season has beaten Duke, Gardner-Webb and Middle Tennessee and lost 20-7 at Georgia State.

 

The 49ers’ dynamic receiving duo of Victor Tucker and Grant DuBose have each recorded two 100-yard performances through the first four weeks of the season, against Middle Tennessee and Duke.

 

Reynolds broke the school record for career passing touchdowns in the 41-38 win over Middle Tennessee, passing for 339 yards and four touchdown passes. He has 45 career touchdown passes for a program that only joined the Bowl Subdivision in 2015.

 

True freshman running back Josh McCray has been one of the few bright spots for the Illinois offense. McCray rushed for a career-best 156 yards on 24 carries against Purdue. It was the fifth-most rushing yards by a true freshman in program history, and the most by a true freshman running back since Ke’Shawn Vaughn recorded 180 yards at Purdue in 2015.

 

Illinois is again starting super senior Brandon Peters at quarterback, despite his struggles since returning from an injury in the season opener. Peters threw for 185 yards and an interception against Maryland and for just 100 yards at Purdue. He has yet to throw a touchdown pass.

 

Defensively, Illinois is 12th in the nation and tied for the Big Ten lead in takeaways with nine.

 

Tony Adams and Kerby Joseph both had second-half interceptions at Purdue last week despite the defense playing without starting cornerback Devon Witherspoon, who is eighth in the nation in passes defended per game (1.8), and star linebacker Jake Hansen, considered one of the finest linebackers in the nation.

 

Both Witherspoon and Hansen are expected to miss Saturday’s game.

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Illinois State Hosts Missouri State

After playing three-straight games away from home, Illinois State (2-2, 0-1 MVFC) returns to the nest this Saturday for a match up against No. 16 ranked Missouri State (2-1, 1-0 MVFC) at Hancock Stadium.

 

MSU is off to a 2-1 start to the season, thanks to a 43-34 win over No. 16 Central Arkansas in the home opener and a win over South Dakota last week in the MVFC opener. The Bears head into this week's game at Illinois State ranked No. 16 in the country in both major FCS Top 25 polls.

 

The Redbirds were rolled by Southern Illinois last Saturday 35-17 in Carbondale. Freshman running back Cole Mueller has found a way to make things happen with the ball in his hands in the open field so far this season. The Wentzville, Missouri, native averaged 6.2 yards per carry with a 40-yard burst last week. He's currently averaging 8.3 yards per carry, which ranks him No. 5 in the country and No. 2 in the MVFC. For the second time this season, Illinois State picked off a pair of passes in their contest at Southern Illinois with both coming from Redbird linebackers. 

 

Game time is 1 pm from Hancock Stadium. 

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Eastern Illinois Hits Road for Game at Murray State

Eastern Illinois and Murray State will become quite familiar with each other during the 2021 calendar year as the schools will meet this Saturday for a non-conference contest.  

 

EIU is 1-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference standings after a win at Tennessee Tech last weekend.  The Panthers are 1-4 overall.  Murray State is 1-2 on the year and will open OVC play on Oct. 9.   

 

The two schools will meet in the final game of the 2021 regular season on Nov. 20 marking three meetings between the programs in 237 calendar days.

 

Jordan Miles was named the Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Week following his performance at Tennessee Tech.  He finished with four tackles but three of those were sacks.  On his final two sacks he forced fumbles that were recovered by EIU's defense to end TTU drives.  Miles leads the OVC in both tackles for loss (7.5) and sacks (3) while ranking 32nd in the FCS in forced fumbles.  The last EIU player with three or more sacks in a game was Kory Lothe with four against Tennessee Tech in 2003.

 

DeAirious Smith hauled in six passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday at Tennessee Tech.  Smith is the second EIU wide receiver to pass the 100 yard mark in a game this season joining Tyler Ringwood who had five catches for 116 yards in the Week Zero game at Indiana State.  For Smith it was the second straight game he has found the end zone after he scooped up a blocked punt and returned it for touchdown last week against Illinois State.  He leads the team in scoring and now has seven catches for 133 yards this year. 

 

Jason Johnson posted a big tackle game against Tennessee Tech for the second straight season.  In Saturday's game Johnson finished with 16 tackles as he now leads the OVC with 45 tackles this season. 

 

Game time Saturday is 4 pm. Hear the action on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW starting at 3:30 pm.

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Bears, Packers at Home This Sunday

Coming off one of the worst performances by an offense the NFL has seen, things can only get better for the Chicago Bears this week.

 

The Bears look to pick themselves up when they host the winless Detroit Lions on Sunday in a matchup between teams coming off losses that were gut-wrenching for different reasons.

 

For Chicago (1-2), it was an epic failure on offense in a 26-6 debacle at Cleveland. The Bears ran 42 plays for a grand total of 47 yards, an effort that ranked among the worst the league has seen. It was the ninth-lowest total by an NFL team and the second-worst for the charter franchise.

 

For rookie Justin Fields, it was a nightmare. The No. 11 overall pick got sacked nine times for 67 yards and threw for just 68 on 6-for-20 passing in his first start, with Andy Dalton sidelined because of a bone bruise in his left knee. Fields also hurt his right thumb.

 

The Lions (0-3) are reeling, too, after losing 19-17 to Baltimore on an NFL-record 66-yard field goal by Justin Tucker.

 

 

 

Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger haven't faced off as starting quarterbacks since the Packers defeated the Steelers in the Super Bowl a decade ago.

 

That finally changes Sunday when the Packers (2-1) host the Steelers (1-2) in just the third overall matchup between the two potential Hall of Famers.

 

The Steelers have won their past five regular-season meetings with the Packers, but enter Sunday's game in the AFC North cellar after losing at home to Las Vegas and Cincinnati the past two weeks.

 

Pittsburgh is scoring 16.7 points per game to rank 28th out of 32 teams.

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Cardinals Stay Hot, Down Brewers

Rookie Dylan Carlson hit two go-ahead home runs, one from each side of the plate, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 on Thursday.

 

Carlson's homers made a winner out of J.A. Happ, who entered the game 0-3 in his last five starts against the Brewers. Happ (10-8) gave up 3 runs on 9 hits and struck out 7 in 6 1/3 innings, his longest outing since St. Louis acquired him from the Minnesota Twins on July 30.

 

Kodi Whitley and T.J. McFarland combined for two innings of scoreless relief and Luis Garcia earned his second save as the Cardinals won the rubber game of the series after having their franchise record 17-game winning streak snapped the night before. The streak lifted the Cardinals into next week's NL wild-card game against the Los Angeles Dodgers or San Francisco.

 

Batting from the left side, Carlson smacked a 93-mph pitch from Milwaukee reliever Miguel Sanchez (2-1) into right field for a two-run homer to give the Cardinals a 4-3 lead in the sixth.

 

It was the second career multi-homer game for the 22-year-old, who also went deep from both sides of the plate against the San Diego Padres on Sept. 17. The Cardinals said Carlson is the first rookie in MLB history to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game multiple times in a single season, citing Elias Sports Bureau.

 

Luis Urias' opposite-field home run for the Brewers tied the game at 1 in the third.

 

Mike Shildt named Adam Wainwright the starter of the wild-card game against either the Dodgers or Giants on Wednesday. Wainwright is 17-7 with a 3.08 ERA this season.

 

Dakota Hudson (1-0, 4.91 ERA) will make his first start in over a year against the visiting Chicago Cubs in the first of three on Friday night. Hudson, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, made his season debut against the Cubs on Sept. 24, giving up two runs in 3 2/3 innings of relief. The Cubs have not named a starter.

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Cubs Blank Pirates

Justin Steele breezed through seven shutout innings and the Chicago Cubs scored six runs in the second inning Thursday night, beating Pittsburgh 9-0 and sending the Pirates to their 100th loss of the season.

 

Steele (4-4) struck out seven and gave up four hits on 76 pitches. The rookie left-hander, who hadn't gone more than five innings in eight major league starts, bounced back after allowing six runs and seven hits against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sept. 24.

 

Sergio Alcantara drove in three runs, two coming on a homer to right off Miguel Yajure (0-2) that gave Chicago a 3-0 lead in the six-run second. Steele helped his own cause with a single and scored on a groundout by Frank Schwindel, Rafael Ortega took home on a double steal, Willson Contreras had an RBI double and Matt Duffy made it 7-0 with a single.

 

The Cubs have not announced a starting pitcher for the first of a three-game series at St. Louis on Friday.

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NASCAR Heads to Talladega

The final superspeedway stop of the year comes this Sunday when the NASCAR Cup Series stops in Talladega, Alabama for the YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

 

Denny Hamlin led 137 of 267 laps at Las Vegas and opened the second round of the playoffs the same way he opened the first: by winning.

 

Hamlin was winless until the playoffs began. Kyle Larson still leads in the point standings, but three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers are closing in. His lead has shrunk to 14 points over Hamlin, 22 over Kyle Busch and 26 over Martin Truex Jr. Ryan Blaney is fifth, 33 behind. 

 

Eight of the top 10 finishers at Las Vegas are playoff contenders. Kevin Harvick had a postrace lug nut violation, which means crew chief Rodney Childers will be fined $20,000 and suspended from the race in Alabama.

 

The 500 mile, 188 lap race fires up at 2 pm on Sunday.

 

The XFinity series and Truck Series will also be in Talladega this weekend. Justin Haley is the reigning winner of last fall's race and last week's winner, Josh Berry, substituting for the injured Michael Annett, led a 1-2-3 finish for JR Motorsports at Las Vegas, his second victory of the season.

 

Justin Allgaier was second and Noah Gragson third. Gragson’s finish came despite two pit road penalties. 

 

Eight of the 12 drivers in the playoffs finished in the top 10. Defending series champion Austin Cindric leads A.J. Allmendinger by seven points in the title chase. Allgaier and Gragson are 28 and 29 points behind, respectively, and Daniel Hemric is 32 behind.

 

The XFinity cars run at 4:30 pm on Saturday going 300.58 miles and 113 laps. 

 

The Chevrolet Silverado 250 truck series race will precede the XFinity race Saturday at 1 pm. 

 

Christian Eckes led a 1-2-3-4 finish for ThorSport Racing at Las Vegas, taking the lead on a restart with four laps remaining for his first career victory.

 

Fast facts: Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter followed Eckes across the finish line. John Hunter Nemechek won his series-best 11th stage, but mechanical problems relegated him to 33rd and cost him the series points lead. Rhodes leads him by six with Stewart Friesen 25 back, three-time champ Crafton 29 behind and defending series champ Sheldon Creed 34 behind.

 

Raphael Lessard won this race last year after starting 15th. 

 

The trucks race at 1 pm on Saturday for 250 miles and 94 laps. 

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