Redbird QB Connor Eaton ….Devils RB Eli Gunter for WSIL/Banterra Player of the Week

Click on the link to vote above.  Previous winners from Franklin County are RB Madison Allen of West Frankfort, FB Peyton Rock of SVWW, and QB Hamilton Page of Benton.

Chester Blanks CZR 60-0

CHRISTOPHER, IL  (Randall Risley, Benton News. Please click on the link for the full story.  Here is an excerpt below. )

NOTE:  The JV team improved to 5-3 last night against Chester 30-28.

A game that already figured to be a challenge for winless Christopher-Zeigler-Royalton was made all the more difficult with injuries to several key Bearcats Friday as the Chester Yellow Jackets rolled to a 60-0 Black Diamond Conference win at Spann Field.

Greg Fletcher, one of the most significant offensive threats and a stalwart on defense, was one of the injured players.

“We had seven or eight starters out tonight, so we were using 15 first-year players,” said CZR first-year head coach Anthony Hargrove.


SVWW Red Devils blow past Vienna-Goreville, 38-13

SESSER, IL (Richard Blakely, Benton News. Please click on the link above for the full story.  Here is an excerpt below.)

The Sesser-Valier/Waltonville/Woodlawn Red Devils got off to a bit of a slow start in Friday’s home game with Vienna-Goreville, but still managed a 38-13 win over the Eagles at Carrol Kelly field.

The SVWW offense racked up 390 rushing yards in the game. Peyton Rock collected 55 yards on nine carries. Tanner Eubanks added 52 yards on three tries and Smith was 4-7 passing for 58 yards and one touchdown.

Lukas Gunter had 48 yards on two catches and one touchdown. The Red Devil defense held the Eagles to 170 yards rushing. Nolan Dahncke paced the Eagles with 82 yards on 14 carriers. He had 59 yards on his last two carriers late in the game. Logyn Fassato was 2-3 passing for 49 yards and one touchdown to Dahncke.

Red Devils recieve votes in the latest AP Class 3A poll

Here is the eighth set of 2017 rankings of Illinois high school football teams in each class, according to an Associated Press panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. This vote was taken Oct. 10:
Class 8A
School W-L Pts Prv
1. Lincoln-Way East (10) (7-0) 109 1
2. Maine South (6-1) 97 2
3. Wilmette Loyola (6-1) 83 3
4. Chicago Marist (1) (7-0) 78 4
5. Barrington (7-0) 64 T5
6. Homewood-Flossmoor (6-1) 58 T5
7. Huntley (6-1) 48 7
8. Bolingbrook (6-1) 14 NR
9. LaGrange Lyons (6-1) 13 NR
10. Naperville Central (5-2) 11 8
— Others receiving votes: Naperville North 10, Hinsdale Central 7, Gurnee Warren 4, Lincolnshire Stevenson 2, Oswego 2, St. Charles East 2, South Elgin 2, Oswego East 1.
Class 7A
School W-L Pts Prv
1. Lake Zurich (5) (7-0) 113 2
2. East St. Louis (5) (6-1) 105 1
3. Glenbard West (2) (6-1) 99 3
4. Normal Community (7-0) 78 4
5. Batavia (7-0) 75 5
6. St. Charles North (6-1) 50 8
7. Chicago St. Rita (5-2) 36 9
8. Rockton Hononegah (7-0) 25 NR
9. Lincoln-Way Central (6-1) 23 10
10. Wheaton North (6-1) 19 NR
— Others receiving votes: Hoffman Estates 18, Willowbrook 5, Algonquin Jacobs 4, Lisle Benet 4, Rockford Auburn 3, Chicago Lincoln Park 2, Arlington Heights Hersey 1.
Class 6A
School W-L Pts Prv
1. Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge (13) (7-0) 130 1
2. Crete-Monee (6-1) 110 4
3. Cary-Grove (5-2) 87 5
4. DeKalb (6-1) 78 6
5. LaGrange Nazareth (6-1) 75 2
6. Normal West (6-1) 63 7
7. Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin (5-2) 49 3
8. New Lenox Providence (5-2) 38 NR
9. Lombard Montini (5-2) 28 10
10. Lakes Community (6-1) 17 8
— Others receiving votes: Lemont 17, Danville 8, Burbank St. Laurence 5, Oak Lawn Richards 4, Riverside-Brookfield 4, Peoria Central 2.
Class 5A
School W-L Pts Prv
1. Chicago Phillips (11) (7-0) 119 1
2. Sterling (1) (7-0) 109 2
3. Dunlap (7-0) 86 4
4. Highland (7-0) 82 3
5. Antioch (7-0) 74 5
6. Decatur MacArthur (6-1) 61 T8
7. Morton (6-1) 38 10
7. Washington (5-2) 38 T8
9. Centralia (5-2) 19 6
10. Hillcrest (5-2) 12 7
— Others receiving votes: Troy Triad 9, Rich Central 5, Chicago Payton 4, Chicago Solorio Academy 2, Rochelle 1, Chicago Lindblom 1.
Class 4A
School W-L Pts Prv
1. Rochester (11) (7-0) 110 1
2. Herscher (7-0) 94 3
3. Johnsburg (7-0) 88 4
4. Dixon (7-0) 74 5
5. Morris (6-1) 63 2
6. Belleville Althoff Catholic (6-1) 53 6
7. Effingham (6-1) 36 7
8. Coal City (6-1) 25 T8
9. Rock Island Alleman (5-2) 18 NR
(tie) Herrin (6-1) 18 10
— Others receiving votes: Chicago Raby 15, Taylorville 10, Chicago Sullivan 1.
Class 3A
School W-L Pts Prv
1. Elmhurst IC Catholic (11) (6-1) 118 1
2. Tolono Unity (1) (7-0) 107 2
3. Williamsville (7-0) 99 3
4. Byron (7-0) 80 4
5. Carlinville (7-0) 66 6
6. Monticello (6-1) 57 7
7. Bloomington Central Catholic (6-1) 42 9
8. Decatur St. Teresa (6-1) 34 5
9. Elmwood-Brimfield (6-1) 15 8
10. Peotone (6-1) 13 NR
— Others receiving votes: Anna-Jonesboro 10, Fairfield 9, Wilmington 4, Sesser-Valier 3, Vandalia 2, Watseka 1.
Class 2A
School W-L Pts Prv
1. Sterling Newman (11) (7-0) 117 1
2. Farmington (1) (7-0) 106 2
3. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley (7-0) 92 3
4. Hamilton West Hancock (7-0) 81 4
5. Downs Tri-Valley (6-1) 64 5
6. Rockridge (6-1) 51 7
7. Westville (7-0) 49 6
8. Orion (6-1) 39 9
9. Maroa-Forsyth (6-1) 35 8
10. Fieldcrest (6-1) 9 10
— Others receiving votes: Chicago Hope Academy 8, Trenton Wesclin 5, Aurora Christian 2, Alton Marquette 1, Clifton Central 1.
Class 1A
School W-L Pts Prv
1. Lena-Winslow (8) (7-0) 106 1
2. Tuscola (3) (7-0) 100 2
3. Forreston (6-1) 90 3
4. Annawan-Wethersfield (6-1) 64 5
5. Carrollton (7-0) 52 7
6. Shelbyville (6-1) 48 6
7. Red Hill (7-0) 29 T10
8. Ottawa Marquette (6-1) 26 8
9. Mt. Sterling Brown County (6-1) 24 4
10. Athens (6-1) 23 9
— Others receiving votes: Fulton 21, Freeport Aquin 11, Princeville 5, Camp Point Central 3, Dakota 2,

Red Devils post upset win over Rangers

MURPHYSBORO, IL (Rick Hayes, Benton News.  Please Click on the link above for the full story.  Here is an excerpt below.)

Benton dug itself into a 13-0 deficit, never recovering from a flat offensive performance, while dropping a 19-14 decision to Murphysboro Friday night.

Murphysboro came into the contest with just one victory after seven starts. With the victory, the Red Devils spoiled Benton’s opportunity to clinch a postseason berth. The loss dropped the Rangers to 5-3.

“This is not the situation we wanted to put ourselves in. Now we get a chance to see what they’re made of, how they handle adversity,” Pankey said. “We have to find a way for this setback to not be a setback and not deter from us where we want to go moving forward.”

Week 8 High School Football Scoreboard – SIRR….. South Seven Final Standings

Black Diamond

(8-0) Sesser-Valier-Waltonville-Woodlawn  38    Vienna-Goreville  13  (4-4) 

(4-4)Chester  60   Chirstopher-Zeigler-Royalton 0 (0-8)  

(8-0) Fairfield 14     Eldorado 8 (6-2)

(3-5)  Edwards County  27  Johnston City 7 (2-6)

(5-3)  Carmi-White County  34  Hamilton County  8 (0-8)

Southern Illinois River-to-River Ohio

(5-3)(3-2)  West Frankfort  49  Massac County  8 (0-8)(0-5) 

(2-6)(2-3)  Murphysboro  19  Benton 14 (5-3)(3-2)

(6-1)(4-0)  Herrin  48   Harrisubrg 7 (4-4)(2-3)

Final Standings

1.  Herrin (4-0)(6-1)

2.  Benton (3-2)(5-3)

2.  West Frankfort (3-2)(5-3)

4.  Harrisburg (2-3)(4-4)

4.  Murphysboro (2-3)(2-6)

6.  Massac County (0-5)(0-8)


Southern Illinois River-to-River Mississippi

(6-2)(4-1) Carterville  35    Pinckneyville  7 (0-8)(0-5)

(8-0)(5-0) Anna-Jonesboro 46   Sparta  (1-7)(0-5)

(6-2)(3-2)  DuQuoin  56   Nashville 13 (3-5)(2-3)

Final Standings

  1.   Anna Jonesboro (5-0)(8-0)
  2.   Carterville (4-1)(6-2)
  3.  DuQuoin (3-2)(6-2)
  4.  Nashville (3-5)(2-3)
  5.  Sparta (1-4)(1-7)
  6.  Pinckneyville (0-5)(0-8)


South Seven

(7-1)(4-1)  Belleville Altoff   21    Cahokia 20 (3-5)(2-3)

(5-3)(4-1) Marion  42  Carbondale  21  (2-6)(1-4)

(6-2)(4-1) Centralia  42  Mt. Vernon  7 (0-8)(0-5)

Final Standings

  1.  Belleville Altoff (7-1)(4-1)

1.  Marion (4-1)(5-2)

1.  Centralia (4-1)(6-2)

4.  Cahokia (2-3)(3-5)

5.  Carbondale (1-4)(2-5)

6.  Mt. Vernon (0-5)(0-8)



WEEK 8 PREVIEW: Chester (3-4) at Christopher-Zeigler-Royalton (0-7)

by Steve Dunford

Thank you Randall Risley for allowing me to use your photos.

The Chester Yellow jackets make the trip to Franklin County tonight to face the C-Z-R.  Chester is coming off of a 34-7 loss to Carmi-White-County.  The Bearcats fell to the Johnston City Indians 54-0.

it is Senior Night for three seniors, Trinton Bishop, Scotty Killip, and Zach Marvel.

I have been keeping up with their JV team and they picked up a forfeit win over JC on Monday.

I asked Yellow Jacket coach Billy Belton fill me in on the S-V-W-W and Carmi game.  “We played Sesser very well. We lost 20-6, and it was 12-6 with 3 mins left in the game. Sesser and Chester both played very hard. I was proud of our boys, and how hard they played. It was a very physical game, and fun to be a part of.”

“We lost to Carmi 34-7. Carmi is a very good football team, a playoff team. They have 15 Seniors. They were big up front and they ran the ball very well. They are always well coached. Coach Simon does a great job. Nick Meyer was 10/24 133 passing, 1 TD. Keith Kiner lead the team in receiving 6-61, Curt Meyer 2-27, Calvin Clendenin 1-11 1 TD. Nick Meyer Lead the rushing attack with 69 yards. Mason Westerman added 3 Carries for 19 Yards. Over all we are healthy. We still have a great chance to make the playoffs. I feel like we have a very good football team.”

When you have three seniors and 24 kids in your program, it has been a struggle for the Bearcats.  They need a game where they can play a full 48 minutes, then make a good showing at winless Hamilton County next Friday night.


WEEK 8 PREVIEW: Vienna-Goreville (4-3) at Sesser-Valier-Waltonville-Woodlawn (7-0)

by Steve Dunford

The SVWW Devils who where the 103.5 ESPN Team of the Week after their Week 2 Victory over Eldorado. Join Mike Murphy and Scott Hudson on SportsVoice to see who will be the team of the week Saturday Morning from 8-10 a.m.

The S-V-W-W Red Devils hope to keep their undefeated streak alive, as the Seniors will play their final home regular season game at Caroll Kelly Field.  It is highly likely they will get a home game in the first round of the playoffs.  Devils coach John Shadowens had this to say about Senior night, I’m trying not to think too hard about it being Senior Night. I could get emotional pretty easy. I coached these boys as freshmen and followed them up to varsity. They feel like my own kids.

I asked coach Shadowens about the Vienna-Goreville Eagles and especially coaching against the legendary Mike Rude, “Always an honor to go up against Coach Rude.  He’s been a friend and a mentor to me for years. Vienna-Goreville will be tough because those kids are fighting for their playoff lives.”

I have just watched bits and pieces of the Eagles games.  Nolan Dahncke and Peyton Massey might be rivals in the backcourt on the hardwood but they make a good 1 -2 punch in the backfield.

The Devils have been on a roll, and I feel they are the biggest story in the 2017 football season.  I have watched a lot of these kids grow up.

Even by streaming, I am looking forward to covering them on Week Nine as it will be for all the marbles.  I expect the Devils to win by 14 tomorrow night.




WEEK 8 PREVIEW: Benton (5-2)(3-1) at Murphysboro (1-6)(1-3)

by Steve Dunford

This high school football season has flown by.  It seems impossible that week eight is coming up.

The Benton Rangers 5-2 on the year and 3-1 on the Southern Illinois River to River, Ohio Division, will be travelling to Doc Bencini Field to take on the Murphysboro Red Devils.

Murpry Comes in to tonight’s game with a 1-6 record, and 1-3 in the conference.  Their only win was against Massac County who they defeated 42-20.  They had a heartbreaking loss to West Frankfort 42-36 in overtime.  They lost another heartbreaker to Harrisburg last week 17-14 on a last second field goal.

Here is what Benton coach Bob Pankey had to say about the Red Devils,  “Murphy is playing a lot of young guys. They are athletic but inexperienced. They do have the ability to make big plays. Their style of offense incorporates lots of motion and misdirection, so we have to play defense with disciplined eyes and be assignment-sound.”

Bailey Hopson, along with Cade Thomas, one of Hamilton Page’s favorite targets throughout the season.

Murphysboro Coach Gary Carter had this to say about the matchup with the Rangers.  “Benton is good at what they do on offense. The QB can throw and run and the spread formations makes it even more difficult to defend. The receivers from Benton do a nice job with their routes and catch the ball well. Defensively, I am impressed with their linebackers especially the Pankey kid, he is a good football player. We will have to play well to have a chance to win.

Jamarr McZeke  can scramble out of the pocket.  The start against WF was either his first or second start.  He liked hooking up Jordan Haskins on that drive against the Redbirds that tied the game up in the closing seconds,  Haskins also ran back the 95 yard fumble in the closing seconds and had an interception.

Braden Caldwell is good both sides of the ball, and shows some senior leadership to this young team.   Sophmore Zane Caraway will be one of the best running backs in the Ohio his senior year.  He is one of the top ones already.  Another sophomore Jake Hoppendstedt, will be a good one as well, and is a significant contributor for the Red Devils.

Benton will have a big advantage on the line.  Offensively, Hamilton Page will have a lot of time to pass.  He could hit 200 yards.  Defensively, the linebacker corps of the Rangers could cause McZeke some problems.

I thought the linebacker corps for Benton and Harrisburg are comparable.  McZeke was 1-5 with two interceptions against Harrisburg.  However Murphy picked up 287 yards on the ground.

This is a must win for the Rangers tonight.  They will not have enough playoff points to get in at 5-4.  It is going to be a war down at A-J next week.

I am going with the Rangers by 20.  This game has the potential to be a shootout.  It is a great atmosphere for High School football and I would encourage you to make the trip down there tonight.


Ranger Stats

Story of the Murphysboro-Harrisburg Game from the Harrisburg Register




WEEK 8 PREVIEW: Massac County (0-7)(0-4) at West Frankfort (4-3)(2-2)

by Steve Dunford

The 2017 Redbird Seniors

The West Frankfort Redbirds (4-3) and (2-1) in the Southern Illinois River to River close out conference play by facing the winless Massac County Patriots.  It is Senior Night and Black Out Night for the Redbirds.

I asked West Frankfort Coach Brian Beery for a few thoughts on his seniors. “This year’s seniors have been a pleasure to coach. They have battled through injuries and have played hard nosed football over the past four years. They played a support role last year when we made the playoffs for the first time in nine years, and this year have combined well with our Juniors and Sophomores to put together some nice wins. ” 

This is what Coach Beery had to say about tonight’s matchup with Massac County. “Massac’s offense has the ability to score points quickly. They have a tall, strong-armed QB (Mason Corzine), that also has the ability to run the ball. Their receiving core is lead by 6’5” Isaiah Thompson that can catch the “jump ball” and make catches in clutch situations. Their running game is lead by a hard-nosed sophomore, Blake Baird that is low to the ground and is hard to tackle. Defensively we will have to do a better job defending the pass, while boxing in their QB and running back.”

Here is what Massac County coach John Warren said about tonight’s matchup with the Redbirds, “ I know we came up on the lower side of the score last week, but I thought we had really played a good first half. With two games remaining, we are really putting our focus on putting those 4 quarters together and seeing what the end result might be. We told the kids this week that we were proud of their toughness and ability to battle when the odds were far off. This week will be no different, another quality R2R team that needs this win to keep their playoff picture open.”

“With that being said, I know emotions will be high on their side. We have to match that intensity and then some to try and steal some of that energy. Like in any league, momentum carries a lot of weight. We would love to play with a lead instead of trying to mount a comeback every week. I haven’t done a good job of getting our offense to help out our defense. This week our focus remains on trying to establish a run game to be able to control the clock, have a close game at the end and be able to steal one on the road.”

I did not realize that Isaiah Thompson was still in high school.  It seems like he has been playing basketball for Joe Hosman for years.

The Redbirds hold their own destiny in their hands.  The have two winnable games in front of them, and they will be playing in week 10.  In a rebuilding year, being in contention for a playoff birth means there will be some good times over the next couple of years in West Frankfort.

I am going with the Redbirds by 14 and a third place finish in the Ohio division.