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.

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.

Week 8 Southern Illinois River to River- Ohio schedule and playoff outlook

by Steve Dunford

Week 8 Schedule

Benton (5-2)(3-1) at Murphysboro (1-6)(1-3)

Massac County (0-7)(0-4) at West Frankfort (4-3)(2-2)

Harrisburg (4-3)(2-2) at Herrin (6-1)(4-0)

Playoff Outlook


Herrin (6-1)  – The Tigers have cruised through the SIRR-Ohio field and have not been tested.  They should beat the Harrisburg Bulldogs tomorrow night.  It is senior night at the Graveyard II.  The Tigers will go to Breese Central on Week 9.  The Cougars has snuck up on the Tigers in the past.  Benton, West Frankfort and Harrisburg will turn into big Tiger fans, hoping for another playoff point.

On The Bubble

Benton (5-2)  –  The Rangers might have the best record of the three but they could be the most vulnerable.  The Murphy game is a must win, however I think the Rangers will be favorites. They have 28 playoff points right now.  It will be an uphill battle going to A-J on Week 9.  If they happen to get upset tomorrow night, they will be big Harrisburg Bulldog, West Frankfort, and praying that Murphysboro could turn into spoilers against the DuQuoin Indians.  A win tomorrow night and Benton will breathe easier.  Benton is 4A by eight students.  There is an outside chance they could be bumped down to 3A.

West Frankfort (4-3) –  Of the three on the bubble, West Frankfort has the easiest schedule.  They will take care of Massac County on Senior Night, and they travel to Nashville on Week 9 as the favorites.  The Redbirds in the playoff conversation again this year is great for the program, basically in a rebuilding year.

Harrisburg (4-3) –  It would be one of the upsets of the year if they beat Herrin tomorrow night.  They should beat Carbondale in Week 9.   Their tough schedule should help them pick up a lot of playoff points in week 9, so they should get in at 5-4.  If Fairfield, S-V-W-W or Anna Jonesboro go undefeated, they would be likely first round opponents, however the state is sliced up.  The Bulldogs are listed as 3A, but there is a chance they could be bumped up to 4A.



Links to Week 7 football stories involving Franklin County Schools

Benton 53 Massac County 13

Link to the story from Rick Hayes – Benton  News

Sesser-Valier-Waltonville-Woodlawn 62 Hamilton County 34

Link to the story from Richard Blakley – Benton News

Johnston City 54 Christopher-Zeigler-Royalton 0

Link to the story from Jimmy Dean – Benton News

Herrin 52  West Frankfort 6

Link to the story from Dave Broy –


The Benton Rangers Golf Team advances, three from WF at Carbondale Regional

Results from IHSA Regional at Hickory Ridge

Carbondale- 311 (advances to sectional)
BENTON – 315 (advances to sectional)
Massac – 316 (advances to sectional)
Herrin – 324
West Frankfort- 336
Marion – 339
Mt. Vernon – 341
Benton Scoring:
Eldon Owens – 75
Brendan Luster – 76
Robbie Moore – 81
Brad Hammond – 83

Up Next: Salem Sectional Monday Oct. 9th

From the Benton Rangers Golf Facebook Page

For West Frankfort results, please click on the following link from


Redbirds win in OT in a Wild One at Murphysboro Friday Night

by Steve Dunford

MURPHYSBORO, IL – “That was crazy, I am glad we came out of here with a win.  I will have a much better weekend”, said West Frankfort coach Brian Beery.  “We are coming a long way as a team.  I am proud of my guys.  They never quit, said Murphysboro coach Gary Carter.  Carter was honored last night for picking up his 100th win as a coach.  In week five the Red Devils defeated Massac County 42-20, for the Devils first win of the season.

Carter was an eyelash away from picking up win 101 Friday night.  I have been around sports a long time.  Last night down at Murphy is one of those games I will tell my grandkids one day when they are sitting on my knee.

Here is where things started.  The Redbirds just went up 36-20 at the 7:48 mark on a three yard run by Madison Allen.  Ben Souders forced a fumble on the first play of the fourth quarter.  The Redbirds were very conservative on that drive, being a one possession game and the clock was their best friend.

On the second play of the drive at the 7:14 mark of the fourth quarter the Johnson brothers came up big.  Brendan stripped the ball and Brock recovered a fumble.

With West Frankfort up 14 with the ball, there was a mass exodus of Red Devil fans.The Redbirds were taking their time on what was an eight play drive.

I was making my way to the field, as time was under the two minute mark to catch up with the coaches.  The Redbirds were taking their time, on what was an eight play drive.  They were smelling victory.  They get the ball to the Murphysboro five.

I was thinking on the next play WF would take a knee. There was a low snap that Connor Eaton fumbled.  It was loose on the field.  Jordan Haskins recovered at his own 15, broke several tackles, and scored.  Braden Caldwell ran in the two point conversion to cut Frankfort’s lead to 36-28.

The pandemonium continued.  The Red Devils attempted an on side kick.  The ones across the way were claiming Muphy touched the ball.  On my end, it looked like it struck Madison Allen’s ankle, and he was out of bounds.  Caldwell recovers and the ball is awarded the Murphysboro.  There was a lot of barking from the Redbird faithful, who was outnumbering the Red Devil fans at this point in the game.

The next drive started at the Murphysboro 48.  The Red Devils had all their time outs left and went to the air.  Quarterback Jamar McZeke finds Haskins in the end zone with a 22 yard pass with :28 to go.  Caldwell runs it in for the two point conversion to tie it at 36.

The Redbirds come out and run one play and the game goes into overtime.  Murphy wins the coin toss, and elects to defer.

Madison Allen scores on fourth down and six inches to put the Redbirds up 42-36.  It was the sixth fourth down conversion on the night for the Red Devils.

Murphy goes to the air on first and fourth down.  Allen came up with two big tackles on Caldwell.  The Big Red Army goes nuts, as they escaped out of Jackson County with the win.

Now lets rewind to the beginning.  On the kickoff Brock Johnson recovers a fumble.  Four plays later Eaton scores on a five yard run at the 10:30 mark.  He rushed for 180 yards on 21 carries.  The two point conversion failed and West Frankfort led 6-0.

Murphy answers back at the 6:52 mark with an 11 yard run from Zane Caraway.  He led Murphysboro with 115 yards on the night.  The extra point failed, and it was all knotted up at six.

The Redbirds did not waste anytime answering back.  Allen scores with 15 of his 151 yards on the night.  He took in in on the two point conversion, and it was 14-6 WF.  The eight yard drive was featured by Eaton hitting Kyle Hammers for a 20 yard pass. Allen also broke loose for a 26 yard run on the drive on fourth down.

Murphy answers back with an eight play drive.  Caraway scored a TD with a five yard run at the :48 mark of the first quarter.  The conversion failed and it was 14-6 West Frankfort at the end of the quarter.  Caldwell had a 30 yard run on the drive.  He had 73 yards on the night.

The Redbirds get back on the board again with a ten yard run by Eaton.  Allen picks up the conversion and it was 22-12 Redbirds at the 8:11 mark in the first half.

Murphysboro answers back at the 3:48 mark of the first half with an 11 play drive.  Jake Hoppenstedt picks up a touchdown with a five yard run.  McZeke completes a pass to Caldwell for the two point conversion.  The Red Devils cut the West Frankfort lead to 22-20,

The Redbirds don’t waste any time to answer back.  Eaton runs it in from mid field at the 1:05 mark.  He also picks up the two point conversion as both teams go to the locker room 30-20.

The score remained the same until the bizarre events of the night broke out at the top of the story.

Going into the game, It was a must win for the situation for the Redbirds to keep their playoff aspirations alive.  They currently sit at 23 points.  To get in, they will have to be 6-3.  I think WF is in good shape.   It would be the upset of the decade if they knock off the Herrin Tigers next week at the Graveyard II.

I think you could count them as heavy favorites against Massac County and Nashville.  If the Redbirds take care of business, they are in.

With the enrollment falling, I see the Redbirds solidly in 3A this year.  I need to do some research this week on some teams in the central part of the state in case the IHSA divides the state into quadrants.  In 3A they do that a lot.

Potential opponents for the Redbirds would be, the Fairfield Mules, a rematch with Anna-Jonesboro, or possibly an all Franklin County matchup facing the S-V-W-W Red Devils at Carroll Kelly field.

Dropping to 1-5, Murphysboro was officially eliminated from the playoffs.  With all the sophomores they play, they will be a very dangerous team in the River-to-River.







Week Six High School Scoreboard

Black Diamond

(6-0)  *Sesser-Valier-Waltonville-Woodlawn 20  Chester 6 (3-3)

(5-1)   *Eldorado 54  Christopher-Zeigler Royalton 6 (0-6)

 (6-0)  *Fairfield 50  Edwards County 0 (2-4)

(3-3)  Carmi-White County 44  Johnston City 14 (1-5)

Hamilton County (0-5) at Vienna-Goreville (3-2)

Southern Illinois River to River Ohio

(4-2)(2-1)  West Frankfort 44  Murphysboro 38 OT (1-5)(1-2)

(4-2)(2-1)  Benton 35  Harrisburg 28 (3-3)(1-2)

(5-1)(3-0)    Herrin 49  Massac County 0

Southern Illinois River to River Mississippi

(6-0)(3-0)  *Anna Jonesboro 35  Pinckneyville 0 (0-6)(0-3)

(4-2)(2-1)  Carterville 54  Nashville 21 (3-3)(1-2)

(5-1)(2-1)  DuQuoin  55  Sparta 20 (1-5)(1-2)

South Seven

(5-1)(2-1)  Belleville Altoff 32  Marion 28  (3-3)(2-1)

(5-1)(3-0)  Centralia 41  Cahokia 30 (2-4)(1-2)

(2-4)(1-2)  Carbondale 41  Mt. Vernon 8 (0-6)(0-3)

*Clinched playoff spot

Week Six Preview: West Frankfort (3-2)(1-1) at Murphysboro (1-4)(1-1)

by Steve Dunford


The West Frankfort Redbirds travel to Murphysboro this evening to take on the Red Devils at the mid-point of the SIRR Ohio seasons.  Both teams are coming of shellackings  in Week 5.  Murphysboro fell to Herrin 42-6, and the Redbirds fell to their arch rivals, the Benton Rangers 47-14.

This is what Murphysboro coach Gary Carter had to say about the season so far.  “We are 1-4, we are playing a lot of younger kids in every phase of the game. It has been a difficult season for us, but we like our younger players and feel they can compete.

“Our QB is Sophomore Jamarr McZeke, also in the offensive backfield is Senior Brandon Caldwell, Sophomore Zane Caraway and Sophomore Jake Hoppenstedt. Brandon, Zane and Jake will play on both sides of the ball for us.”

Here is what Coach Carter’s thoughts are on the Redbirds.  “West Frankfort has good size and their running backs and QB run hard. Defensively, I think their linebacker core is solid and can cause teams problems. Coach Beery does a great job with his program and we know that West Frankfort will play hard.”

West Frankfort Coach Brian Beery had to say about the matchup against the Red Devils tonight,  “Murphysboro is a very athletic/competitive team, regardless of their record. Their offense posses a lot of threats to our defense. They have great overall team speed, with a very athletic QB. Furthermore, they use a lot of motion and unbalanced formations that we will have to adjust to prior to the snap of the ball.

Their defense is very aggressive, and have defensive linemen that are not only big, but quick. In order to be competitive we will have to play good sound football. We can’t afford to lose the turnover battle, and we must limit our penalties.”

We are getting down the home stretch of the season.  It is the time of year that is fun for number crunching geeks and bracketologists like me.

Tonight’s game is a must win if the Redbirds have playoff hopes for two reasons, first it will be important to come out of the gates strong after last week’s loss to Benton.  Second, with the lack of points, the Redbirds will have to be 6-3 to get in.  Between Sparta, Pinckneyville and Nashville, there will probably only be at the most seven or eight points between the three.

Barring injuries and other unforeseen circumstances as of now the Redbirds will be the favorites against Massac County and Nashville.  Even though DuQuoin beat them earlier in the year,  I see Herrin running the table in the conference.

So that comes to tonight’s game.  I think last Saturday was some growing pains for the team.   I think we will see a Redbird team that will come out ready to play tonight.

I am going with the Redbirds by ten points tonight.





Week 6 High School Football Schedule

Black Diamond

Eldorado (4-1) at Christopher-Zeigler-Royalton (0-5)

Chester (3-2) at Sesser-Valier-Waltonville Woodlawn (5-0)*

Edwards County (2-3) at Fairfield (5-0)*

Johnsotn City (1-4) at Carmi-White County (2-3)

Hamilton County (0-5) at Vienna-Goreville (3-2)  Saturday 1:00 p.m.

Southern Illinois River to River Ohio

Harrisburg (3-2)(1-1) at Benton (3-2)(1-1)

West Frankfort (3-2)(1-1)  at Murphysboro (1-4)(1-1)

Herrin (4-1)(2-0)  at Massac County (0-5)(0-2)

Southern Illinois River to River Mississippi

Anna-Jonesboro (5-0)(2-0) at Pinckneyville (0-5)(0-2)

Nashville (2-3)(1-1) at Carterville (3-2)(1-1)

DuQuoin (4-1)(1-1) at Sparta (1-4)(1-1)

South Seven

Belleville Altoff (4-1)(1-1) at Marion (3-2)(2-0)

Cahokia (2-3)(1-1) at Centralia (4-1)(2-0)

Carbondale (1-4)(0-2) at Mt. Vernon (0-5)(0-2)

Prep Golf: Benton, Nashville claim SIRR titles


CARBONDALE, IL – (Harrisburg Register.  Please Click on the link above for the full story.  Here is an excerpt below.)

At the Southern Illinois River-To-River Conference Golf Tournament Tuesday, Benton won the Ohio, while Nashville cruised to the Mississippi Division title.

The Rangers’ 309, was better than a 324 by Herrin, who just edged out Massac County, who shot a 327. West Frankfort took fourth in the Ohio with a 336.

Benton’s Brendan Luster, Herrin’s Drew Ringle and Massac County’s Brock Willmes all had the low score of the tournament as the three shot a 75.