Monday, October 28, 2019

St. Joseph-Ogden wins state softball title, #MemoryMonday



2006 softball state champs pose for their official team photo
The St. Joseph-Ogden softball team poses with their state medals and the program's first state champion softball trophy. The Class 1A title winners finished the season with a record of 31-6. The title run followed the previous year's third-place finish and 32-4 finish. Since this season, the Spartans have made three additional state finals appearances in 2012, 2015 and 2017 bringing home second, third and fourth place trophies. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)


Spartan pitcher Morgan Finn winds up for a pitch against Casey-Westfield back on June 3, 2006, in her team's second consecutive state final appearance. In the previous season, Finn, who was the number 2 pitcher, and the Spartans brought home a third place state trophy to place next to the program's first, a fourth place one from 1989 season. Using her uncanny placement and speed, Finn's pitching led St. Joseph-Ogden to a 1-0 to victory to win the first program's first IHSA state softball title. Dubbed underdogs at the start of the postseason, SJO gave up just one run in during their memorable run to the Class 1A title. See more photos from 2006 softball season here. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)


second base player Stacy Ferguson hauls in a pop fly Illinois' most-winningest softball coach Randy Wolken
Left: On their way to winning the state title the Spartans took a few lumps during the 2006 season. One of them was a 3-1 loss at home against the Monticello Sages on April 27. Here Spartan second base player Stacy Ferguson hauls in a pop fly for an out. Right: Despite the loss to the Sages there was still a reason to celebrate, team co-captain Abby Williams presents coach Randy Wolken with a memento for achieving his 648th career win after defeating Mt. Zion on the previous Saturday. Wolken would go on to become and currently remains the only softball coach in the state of Illinois to achieve over 1,000 career victories. His coaching ended with an impressive career record of 1,044-242. What makes those numbers even more impressive is that record was acquired coaching for just one program. (Photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)


Catcher Brittany Morgan catches a congratulatory kiss from her nephew Blake after the Spartans beat Westmont 1-0 to advance to the championship game against Casey-Westfield for the Class A softball title on June 3. It was through Morgan's RBI that put fellow senior Abby Williams across the plate in the first inning for the semifinal game winner. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)


Stacy Ferguson steals second Sarah Thompson scores winning run
Left: Stacy Ferguson slides into second base on a steal for the Spartans. Coming off a back-to-back doubleheader loss to Casey-Westfield, St. Joseph-Ogden beat crushed the Unity Rockets, 8-0 on April 21. Ferguson was safe on the play. Right: Sarah Thompson leaps in the air to celebrate scoring the first and only run in Spartans' title game against Casey-Westfield. After falling to the Warriors twice in a twin bill earlier in the season, SJO held on to win their first Class A softball title Saturday evening, 1-0. (Photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)


The future queen of stolen bases in Illinois Lindsey Barron cheers for her team. SJO students cheer for their team after winning a state softball title
Left: Lindsey Barron gives a teammate a high-ten after Sarah Thompson scored a run for the Spartans. Two seasons later, Barron would break the state record in the number of stolen basis in a season with 92. Currently #2 on the IHSA list for career stolen bases, she took 254 extra bases while wearing the Spartan uniform from 2005-2008. Right: St. Joseph-Ogden students [left to right] Nick Krisman, Jesse Grice, and Mark Gones cheer for the school's softball team at the start of the awards ceremony. (Photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)


With teammate Stacy Buck all smiles beside here, St. Joseph-Ogden pitcher Morgan Finn wipes the non-stop tears of joy from her face as she and the member of the girls softball team receive their state first-place medals. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Sunday, October 27, 2019

2019 Class 8A state football championship bracket is set

The bracket for this season's Class 8A football title is set with the top 32 teams in the division for this year's IHSA football championship series. Here is a look at the pairings and location of the upcoming first round contests this weekend. Official times will be available late Monday afternoon.

Game 1 — #32 Joliet (West) (4-5) at #1 Minooka (9-0), TBA
Game 2 — #17 St. Charles (East) (7-2) at #16 Edwardsville (H.S.) (7-2), TBA
Game 3 — #25 Oswego (East) (5-4) at #8 South Elgin (8-1), TBA
Game 4 — #24 Chicago (Brother Rice) (5-4) at #9 Bartlett (8-1), TBA

Game 5 — #29 Plainfield (East) (5-4) at #4 Gurnee (Warren) (9-0), TBA
Game 6 — #20 Plainfield (North) (6-3) at #13 Palatine (Fremd) (7-2), TBA
Game 7 — #28 Elgin (H.S.) (5-4) at #5 Oswego (H.S.) (8-1), TBA
Game 8 — #21 Bolingbrook (6-3) at #12 Hinsdale (Central) (8-1), TBA

Game 9 — #31 Downers Grove (South) (5-4) at #2 Glen Ellyn (Glenbard West) (9-0), TBA
Game 10 — #18 Wilmette (Loyola Academy) (6-3) at #15 Park Ridge (Maine South) (7-2), TBA
Game 11 — #26 Chicago (Taft) (5-3) at #7 Huntley (8-1), TBA
Game 12 — #23 Chicago (Marist) (5-4) at #10 Lombard (Glenbard East) (8-1), TBA

Game 13 — #30 Plainfield (South) (5-4) at #3 Frankfort (Lincoln-Way East) (9-0), TBA
Game 14 — #19 Barrington (6-3) at #14 Niles (Notre Dame) (7-2), TBA
Game 15 — #27 Chicago (Curie) (5-3) at #6 Flossmoor (Homewood-F.) (8-1), TBA
Game 16 — #22 Hoffman Estates (Conant) (6-3) at #11 Naperville (Neuqua Valley) (8-1), TBA


7A football pairings released for the IHSA 2019 postseason

The bracket for the Class 7A football title is set with the top 32 teams in the division in this year's Illinois High School Association football championship series. Here is a look at the pairings and locations of the upcoming games to open the first round of the playoffs this weekend. Official times will be available late Monday afternoon.

Game 1 — #32 Blue Island (Eisenhower) (5-4) at #1 Chicago (Mt. Carmel) (9-0), TBA
Game 2 — #17 Lisle (Benet Academy) (6-3) at #16 Carol Stream (Glenbard North) (6-3), TBA
Game 3 — #25 New Lenox (Lincoln-Way West) (5-4) vs. #8 Chicago (Phillips) (7-1) at TBA, TBA
Game 4 — #24 Burbank (Reavis) (6-3) at #9 Normal (Community) (7-2), TBA

Game 5 — #29 Rockford (Auburn) (5-4) at #4 Arlington Heights (Hersey) (8-1), TBA
Game 6 — #20 Lake Zurich (6-3) at #13 Tinley Park (Andrew) (7-2), TBA
Game 7 — #28 Moline (H.S.) (5-4) at #5 Villa Park (Willowbrook) (8-1), TBA
Game 8 — #21 Lansing (Thornton Fractional South) (6-3) at #12 Yorkville (H.S.) (7-2), TBA

Game 9 — #31 Libertyville (5-4) at #2 LaGrange Park (Nazareth Academy) (9-0), TBA
Game 10 — #18 Pekin (6-3) at #15 Harvey (Thornton) (7-2), TBA
Game 11 — #26 South Holland (Thornwood) (5-4) at #7 Batavia (7-2), TBA
Game 12 — #23 Fox Lake (Grant) (6-3) at #10 Rockton (Hononegah) (7-2), TBA

Game 13 — #30 Chicago (Lincoln Park) (5-3) at #3 Rolling Meadows (9-0), TBA
Game 14 — #19 DeKalb (6-3) at #14 Mt. Prospect (Prospect) (7-2), TBA
Game 15 — #27 Downers Grove (North) (5-4) at #6 Des Plaines (Maine West) (8-1), TBA
Game 16 — #22 Wheaton (W. Warrenville South) (6-3) at #11 Machesney Park (Harlem) (7-2), TBA


2019 Class 6A football bracket is set

The bracket for Class 6A is set with the top 32 teams in the division for this year's Illinois High School Association football postseason. The Flyers of East St. Louis and the Wolves of Prairie Ridge from Crystal Lake are the top two seeds. Here is a look at the pairings and locations of the upcoming contests this weekend. Official times will be available late Monday afternoon.

Game 1 — #16 Grayslake (North) (5-4) at #1 Crystal Lake (Prairie Ridge) (8-1), TBA
Game 2 — #9 Lake Villa (Lakes) (6-3) vs. #8 Chicago (Simeon) (6-1) at TBA, TBA
Game 3 — #13 Chicago (St. Ignatius) (5-4) at #4 Cary (C.-Grove) (7-2), TBA
Game 4 — #12 Chicago (Mather) (6-2) at #5 Antioch (7-2), TBA

Game 5 — #15 Crystal Lake (South) (5-4) at #2 Deerfield (H.S.) (7-2), TBA
Game 6 — #10 Riverside (R.-Brookfield) (6-3) vs. #7 Chicago (Kenwood) (7-1) at TBA, TBA
Game 7 — #14 Lake Forest (H.S.) (5-4) at #3 Belvidere (North) (7-2), TBA
Game 8 — #11 Crystal Lake (Central) (6-3) at #6 Maple Park (Kaneland) (7-2), TBA

Game 9 — #16 Chicago (Morgan Park) (5-3) at #1 East St. Louis (Sr.) (9-0), TBA
Game 10 — #9 Rock Island (H.S.) (7-2) at #8 Dunlap (7-2), TBA
Game 11 — #13 Washington (6-3) at #4 Oak Lawn (Richards) (8-1), TBA
Game 12 — #12 Palos Heights (Shepard) (6-3) at #5 Peoria (H.S.) (8-1), TBA

Game 13 — #15 Danville (H.S.) (6-3) at #2 Chatham (Glenwood) (9-0), TBA
Game 14 — #10 Springfield (H.S.) (7-2) at #7 Lemont (H.S.) (7-2), TBA
Game 15 — #14 Midlothian (Bremen) (6-3) at #3 Crete (C.-Monee) (9-0), TBA
Game 16 — #11 New Lenox (Providence Catholic) (6-3) at #6 Normal (Community West) (7-2), TBA


Class 5A football pairings are set

The bracket and its 32 team are set for Illinois High School Association 2019 postseason for Class 5A. Here is a look at the pairings and locations for the upcoming contests this weekend. Official start times will be available late Monday afternoon.

Game 1 — #16 Chicago Heights (Marian) (5-4) at #1 Sterling (H.S.) (9-0), TBA
Game 2 — #9 Glen Ellyn (Glenbard South) (6-3) at #8 Chicago (St. Rita) (6-3), TBA
Game 3 — #13 Burbank (St. Laurence) (5-4) at #4 Country Club Hills (Hillcrest) (8-1), TBA
Game 4 — #12 Oak Park (Fenwick) (5-4) vs. #5 Chicago (Payton) (8-0) at TBA, TBA

Game 5 — #15 Chicago (Hyde Park) (5-3) at #2 Rockford (Boylan Catholic) (9-0), TBA
Game 6 — #10 Aurora (Marmion Academy) (6-3) vs. #7 Chicago (Amundsen) (7-1) at TBA, TBA
Game 7 — #14 Evergreen Park (5-4) at #3 Sycamore (H.S.) (8-1), TBA
Game 8 — #11 Elmwood Park (6-3) at #6 Lombard (Montini) (7-2), TBA

Game 9 — #16 Decatur (MacArthur) (5-4) at #1 Mt. Zion (9-0), TBA
Game 10 — #9 Joliet (Catholic Academy) (6-3) at #8 Morton (7-2), TBA
Game 11 — #13 Peoria (Notre Dame) (6-3) at #4 Kankakee (Sr.) (8-1), TBA
Game 12 — #12 Mascoutah (6-3) at #5 Carbondale (H.S.) (8-1), TBA

Game 13 — #15 LaSalle (L.-Peru) (5-4) at #2 Rochester (8-1), TBA
Game 14 — #10 Highland (6-3) at #7 Cahokia (H.S.) (7-2), TBA
Game 15 — #14 Troy (Triad) (6-3) at #3 Marion (H.S.) (8-1), TBA
Game 16 — #11 Springfield (Sacred Heart-Griffin) (6-3) at #6 Morris (7-2), TBA


Unity Rockets move to 4A, 2019 IHSA football playoff field is set

The 32 teams and brackets are set for Illinois High School Association 2019 postseason for Class 4A. Here is a look at the pairings and location of the upcoming contest this weekend. Official times will be available late Monday afternoon.

Game 1 — #16 Chicago (Phoenix) (3-4) at #1 Coal City (9-0), TBA
Game 2 — #9 Chicago (Agricultural Science) (6-2) at #8 Kewanee (H.S.) (6-3), TBA
Game 3 — #13 Chicago (Clark) (5-3) at #4 Wheaton (St. Francis) (8-1), TBA
Game 4 — #12 North Chicago (5-4) at #5 Genoa (G.-Kingston) (8-1), TBA

Game 5 — #15 Chicago (Urban Prep/Bronzeville) (4-5) at #2 Richmond (R.-Burton) (9-0), TBA
Game 6 — #10 Manteno (5-4) at #7 Marengo (7-2), TBA
Game 7 — #14 Chicago (Sullivan) (5-3) at #3 Elmhurst (IC Catholic) (8-1), TBA
Game 8 — #11 Dixon (H.S.) (5-4) at #6 Stillman Valley (8-1), TBA

Game 9 — #16 Taylorville (5-4) at #1 Chillicothe (Illinois Valley Central) (9-0), TBA
Game 10 — #9 Murphysboro [Coop] (7-2) at #8 Bethalto (Civic Memorial) (7-2), TBA
Game 11 — #13 Clinton (6-3) at #4 Tolono (Unity) (8-1), TBA
Game 12 — #12 Kankakee (McNamara) (6-3) at #5 Paris (8-1), TBA

Game 13 — #15 Roxana (5-4) at #2 Columbia (9-0), TBA
Game 14 — #10 Fairbury (Prairie Central) (7-2) at #7 Olney (Richland County) (7-2), TBA
Game 15 — #14 Breese (Central) (5-4) at #3 Effingham (H.S.) (8-1), TBA
Game 16 — #11 Salem (7-2) at #6 Benton (8-1), TBA


Class 3A football playoff pairings set

The teams are set for the Class 3A pairings for 2019 IHSA football playoffs. Here is a look at the first round matchups that will be played this weekend. Official kickoff times will be released sometime late Monday afternoon.

Game 1 — #16 Poplar Grove (North Boone) (5-4) at #1 Princeton (8-1), TBA
Game 2 — #9 Spring Valley (Hall) (6-3) at #8 Peotone (6-3), TBA
Game 3 — #13 Seneca (5-4) at #4 Farmington (7-2), TBA
Game 4 — #12 Chicago (Carver) (6-2) at #5 Paxton (P.-Buckley-Loda) (7-2), TBA

Game 5 — #15 Rock Island (Alleman) (5-4) at #2 Byron (8-1), TBA
Game 6 — #10 Chicago (Harlan) (6-2) at #7 Durand [Du-Pec Coop] (6-3), TBA
Game 7 — #14 Lisle (Sr.) (5-4) at #3 Wilmington (8-1), TBA
Game 8 — #11 Chicago (Dunbar) (6-2) at #6 Eureka (7-2), TBA

Game 9 — #16 Newton (5-4) at #1 Beardstown (9-0), TBA
Game 10 — #9 Quincy (Notre Dame) (6-3) at #8 Greenville (7-2), TBA
Game 11 — #13 Alton (Marquette) (5-4) at #4 Fairfield (9-0), TBA
Game 12 — #12 West Frankfort (Frankfort) (6-3) at #5 Breese (Mater Dei) (8-1), TBA

Game 13 — #15 St. Joseph (S.J.-Ogden) (5-4) at #2 Williamsville (9-0), TBA
Game 14 — #10 Monticello (6-3) at #7 DuQuoin (H.S.) (8-1), TBA
Game 15 — #14 Virden (North Mac) (5-4) at #3 Vandalia (9-0), TBA
Game 16 — #11 Carlinville (6-3) at #6 Mt. Carmel (8-1), TBA


Saturday, October 26, 2019

2A IHSA football brackets set for 2019 road to DeKalb

The 2019 Class 2A football pairings were announced this evening. Here is a look at the matchups that will be played this weekend. Official kickoff times will be released sometime late Monday afternoon.

Game 1 — #16 Rockford (R. Christian) (5-4) at #1 Knoxville (9-0), TBA
Game 2 — #9 Tremont (6-3) at #8 Watseka (6-3), TBA
Game 3 — #13 Orion (5-4) at #4 Sterling (Newman Central Catholic) (8-1), TBA
Game 4 — #12 Rushville (R.-Industry) (6-3) at #5 Gibson City (G.C.-Melvin-Sibley) (8-1), TBA

Game 5 — #15 Savanna (West Carroll) (5-4) at #2 Minonk (Fieldcrest) (9-0), TBA
Game 6 — #10 Chicago (Orr) (6-2) at #7 Elgin (St. Edward) (6-3), TBA
Game 7 — #14 Mendon (Unity) [Coop] (5-4) at #3 Clifton (Central) (9-0), TBA
Game 8 — #11 Palos Heights (Chicago Christian) (6-3) at #6 Aledo (Mercer County) (6-3), TBA

Game 9 — #16 Red Bud (5-4) at #1 Pana (H.S.) (8-1), TBA
Game 10 — #9 Nokomis [Coop] (7-2) at #8 Fithian (Oakwood) (7-2), TBA
Game 11 — #13 Eldorado (5-4) at #4 Bismarck (B.-Henning-Rossville-Alvin) (8-1), TBA
Game 12 — #12 Villa Grove [V.G.-Heritage Coop] (5-4) at #5 Nashville (8-1), TBA

Game 13 — #15 Sesser (S.-Valier) [Coop] (5-4) at #2 Maroa (M.-Forsyth) (8-1), TBA
Game 14 — #10 Auburn (6-3) at #7 Chester (7-2), TBA
Game 15 — #14 McLeansboro (Hamilton County) (5-4) at #3 Decatur (St. Teresa) (8-1), TBA
Game 16 — #11 Flora (6-3) at #6 Tuscola (7-2), TBA


Class 1A football pairings are set

The 2019 Class 1A football pairings were announced this evening. Here is a look at the matchups that will be played this weekend. Official kickoff times will be released sometime late Monday afternoon.

Game 1 — #16 Lewistown (5-4) at #1 Kewanee (Wethersfield) [A.-Wethersfield Coop] (9-0), TBA
Game 2 — #9 Forreston (7-2) at #8 Ottawa (Marquette) (7-2), TBA
Game 3 — #13 Cambridge [Ridgewood Coop] (6-3) at #4 Morrison (9-0), TBA
Game 4 — #12 Abingdon (A.-Avon) (6-3) at #5 Kirkland (Hiawatha) (8-1), TBA

Game 5 — #15 Aurora (A. Christian) (5-4) at #2 Lena (L.-Winslow) (9-0), TBA
Game 6 — #10 Orangeville (6-3) at #7 Chicago (C. Hope Academy) (7-2), TBA
Game 7 — #14 Fulton (H.S.) (5-4) at #3 Freeport (Aquin) (9-0), TBA
Game 8 — #11 Stockton (6-3) at #6 Princeville (7-2), TBA

Game 9 — #16 Havana (5-4) at #1 Moweaqua (Central A & M) (9-0), TBA
Game 10 — #9 Toledo (Cumberland) (6-3) at #8 Fisher (7-2), TBA
Game 11 — #13 Oakland [Tri-County Coop] (5-4) at #4 Arcola (7-2), TBA
Game 12 — #12 Mt. Sterling (Brown County) (5-4) at #5 Greenfield [G.-Northwestern Coop] (7-2), TBA

Game 13 — #15 White Hall (North Greene) (5-4) at #2 Argenta (A.-Oreana) (8-1), TBA
Game 14 — #10 Arthur (A.-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond) (6-3) at #7 Carrollton (7-2), TBA
Game 15 — #14 Catlin (Salt Fork) (5-4) at #3 Camp Point (Central) (8-1), TBA
Game 16 — #11 Casey (C.-Westfield) (6-3) at #6 Athens (7-2), TBA


Monday, October 7, 2019

Memory Monday: St. Joseph-Ogden fall in 2007 semifinal heartbreaker

SJO fans fill the stands
St. Joseph fans fill the stands and every available spot along the fence line for the 2007 semifinal playoff game against Plano on November 10, 2007. Fifty-one weeks earlier the two teams clashed in a record-setting IHSA Class 3A title game, where the Reapers came out on top in a thriller, 47-42. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Tailgating at St Joseph-Ogden High School
Left: St. Joseph-Ogden fan Connie Bickers enjoys the SJO tailgate before the game. Right: Hundreds of family and fans tailgate in the parking lot before kickoff of St. Joseph-Ogden's home semi-final against the Plano Reapers. See more memorable moments captured from the game here: 2007 St. Joseph-Ogden vs Plano Football Playoff Game. Photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

The journey in 2007



Robinson, 41-0
Salt Fork Coop, 41-6
Momence, 46-14
Clifton Central, 42-20
Iroquois West, 49-12
St. Thomas More, 28-0
Watseka, 53-13
Tri-Point, 1-0
Paxton-Buckley-Loda, 68-0
Christian Life, 45-7
Wilmington, 26-7
Plano, 22-26
Members of the SJO Dance team preform before the start of the game. They also performed again during the halftime show during the postseason game. Click here to view more photos St. Joseph-Ogden's competitive dance team. PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

SJO concession stand
Longtime St. Joseph-Ogden resident and sports fan Dick Sumption places an order at the concession stand with Andi Morgan before the start of the game. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Spartan defenders Michael Bialeschki, Michael Cessna and Lukas Graves wrap up Plano's Luis Alvarado in first half action of their game. The trio, who suffered just two losses in the two consecutive seasons of SJO football, had an impressive varsity win-loss record of 25-2. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Tyler Johnson hands off the ball to Will Lindsey Lukas Graves makes a TD catch
Left: Tyler "Hollywood" Johnson hands off the ball to Will "The Flash" Lindsey. (Side bar: Covering the team and interviewing some of the players for ten plus weeks, I could help but to give these gifted athletes nicknames. Lindsey, the fastest runner on the team and track state-qualifier in the sprint events, earned his sobriquet obviously because of his explosive speed. Every post-game interview Johnson, a three-sport athlete, was like covering a Hollywood press conference. Cool, confident and a faster thinker on his feet with the sharpest curve ball questions, he never failed to deliver a great quote after a game.)

Right: Senior Lukas Graves make an over the shoulder catch on a pass from Tyler Johnson in first quarter action against the Reapers. In the 2006 title game against Plano, then a junior, he made nine catches for 211 yards. As of today, Graves is still tied for number one for the most number of catches and number of touchdowns (2) in an IHSA Class 3A championship game. His receiving yard total to this day, twelve years later, is still a 3A best. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Dick Duval
Head coach Dick Duval heads back to the field to start the second half against Plano. Though the Spartans would later come up heartrendingly short on the scoreboard, looking back from that day for the past four years, SJO under Duval's tutelege suffered just five losses in the 50 games the program played during that period. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Student fans cheer for their team Nick Rogiers heads to the line of scrimmage
Left: Student fans cheer for the Spartans during the second half of the game. Right: Nick Rogiers heads to the line of scrimmage in the second half for the next play. The defensive end was one of the hardest hitting tacklers on the field that season. Photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Jake Oltean reacts after the game
Game over. Season over. Manager Jake Oltean reacts in silence after his Spartan football falls 26-22 loss to the Reapers. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Cheerleaders shed tears
Two cheerleaders share a hug in solace after the emotional loss while players from both teams shake hands at the 50 yard line. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Eli Marlow
Eli Marlow hugs a fellow player after the Spartans season ending loss, just one touchdown away from playing in a second consecutive state football championship game. See more photos from this emotional game by clicking here. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks