Let's take a look back at week three from Tri-State high school football as WGEM Sports Director provides a number of quick hitting thoughts from Southeast Iowa, Northeast Missouri, and West Central Illinois.
-- Fort Madison is 2-0 after going without a single win last season. Let that sink in. Truth be told, it's time to forget about the past. You simply can't measure the impact new head coach Tony Shiffman has had on the program based on two wins. The new-found energy has revitalized the community. That, in itself, is something to tip your cap to. The weaponry was on full display in the Bloodhounds win over Central Lee, most notably Alex Gully who raced to the end zone four times. There's something special going on in Fort Madison and it's a sight to see.
-- Speaking of new head coaches, Unity-Payson's Conner McLaughlin has his team in full blown belief-mode. The Mustangs rallied for three touchdowns and forced three turnovers in the final 14 minutes to pull out of West Central with their second victory in as many tries. Kody McCleary found the end zone for the winning score and the defense held its own to hold off the Cougars. The gauntlet of the remaining schedule kicks into high gear next Friday with Triopia.
-- On to Monroe City where the rich keep getting richer. Nehemiah Batsell brought his name to the forefront with a ridiculous touchdown catch (watch Sports Extra highlights if you missed it) and a near special teams return for a TD in the Panthers win over South Shelby. Add him to the backfield mix with Blake Hays, Zach Osborn, Cole Pennewell, and Gage Bottoms. My goodness, that's a filthy five-some. Credit the defense, too. That unit has surrendered all of 14 points over the last six quarters after giving up a combined 56 points in the first six quarters of the season.
-- If you believe in the old adage that defense wins championships, then you better jump on the Brown County train. The Hornets have allowed opponents a mere eight points through two games. That adds even more intrigue to offensive-minded Beardstown who comes to Mount Sterling next Friday night.
-- Best win of the night? Clark County. Think of this: the Indians lost back-to-back games against conference stalwarts Monroe City and Centralia, and faced another in Macon in week three. Yet the red flag was never flown and Ethan Allen's team showed why they shouldn't be taken lightly. Next week it's West Hancock at home. Get to Kahoka early, there won't be many seats available.
-- Never thought Quincy High would be 0-2. And things don't get any easier next week at Geneseo (receiving votes in Class 4A). It's pretty simple. The Blue Devils need to get healthy (insert Jirehl Brock's name here). With that said, I didn't expect a 27-point loss at Alton.
-- Quality bounce back win for Hannibal who's accustom to those types of things. The Pirates rolled up 468 yards of offense to beat outgoing NCMC foe Boonville. Gabe Worthington was practically flawless - 10-of-13 passing, 241 yards, and three touchdowns. Kevin Campbell also filled the stat sheet with 10 tackles, a pick-six, and 55 yards of offense.
-- Central head coach Brad Dixon anticipated his team would bounce back after last week's war with Calhoun. And that they did in Friday's home opener. Cole Williams, Chayse Houston, and Wilson Stotts found the end zone five times, and the defense held up its end of the bargain by throwing multiple looks at befuddled North Greene. On a side note -- I came away really impressed with the way Dixon's defense continuously switched calls only seconds before the Spartans snap. That group is only going to get better.
-- He's not in the area but Rock Island Alleman quarterback Sam Mattecheck is some kind of player. He had the QND defense on its heels from the first series on. The Pioneers will contend for the WB6 title. They are that good. As far as the Raiders are concerned they were the better team last Friday. They were not in week two. It should be interesting to witness how they respond with Morris (No. 7 in Class 4A) set to invade Advance Physical Therapy Field next week.
-- Scotland County head coach Troy Carper made a great point when he joined The 5th Quarter following his team's 35-8 win over Paris. The Tigers started last season 0-2 before beating the Coyotes in the start to a six-game winning streak. Can the same thing happen again this season? Scotland County has undoubtedly found itself back on the radar of teams to watch and I would not be surprised to see them 3-2 before a monster match-up at Westran on September 22.
-- Illini West proved it could win at its comfy Fuzz Berges Field digs. And now they have proven they can win on the road by throttling Mercer County. The Chargers quietly put together a strong couple weeks of practice and have come together as a group, quickly. If they can knock off Farmington on the road next week they'll be 3-0 when BWP comes to Carthage in week four. And, suddenly, that game would be more than worth the price of admission.
-- I was high on Bushnell-West Prairie coming into the season with size up front and experience at quarterback, and I'm not backing off. Not sure if "sleeper" was accurate as I predicted area teams to keep an eye on, but they have not disappointed by taking care of business the first two weeks. I'm telling you they are a playoff team and a deep run isn't out of the question.
-- 60 points from Bowling Green? Yep. They took down Clopton/Elsberry with ease. I'm not even sure head coach Kevin Krietemeyer, who picked up his first victory with the Bobcats, could have imagined that. They are blending a little experience with a lot of younger talent and the best is yet to come.
That does it for me. I have my mother-in-law's Italian food in the microwave ready to toss in my belly. Thanks as always for reading and watching. Week four of the Tri-State high school football season is only six nights away.