Just what we thought would happen...right? Palmyra handles Centralia with relative ease. Quincy High coasts past state-ranked Rock Island Alleman. QND blows out Breese Mater Dei. And 16 area games with a margin of victory of at least 30 points. Take a trip down the Friday night memory lane with WGEM Sports Director Ben Marth for a no-huddle glance at Week 7 of Tri-State high school football.
-- Hello, Palmyra. What a night for Kevin Miles' team in a 35-0 victory over No. 6 Centralia. Granted, the visiting Panthers were dealing with injuries. But don't take for granted the relentless approach the home Panthers are playing with right now. Jarom Alexander ran roughshod on the Centralia defense with 221 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Peyton Plunkett added three TD's. But it was the offensive line and, even more notably, the defense that deserved a whole gang of game balls. While I was in attendance the defense was everywhere, almost as if they knew what was coming. How about this stat? Since giving up 20 points in an opening night loss at Macon, Palmyra has allowed only a combined 48 points the last six games. No secret why they are riding a six-game winning streak.
-- The last time Rock Island Alleman came to the Gem City they exited with a 29-13 victory at QND. The Pioneers were far less successful in their second trip as Quincy High rumbled to a 35-14 win. The Blue Devils have bounced back in a significant way since losing their first two games with four consecutive wins to join Moline as the only teams at 3-0 in the Western Big Six. Jirehl Brock broke six tackles en route to an 80-yard touchdown run as part of his two-score first half and a tremendous play call from head coach Rick Little resulted in a Logan Ross 41-yard screen pass to Adonte Crider as the Devils built a 22-7 lead going into halftime. It sets up the likely WB6 championship game at Moline next week. By the way, Quincy has won 10 consecutive conference games and its last loss was a 33-21 setback at, you guessed it, Moline in 2015.
-- An aberration or a glimpse at things to come? Whatever it was, Quincy Notre Dame's never-in-doubt 49-14 victory at Breese Mater Dei may have injected much needed momentum into a team searching for answers following a 1-3 home stand. The Raiders are back in the playoff picture at 3-3 and their next two opponents, Charleston and Macomb, have combined to win one game this season. Jackson Connell proved why he has several FCS and Division II college programs itching for a chance to gain his commitment. The senior running back/linebacker had a touchdown reception, a pick-six, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown in the rout. What can't be understated was Nick Wellman's bounce back performance under center.
-- 27 area games of interest on this night and 16 of those contests had margin of victories of at least 30 points. And six local teams failed to score a point. An odd night for sure.
-- Scotland County's win at Knox County was as good as the Tigers have had all season, especially when you consider they accomplished the feat on the road. It should come as no surprise though when you figure in the fact Troy Carper's squad has just as many road wins (two) as they do home wins. Scotland County has suddenly shot all the way up to the second spot in the district picture, behind only undefeated Monroe City.
-- Brown County head coach Tom Little voiced his praise for Darian Drake on The 5th Quarter following the Hornets' 34-20 win over Triopia. Little is not sure if there's a more complete player in the area than Drake. "He does it all," Little said. Drake and the Hornets are 6-0 and playoff bound for the 13th time in the last 14 seasons. No small feat.
-- Speaking of teams heading to the postseason, West Hancock clinched its third straight playoff berth with 68-20 win over Macomb in Warsaw. The Titans have now won 15 consecutive games during the regular season and nothing seems to be slowing them down. An array of highlights on Sports Extra, including dynamite offensive displays from Chase Hartweg and Riley Langford. Also, Andy Bird showing off his skills as a defensive lineman by batting a pass in the air for an eventual interception. Bird is one tough cookie playing through a leg injury. The Division I-bound track and field athlete gives his all on every play and I love the sheer, raw emotion he plays with.
-- Central gutted out a challenging road trip to Unity-Payson following last week's tough loss to Beardstown. The Panthers rushing attack grabbed my attention. They had 379 yards on the ground and Cole Williams and Wilson Stotts accounted for 300 of those. Next Friday should be fun as the Highway 24 rivalry with Brown County is renewed in Camp Point.
-- Unity-Payson has fallen on some hard times with four consecutive losses but quarterback Taylor Klusmeyer continues to shine in his first season as the starting quarterback. The senior finished 18-of-30 for 248 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Klusmeyer also had a rushing TD.
-- Rushville-Industry remains without a win this season and have lost back-to-back games by a combined five points. And five of the Rockets' six setbacks have come by 11 points or less. First-year head coach Brian Lafferty will get this thing turned around. I firmly believe that.
-- Central Lee showed plenty of resolve in improving to 4-2 with a 16-14 home victory against Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont. Adam Rooney had 115 yards rushing and two touchdowns and Jared Brisby added 13 tackles. It was a key victory when it comes to district standings as the Hawks leaped above EBF in the race for the playoffs.
-- Monroe City posted its third shutout in four weeks with a 54-0 win over Paris at Lankford Field. The Panthers have outscored their last five foes 224-20. Anyone else jacked up to see what the next two weeks have in store (at Centralia, vs. Palmyra)? I know I am.
That's it for me. I've got a 1st/2nd grade flag football game to attend in a few hours. Thanks as always for reading, watching, and listening. No worries because we're back in less than a week for more madness.