There's still a few weeks left in the regular season but this Friday night had a postseason feel with conference title and playoff implications everywhere you turned. Let's relive the eighth week of the Tri-State football season with WGEM Sports Director Ben Marth.
-- Talk about a big time performance for the home team in Camp Point. Central bent a bit but didn't break much at all in handing Brown County its first loss of the season. From the first whistle until the final buzzer sounded the Panthers were remarkable, especially on defense, stopping the Hornets from entering the end zone on multiple occasions. Noah Strohkirch led the attack with 13 tackles, Chase Norfolk laid some wood to force a goaline fumble, and Reed Olson had a key fourth down sack right before halftime. The offensive attack included Chayse Houston's 112 yards rushing, including a 72-yard touchdown, and Eric Jones' 41-yard TD pass to Cole Williams. On The 5th Quarter, head coach Brad Dixon credited the Panthers difficult schedule which prepared them for a breakout victory. Central is playoff eligible and destined for its 10th consecutive season of advancing beyond the regular season.
-- On the flip side, Brown County couldn't seem to get out of its own way. The Hornets were held off the scoreboard in the first half by way of a fumble, a diving Devin Tynan attempt in the end zone that he couldn't secure, a sack in the red zone, and a number of penalties. Slow starts continue to plague them as well. But the Hornets were undefeated entering the contest and ranked fourth in the state for a reason. There's no question this veteran-led group will bounce back.
-- The Mayor's Cup is approaching in a week but that was the furthest thing from the minds of Monroe City. In a workmanlike effort the Panthers stayed unbeaten with a 17-point win at Centralia. Head coach David Kirby joined us on The 5th Quarter and said his team "stuck to the game plan" and focused "on the here and now." He went on to explain the offensive line opened the holes for the running backs and the defense limited Centralia's big play capability. After the game Kirby said he told his players the success has earned them more hard work as they prepare for Palmyra.
-- Speaking of Palmyra, the Panthers rolled up 293 yards rushing in their 28-2 win over visiting Brookfield. They only attempted three passes. Instead the obvious game plan was to control things up front in the run game and they carried it 48 times. This is smashmouth football. The offensive line is growing right in front of our eyes and another dominant performance on the ground, most notably Peyton Plunkett who carried the pill 21 times for 203 yards and a touchdown. Don't forget the defense. Gabe Goodwin (10.5 tackles, 3.5 for loss) spearheaded a defensive attack that prevented Brookfield from scoring a single offensive point. So, now all the CCC marbles will be on the line next week at Lankford Field. Be there.
-- So close, yet so far. For the second time in as many trips to play Moline, Quincy High exited Browning Field with a gut-wrenching loss and without a chance at winning the outright Western Big Six championship. The Maroons scored in the game's final minutes to win their fifth straight game while snapping the Blue Devils' four-game win streak and 10-game conference string of success. No need to panic. The Blue Devils head to United Township next week and the Panthers have lost six in a row. A golden opportunity for Rick Little's team to become playoff eligible before hosting QND in Week 9.
-- Shout to Rushville-Industry head coach Brian Lafferty on earning victory number one, of likely many, in the Rockets' 38-14 win at South Fulton. Ethan Downs (200 yards rushing, 3 TD's) and company left little doubt following what's been a brutal stretch which included five losses by 11 points or less.
-- Hannibal had the best night in Northeast Missouri when it comes to running the ball. The Pirates totaled 392 rushing yards in a 48-10 pummeling of Marshall. JaQuez McGruder and Gabe Worthington (he can run the ball, too) both surpassed the century mark in rushing yards and the defense had 10 tackles for loss and an interception. Coming next week, a challenging trip to Battle to prepare for districts.
-- Quincy Notre Dame inched one step closer to ending its brief one-year stint out of the playoff picture with a shutout at Macomb. There were plenty of individual standouts, but I'll pick one player and one group. The player? Jacob Werries who plays anywhere and everywhere, and seems to have a new position each week, his productive night included a pick-six. The group? The offensive line. Rhett Magee, Jonny Bottorff, Evan Reis, Mitchell Maas, Bo Paxton, Aaron Moore, etc. were on point from the very first snap. The Raiders, after consecutive games on the road, return to 10th and Jackson next week to host Charleston (0-7) for Homecoming and an opportunity for the coveted fifth win to become playoff eligible.
-- Skids stopped: Bushnell-West Prairie ended a two-game slide with a one-sided win at Peoria Heights to become playoff eligible, Unity-Payson's four-week stretch without a win came to a conclusion with an 18-point win at Routt, and Pleasant Hill stopped a two-game losing streak with a 52-12 win at West Central. Both the Mustangs and Wolves had to win to avoid being eliminated from the playoff discussion. Illini West also picked up a much needed win to improve to 4-4 with Rushville-Industry (1-6) and South Fulton (1-6) on the docket ahead. And Mark Twain halted a six-game losing streak in an impressive 21-point win over Van-Far to retain The Farmer's Cup.
-- Game ball to the Clark County defense in pitching a 19-0 shutout of South Shelby. That's two straight shutouts and three consecutive wins for an Indians team that has an argument for the most difficult five-week schedule to begin the season of any team in the area.
-- Scotland County is 5-1 since an 0-2 start. I guess head coach Troy Carper was right when he sensed the victory over Paris in Week 3 would get his team on the right track. The Tigers have cemented the second spot in the district and will host South Shelby to close the curtain on the regular season.
-- Knox County laid claim to the third spot in that same district with a 40-22 win over Highland. Hayden Miller was his usual self with 104 yards rushing and a TD, a touchdown reception, and an interception. Cory Moubry, who doesn't get as much ink but has put together a solid season, also had 71 yards on the ground and a score. The Eagles visit state ranked Fayette next week.
-- Central Lee continues to position itself for another playoff berth with a 28-0 win at Clarke behind Austin Gaylord's two rushing TD's and tackle-maker Jared Brisby who accounted for 15.5 stops. Now the real fun. The Hawks host Centerville next Friday night with postseason implications.
I'm all out of time. My stomach is growling and I'm in desperate need of expanding my waistline. Thanks a bunch for reading, watching, and listening.