Blue Ridge Soccer: J.J. Malone Scores 4th Hat Trick of Season, Leads Knights to 4-1 Victory over Olympia

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- Usually, a 2-1 halftime lead is the result of a satisfactory quality of play in the first half.

"In the first half, we started out extremely slow," Knights soccer head coach Marty Price said to the contrary.

Instead of playing passive soccer to protect its one-goal lead in the second half, Blue Ridge came out firing, seeking the insurance goal.

After getting many chances thwarted by Olympia goaltending (the Spartans' goaltender saved 13 shots), senior forward J.J. Malone (pictured below in the white jersey) found the net twice, securing a 4-1 victory for the Knights.

"In the six years I've been here, we've always been a second-half team," Price said.

Malone's two second-half goals added to one in the first half to complete a hat trick. It is the fourth time he recorded at least a hat trick this season, and he now has 14 goals.

The first of Malone's second-half goals occurred after a solid save by senior goaltender Josh Plunk (pictured below). After crouching down to stop a shot by a Spartan, he crawled toward the ball and grabbed it before another Olympia player could produce a potential game-tying shot.

Plunk finished the game with six saves.

Following the save, Malone raced down the right side of the net and booted one past the Olympia goaltender. The assist on that goal was credited to freshman defender Coale Dolbert.

With little time left in the match and Blue Ridge leading 3-1, Malone received a pass from junior midfielder/forward Jon Jones. Malone then maneuvered to the right side of the net before kicking a shot to the left side of the net for the hat trick.

Jones got the assist on that goal, and some of the South Park attendees (rather than throwing their hats) honked their car horns in approval.

Malone's first goal was assisted by junior midfielder Josh McQuaid, who kicked a forward pass to Malone while he had two Spartan defenders covering him. Malone out-raced the two defenders and booted the ball to the right side of the net to give Blue Ridge an early 1-0 lead.

After Olympia's Noel Litwiller scored to tie the game at 1-1, Conner Builta passed the ball to Malone for what seemed to be his second goal of the match.

Instead, the Spartan goaltender made a diving save with his outstretched right arm. Following the rebound, however, junior midfielder Bryant Lagle returned the ball to Builta (No. 11, pictured below), who scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal from the center of the net.

With the win, Blue Ridge improves its season record to 5-1. The Knights will travel to Tolono on Thursday to take on the Unity Rockets at 4:30 p.m.

The Knights' next home match will be on Saturday. They will kick off against Danville Schlarman at 11 a.m.
FINAL -- Blue Ridge soccer 4, Olympia 1.
BLUE RIDGE SOCCER UPDATE: J.J. Malone completes the hat trick, increasing the Knights' lead to 4-1.
BLUE RIDGE SOCCER UPDATE: J.J. Malone scores his second goal of the game to give the Knights a 3-1 lead.
BLUE RIDGE SOCCER UPDATE: At halftime, the Knights lead Olympia 2-1.
BLUE RIDGE SOCCER UPDATE: Conner Builta scored to give the Knights a 2-1 lead.
BLUE RIDGE SOCCER UPDATE: Olympia tied the score at 1-1.
BLUE RIDGE SOCCER UPDATE: J.J. Malone scored a goal to give the Knights a 1-0 first-half lead over Olympia.


J.J. Malone Leading Blue Ridge Soccer to Dominant Start

En route to a 4-1 start, the Knights' soccer team has outscored its opponents 20-5.

The leader of this orchestra of dominance is J.J. Malone, who has scored at least a hat trick in three of Blue Ridge's first five games of the season.

He scored four goals each against Fisher/GCMS and Heyworth. Malone also recorded three goals against Iroquois West.

Conner Builta has also contributed greatly to the Knights' scoring barrage, recording five goals so far this season.

Now, Blue Ridge hopes to continue its dominance on August 30 at home against Olympia. The game starts at 4:30 p.m.

If you cannot make it to the game but are at a place with Internet access, visit the Sports Thread as I provide in-game updates.

Blue Ridge Girls Golf Loses to El Paso-Gridley

EL PASO, Ill. -- According to one of the attendees keeping score at El Paso Golf Club on Monday, Blue Ridge's Amber Tsevelekos had a score of 40 heading into the final hole.

However, she ran into trouble on the Par-3 No. 9 hole, as she drove her first stroke into a water hazard. Amber Tsevelekos finished with an official score of 47.

It was still good enough to lead the rest of the Lady Knights. However, she finished one stroke behind the golf outing's medalist (El Paso-Gridley's Alana Payton, who shot a 46).

Blue Ridge fell short of victory as well, losing to the Titans 203-213.

Kelsey Baker was second among the Lady Knights with a score of 51.

Megan Tsevelekos and Jacquelyn O'Neal teed off together and finished with scores of 56 and 59, respectively.

Melinda Wilson recorded a 62, which did not contribute to Blue Ridge's score.

For El Paso-Gridley, Morgan Henkelman was second among the team, shooting a 48. Katie Sharkey and Taylor Vandegraft contributed with scores of 54 and 55, respectively.

Blue Ridge's next golf outing will be at Woodlawn Country Club on Monday, Sept. 12, where the Lady Knights will tee off against Tri-Valley at 4 p.m.

Tonight's junior varsity game against Tri-Valley was cancelled due to a shortage of available players on the Knights' roster.

Farmer City Feature Results from, Point Standings as of August 28, 2011

For the Hornets Division drivers, August 28 was the last night of racing at Farmer City Raceway for the season.

The Modifieds, Street Stock, Late Models and Sportsman Division racers will drive in their season finale on September 4. With that in mind, here are the feature results from August 28 and the point standings as of that date.

For full results and point standings, go to http://www.farmercityracing.com/. You can also see some more results by scrolling down the Sports Thread.

For those who did so earlier and noticed any misspelled names, I apologize. I will try to be more accurate next week.


Feature Results

1. Coleman Gulick, Binghamton, N.Y.; 2. Levi Jones; 3. Hud Cone, Oakland City, Ind.; 4. Braylon Fitzpatrick, Bloomington, Ind.; 5. Korey Bryant, Springfield; 6. Ethan Barrow, Bloomington, Ind.; 7. Bret Tripplett, Lincoln; 8. Gary Altig; 9. Critter Malone, Speedway, Ind.; 10. Logan Faucon, Elkhart; 11. Kenny Carmichael, Terre Haute, Ind.; 12. Kenny Carmichael Jr.; Terre Haute, Ind.; 13. Chris Urish, Elkhart; 14. Keaton Dobbs, Edwardsville; 15. Andy Bough, Mason City; 16. J.C. Bland, Springfield; 17. Eric Gentry (DNF); 18. Derrick Myers, Stonington (DNF); 19. Kent Christian (DNF); 20. Kevin Thomas Jr., Seymour, Ind. (DNF).


Feature Results

1. Steve Lance Jr.; Cuba; 2. Gordy Gundaker; 3. Jerry Lierly, Camp Point; 4. Dick Taylor; 5. Nick Bauman, New Berlin; 6. Roben Huffman, Clinton; 7. Evan Fink, Glasford; 8. Matt Beadles, Clinton; 9. Brian Crebo; 10. Chad Evans, Mattoon; 11. Logan Moody, Catlin; 12. Jeffrey Cunningham, Hanna City; 13. George Clevenger, Mount Pulaski; 14. Kenny Vandorn; 15. Ron Cusak (DNF); 16. Jay Schlueter, Royal; 17. Curtis Hobbs, Farmer City; 18. Randy Myers, Springfield (DNF); 19. Dustin Griffin, Camp Point (DNS).


Feature Results

1. Jeff Leka, Buffalo; 2. Gary Cook Jr., Deer Creek; 3. Lance Dehm, Chatsworth; 4. Nick Allen, Wheatfield, Ind.; 5. Jeffrey Leka, Buffalo; 6. Steve Brooks; 7. Josh Ferguson, Covington, Ind.; 8. McKay Wenger, Fairbury; 9. Brian Lynn, Mason City; 10. Andy Bishop, Gas City, Ind.; 11. Dave Crawley, Decatur; 12. Kevin Weaver, Gibson City; 13. Rory Overmyer, Champaign; 14. Dave Baldwin; 15. Justin Leka, Buffalo; 16. Kyle Byerline, Dawson; 17. Ryan Cary, Catlin (DNF); 18. Cory Schwengel, Oreana (DNF); 19. Justin Delong, Bloomington (DNF); 20. Kevin Gummere, Danville (DNF).

Point Standings

1. Jeff Leka (Buffalo) 697; 2. Lance Dehm (Chatsworth) 587; 3. Justin Delong (Bloomington) 527; 4. Jay Ledford (Pontiac) 467; 5. Ryan Cary (Catlin) 442; 6. Gary Turpin (Bloomington) 389; 7. Jeff Curl (Forrest) 364; 8. David Henderson (Danville) 339; 9. Ray Bollinger (Kewanee) 321; 10. Dave Crawley (Decatur) 286; 11. Jeff Sandford (Gifford) 380.

T-60. Gary Cook Jr. (Deer Creek) 38; T-112 Matt Wilson (Clinton) 15.


Feature Results

1. A.J. Wright, Danville; 2. Terry Miller, Lincoln; 3. Chris Dick, DeLand; 4. Brandon Kessinger, Normal; 5. Nate Zimmer, Mattoon; 6. Troy Dodson, Cerro Gordo; 7. Travis Johnson, Ashland; 8. Tim Provenzano; 9. Jeff Watts; 10. Eric Wilson, Downs; 11. Dave Slade, Seymour; 12. Eric Hall, LeRoy; 13. Jim Quinn, Farmer City (DNF); 14. Kevin Crowder, Argenta (DNF); 15. Darrell Hellman (DNF); 16. Travis Thrasher (Clinton) DNF; 17. Adam Johnson, Charleston (DNF); 18. Nathan McNeese, Catlin (DNF); 19. Darrel Lehigh, Fisher (DNS).

Point Standings

1. Travis Johnson (Ashland) 648; 2. Chris Dick (DeLand) 614; 3. Darrel Dick (Monticello) 573; 4. Jim Quinn (Farmer City) 486; 5. Eric Wilson (Downs) 398; 6. Nathan McNeese (Catlin) 394; 7. Troy Dodson (Cerro Gordo) 306; 8. Jeff Semmons (Pontiac) 299; 9. Brandon Kessinger (Normal) 295; 10. Rick Alwood (Clinton) 273; 11. Travis Thrasher (Clinton) 270; 12. Joel Funk (Dwight) 268; 13. Darrel Lehigh (Fisher) 267; 14. A.J. Wright (Danville) 264.

38. Donnie Rhoades (Clinton) 61; T-50. Josh Smith (Clinton) 47.


Feature Results

1. Matt Maier, Thomasboro; 2. Kenny Butterfield, Glasford; 3. Joe Reed, Decatur; 4. Larry Hawk, Champaign; 5. Jim Wilson, Towanda; 6. Brian Wilson, Colfax; 7. Ben Gernentz, Gifford; 8. Casey Gernentz, Gifford; 9. Chris Burton, Mansfield; 10. Christy Mash; 11. Peter Haynes, Romeoville; 12. Shannon Mudro, Morris; 13. Shane Kelly; 14. Devin Burton; 15. Dion Smith, Bloomington (DNF); 16. Trisha Burton, Mansfield (DNF); 17. Nick Lee, Pontiac (DNF); 18. David Lauritson, Normal (DNS).

Final Point Standings

1. Matt Maier (Thomasboro) 706; 2. Chris Burton (Mansfield) 584; 3. Casey Gernentz (Gifford) 564; 4. Brian Wilson (Colfax) 515; 5. Jim Wilson (Towanda) 508; 6. Ben Gernentz (Gifford) 500; 7. Larry Hawk (Champaign) 480; 8. Kenny Butterfield (Glasford) 471; 9. Dion Smith (Bloomington) 453; 10. David Lauritson (Normal) 414; 11. Trisha Burton (Mansfield) 397.

24. Jim Eads (Clinton) 86; 74. Willie Alwood (Clinton) 10.


Point Standings

1. Daniel Flessner (Thawville) 550; 2. Dave Crawley Jr. (Decatur) 497; 3. Dustin Mounce (Flanagan) 460; 4. Rod Rusher (Mansfield) 391; 5. Donny Sublon (Fisher) 372; 6. Richie Rich (Pontiac) 365; 7. Nick Macklin (Oreana) 313; 8. Jason Maier (Thomasboro) 263; 9. Darrel Dick (Monticello) 253; 10. Shawn Diggs (LeRoy) 251.

33. Dan Shoufler (Farmer City) 27.


Point Standings

1. Eric Smith (Bloomington) 453; 2. Bobby Pierce (Oakwood) 394; 3. Joe Harlan (El Paso) 367; 4. Jimmy Dehm (Lexington) 354; 5. Derek Chandler (Pontiac) 322; 6. Chris Dick (DeLand) 287; 7. Ryan Unzicker (El Paso) 233; 8. Don Cisco III (Oreana) 232; 9. Russ Adams (Princeville) 218; 10. Brandon Sheppard (New Berlin) 201.

25. Curtis Hobbs (Farmer City) 114; T-73. Matt Beadles (Clinton) 21.

Farmer City Raceway Sidetrack: The Close-But-No-Cigar Ticket to Riches

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- As it has done at every racing event this season, the Farmer City Raceway held a 50/50 raffle to benefit a local charity.

On August 28, the 50/50 proceeds were given to the Blue Ridge High School cheerleading program. I bought a ticket, and for a split second thought a charitable donation would be sent to myself.

The winning number was 806262. As you can see (more or less) from the picture below, my ticket had the number 806263.

As Maxwell Smart would say, "Missed it by that much."

To see results from August 28's races, scroll down the Sports Thread. And if you cannot make it to the Farmer City Raceway on, but would still like to know the results from, September 4, follow the Thread as I post updates throughout the night, as I did on August 28.


FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: Matt Maier won the Hornets feature, claiming a $300 prize.

He beat out Kenny Butterfield, who raced side-by-side with Maier for a great majority of the race.
FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: A.J. Wright is $600 richer after claiming victory in the Street Stock feature.

It was a long-overdue victory for Wright, who led in a controversial feature three weeks ago with one lap to go. Jeff Semmons gave him a fender bender, and the victory was awarded to Joel Funk.

This time, however, Wright was able to finish the race with the checkered flag.
FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: Jeff Leka held off a Gary Cook rally to win the $1,000 Modifieds feature.

At the beginning of the race, it looked like Leka would cruise to another easy victory. However, Cook had other plans, turning the race into a head-to-head battle between him and Leka.

Cook even managed to take the lead for a split second. However, Leka took the lead right back and was just a little faster than Cook.

Lance Dehm finished third in the feature. Before the races, he took a picture (as seen below) with a kid named DamaRee Wilson.

Wilson saw Dehm in a previous race and mentioned how excited he was to see him win. Dehm, and his sponsor Sonic, invited him to the Farmer City Raceway on August 28 as a result.

Speaking of Sonic, the mascot pictured above was at the Farmer City Raceway to promote the company's new restaurant in Normal. The new Sonic restaurant will open on September 1.
FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: Coleman Gulick won $2,000 by taking the checkered flag in the Non-Wing Sprints feature.

But not all Sprints racers felt richer after racing at the Farmer City Raceway.

Matt Brucker, whose car is pictured below, took a nasty tumble on the fourth turn during hot laps.

FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: Steve Lance Jr. (No. 25 pictured below) made himself $1,000 richer by winning the Crate Late Models feature race.

FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: Andy Bishop advances to the Modifieds feature race by winning the semi-feature.
FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: Kenny Carmichael won the second Sprints semi-feature to earn himself a spot in the feature race.
FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: Gary Altig won the first Non-Wing Sprints semi-feature to advance to the feature race.
FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: Chris Urish won the Non-Wing Sprints Dash.
FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: Matt Maier produces a dominant victory in the second heat of the Hornets Division.
FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: Jim Wilson won the first heat of the Hornets Division.
FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: Eric Hale took the checkered flag in the second heat of the Street Stock Division.
FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: Brandon Kessinger won the first heat of the Street Stock Division.
FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: Gary Cook won the third heat of the Modifieds Division.
FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: Steve Brooks won the second heat of the Modifieds Division.
FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: Jeff Leka out-raced McKay Wenger to the finish line in the first heat of the Modifieds Division.
FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: Korey Weyant won the fourth heat of the Non-Wing Sprints Division.
FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: Levi Jones took the checkered flag in the second heat of the Non-Wing Sprints Division.
FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: Steve Lance Jr. won the second heat in the Crate Late Models Division. Randy Myers won the third heat.
FARMER CITY RACEWAY UPDATE: Kevin Weaver was the fastest qualifier in the Modifieds Division with a time of 14.41 seconds.


Blue Ridge Soccer Goes 2-1 in Urbana Uni-High Soccer Shootout

URBANA, Ill. -- The Knights' only loss was a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Illineks, who took first place in the shootout.

Nichols scored Blue Ridge's only goal in the match. Josh Plunk had six saves.


Conner Builta led the Knights with two goals and McQuade contributed with another one.

Riggs and Dylan Grammer were each credited with an assist. Plunk saved three Oakwood shots.


J.J. Malone scored four goals and Builta and Nichols recorded one as well.

Builta also recorded three assists. Jon Jones was credited with two assists; Malone had an assist as well.

Plunk saved five shots.

What's Next?

Blue Ridge (4-1) takes the field of Farmer City's South Park Tuesday against Olympia at 4:30 p.m.

For more information on the Urbana Uni-High Soccer Shootout, click on the following links: http://www.pantagraph.com/sports/scoreboard/results/article_5bc087e8-d129-11e0-a66f-001cc4c002e0.html and http://www.news-gazette.com/sports/prep-sports/boys-soccer/2011-08-27/saturdays-prep-highlights-stm-wins-golf-title.html.

Lady Knights Finish Second in Blue Ridge Volleyball Invitational, Loses Championship Game to Woodland in Three Sets

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- The last time Blue Ridge's volleyball team played, they lost in the regional final to eventual Class 1A state champion Heyworth.

On Saturday, the high-spirited Lady Knights started the season with a playoff-like atmosphere. They hosted the Blue Ridge Invitational.

For coach Evan Miles, this was an opportunity for the younger Blue Ridge players to get a feel for what it is like to play in a tournament atmosphere.

"We have all four levels contributing [on the varsity team]," Miles said. "I think it's a good tournament to have, especially with these younger girls early on, to play in that type of atmosphere where they get the jitters out so they'll help us out during conference time, and hopefully the postseason."

Championship Game
WOODLAND def. BLUE RIDGE 25-22, 18-25, 25-21

In each set, both teams switched leads at least once.

In the third and final set, Blue Ridge managed to rally from a 16-9 deficit to take a 19-18 lead.

Then Woodland reclaimed the lead at 20-19. After that, sophomore Jessica Schrock tied the set with a kill and senior Jordan Wheeler gave the Lady Knights the lead again with a soft touch that landed on the front of Woodland's side of the net.

Then a bad serve by Schrock tied the set at 21. From there, the Warriors took a lead they would not surrender again.

Despite a diving effort by Wheeler, Woodland junior Josie Walker clinched the set and match with a kill.

In the must-win second set, Blue Ridge trailed only once -- 2-1. Then Jacksonville State-bound senior Kaitlyn Zelhart floated the ball with a soft touch over the net past two Woodland players.

She gave the Lady Knights a 4-3 lead with a spike from Blue Ridge's right side of the net to the middle of the Woodland side. From there, the Lady Knights never trailed in the second set, getting awarded the 25th point when Woodland's Taylor Starkey was involved in an illegal substitution.

In the first set, Blue Ridge's biggest lead was 9-5, the ninth score as the result of a block by freshman Gabby

However, Woodland scored six unanswered points to make the score 11-9. From there, Blue Ridge had leads of 19-17 and 21-20, the latter achieved via sophomore Amber Blazek's (pictured below on left) two-handed touch hit over the net.

The Warriors regained the lead at 23-21 via two straight serves by Walker and never looked back in the first set.

"I knew we'd be up and down and inconsistent at times, but at times I thought we played really well, at a really high level, especially on the second set in this championship match," Miles said. "There's things, definitely, we can work on, but overall, I'm pleased. It's not the result we wanted, but not bad overall."

Blazek finished the match with 11 points, two aces and one block. Kaitlyn Zelhart recorded 12 kills, nine points, four aces, 26 digs and one block.

Wheeler finished with five kills, 13 digs and two blocks. Junior Chandler Morrow (pictured below) had 11 digs while Pearl recorded one block.

Game 1
BLUE RIDGE def. URBANA UNI-HIGH 25-12, 25-21

The Illineks took an early 4-2 lead in the first set.

However, Schrock (pictured below) tied the set at 4-4. Then, with the score tied at 6-6, she got another point to give Blue Ridge a lead from which it would not turn back.

At one point, Schrock got two points for the Lady Knights via back-to-back serves. That increased Blue Ridge's lead to 15-7 and 16-7.

In the second set, Blue Ridge once again found themselves trailing -- 11-8. However, the Lady Kinghts cut the deficit to 12-11 when freshman Emily Zelhart scored. Blazek tied the second set with a two-handed bump that landed on Uni-High's side of the net.

Wheeler gave Blue Ridge the lead with a serve. However, the Illineks took a 20-16. Then it was Schrock who gave Blue Ridge a 21-20 with a hard spike from the left side of the net.

Schrock finished the match with two aces. Wheeler (pictured below) also got two aces and was the team leader in kills with seven.

Kaitlyn Zelhart scored six kills, 10 digs, 13 points and three aces. Pearl had two blocks while Morrow recorded six digs.

Game 2
BLUE RIDGE def. VILLA GROVE 25-8, 25-19

It was all Blue Ridge in the first set, as the Lady Knights raced to an early 10-2 lead.

The 10th tally was scored by Kaitlyn Zelhart, whose spike hit a Villa Grove player in the face and landed on the floor.

Emily Zelhart got Blue Ridge's 25th point in the first set via serve.

In the second set, Villa Grove took leads of 1-0 and 4-3. However, after Pearl tied the score at 5-5, Kaitlyn Zelhart (pictured below) got two consecutive points with her serve to give the Lady Knights a lead they would not surrender.

Then, with Blue Ridge leading 9-5, she scored four straight points via serve. However, she ended the Lady Knights' run of eight unanswered points by hitting a serve out of bounds.

Kaitlyn Zelhart and Pearl each finished the match with five kills. Zelhart recorded 15 aces as well.

Game 3

In this joust, it was the Knights in blue that came out on top.

Blue Ridge raced out to an 8-2 lead in the first set thanks in part to a Kaitlyn Zelhart block and a Blazek serve.

Blue Ridge's 25th point of the first set had a family connection, as Kaitlyn Zelhart set up her little sister, Emily, for the set-clinching spike.

In the second set, Calvary never truly contended, as the Blue Ridge Lady Knights took a 9-0 lead. During that run, Emily Zelhart scored four consecutive points via serve.

The match-clinching point occurred when Calvary Christian's Marissa Richards failed to hit the ball over the net.

Kaitlyn Zelhart scored seven kills, five digs and two solo blocks. Emily Zelhart finished the match with eight points and four aces.

Wheeler recorded four kills and a solo block. Blazek had four kills as well while Pearl (pictured below)scored a solo block while Schrock recorded nine points and two aces.

What's Next For Blue Ridge Volleyball

The 3-1 Lady Knights will travel to Maroa-Forsyth this upcoming Thursday. Then they'll start Heart of Illinois Conference play at Ridgeview the following Tuesday.

"We'll start getting the meat and potatoes in our schedule from there," Miles said.

To see which players were selected to the Blue Ridge Invitational's All-Tournament Team and other scores from the Blue Ridge Invitational, scroll down the Sports Thread. You'll need to click on the "Older Posts" link to see scores not shown on the Sports Thread's home page.

Blue Ridge Volleyball Invitational All-Tournament Team

Emily Zelhart, Blue Ridge

Madison Harms, Woodland

Sara Spaniol, Woodland

Josie Walker, Woodland

Megan Beutke, Woodland

Mariah Coleman, Heritage

Jordan Wheeler, Blue Ridge

Kaitlyn Zelhart, Blue Ridge
DeLand-Weldon beat Calvary 25-21, 25-13 in the fifth-place game and Judah Christian beat Villa Grove 25-15, 25-15 in the seventh-place game.
Woodland won the Blue Ridge Invitational by beating the Lady Knights in the final set 25-21.
Blue Ridge won the second set 25-18 to force a third and deciding set.
Woodland beat Blue Ridge in the first set 25-22.
Heritage won the third-place game of the Blue Ridge Volleyball Invitational, beating Uni-High 25-17, 25-18.
In other Pool B news, Heritage beat Judah Christian 25-22, 22-19.
Blue Ridge will play Woodland, who defeated DeLand-Weldon 25-5, 25-9, in the invitational title game at 4 p.m.
Blue Ridge beats Calvary 25-13, 25-7 to advance to the title game.
Blue Ridge won the first set against Calvary 25-13.
Blue Ridge will play Calvary Christian shortly. If they win, they'll play in the invitational title match at 4 p.m.
Pool A update: Uni-High beat Villa Grove 25-7, 25-18 to improve to 2-1 in the invitational.
Pool B scores: Woodland over Heritage 25-12, 25-23 and Judah Christian 25-11, 25-13.
Pool B scores: DeLand-Weldon beat Judah Christian 20-25, 26-24, 15-10 but lost to Heritage 25-15, 25-18.
Blue Ridge is the lone undefeated team in Pool A of the volleyball invitational as Uni-High beat Calvary Christian 25-15, 25-18.
Blue Ridge improves its volleyball season record to 2-0 with a 25-8, 25-19 win over Villa Grove.
Villa Grove will play Blue Ridge in volleyball invitational at around 11 a.m., lost to Calvary 25-13, 25-15.
The Lady Knights' volleyball team won their first match of the Blue Ridge Invitational, beating Urbana University High 25-12, 25-21.

Blue Ridge Football Loses Home Opener to Tri-Valley

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- Johnny Bruden kept Blue Ridge in contention with Tri-Valley going into halftime.

The 5-8, 160-pound junior QB/S returned a Vikings fumble for a touchdown in the first quarter and threw a 30-yard TD pass to Kenny Dunn in the second quarter. As a result, the Knights went into the locker room at the half trailing 17-14.

However, Blue Ridge ran into too big a roach -- Tri-Valley's Jimmy Roach, that is.

Roach ran for 112 yards and four touchdowns. He also threw a TD pass en route to leading the Vikings to a 41-22 victory over the Knights.

For more on the game, click on the following link: http://www.pantagraph.com/sports/high-school/football/article_195b819c-d06a-11e0-8140-001cc4c002e0.html.

Blue Ridge takes its 0-1 record to Champaign on September 2, where the Knights will play a non-conference game against St. Thomas More.

The junior varsity team, meanwhile, will play at home against Tri-Valley on Monday.


Blue Ridge Soccer: J.J. Malone's Hat Trick Leads Knights to Win in Home Opener over Iroquois West

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- J.J. Malone scored three goals at Farmer City's South Park en route to leading the Knights to a 4-0 victory over the Raiders.

Conner Builta also scored a goal for Blue Ridge. He also recorded an assist.

Jon Jones and Thompson also contributed an assist each for the Knights, who improved their record to 2-0.


To see the box score of the soccer game from The Pantagraph, click on the link above. To see Blue Ridge's football roster and a preview of the upcoming season, visit the link below:



Blue Ridge Girls Golf: Amber Tsevelekos Reunites with "Neighbor," Leads Lady Knights to Victory over Monticello

MONTICELLO, Ill. -- About three miles of countryside space separate Blue Ridge's Amber Tsevelekos and Monticello's Kaza Combs.

"It's like we're neighbors," Tsevelekos said.

The three-mile distance may have been enough to put the two girls golfers in separate school districts. At Monticello Golf Club on Wednesday, however, there were no degrees of separation as Tsevelekos and Combs teed off together.

Tsevelekos shot a 47 while Combs shot a 58. The Sages' Evelyn Brand, who teed off alongside Tsevelekos and Combs, scored a 52.

"I thought I did all right," Tsevelekos said. "It was just one of those days."

Despite expressing some disappointment with her score, Tsevelekos had the best one among all girls golfers, leading Blue Ridge to a 205-245 victory over Monticello.

Kelsey Baker contributed to the Lady Knights' team score by shooting a 50. Megan Tsevelekos and Jacquelyn O'Neal got on the scoreboard with scores of 52 and 56, respectively.

For Monticello, Brand's 52 was the best among the team. Maddy Diniz shot a 68 while Andrea Easton recorded a score of 67.

For Blue Ridge, Melinda Wilson and Alana Strum scored 75 and 79, respectively.

At Monticello

Curtis Ghent  56
Jacob Strutner  56
Tucker Johnson  60

Blue Ridge Soccer Beats Heyworth, Boys Golf Outing Cancelled

HEYWORTH, Ill. -- The Knights' soccer season got off to a dominating start Tuesday as Jonathan Malone scored four goals to lead Blue Ridge to a 6-0 victory over the Hornets.

Conner Builta contributed to the dominating victory by scoring a goal and recording two assists.


Jon Jones also tallied a goal and an assist for the Knights. Dylan Grammer was also credited with an assist.

Goalie Josh Plunk recorded three saves.

Blue Ridge's next match will be at home on Thursday. The Knights will face Iroquois West at 4:30 p.m.

Boys Golf

Blue Ridge's boys golf team's outing at Ridgeview was cancelled.

The Knights will participate in the Blue Ridge Tri at Woodlawn Country Club against Lexington and Fisher on September 1 at 4 p.m.


Should Blue Ridge High School Volleyball Players Receive Pay for Play?

Disclaimer: Before you read this post, keep in mind that I am not actually arguing that high school volleyball players should be paid for their participation on their respective teams.

I recently watched ESPN's Blueprint for Change, where a panel discussed, among other things, the idea of paying college athletes in exchange for their participation in athletics.

With recent scandals in college football, including recent reports that a convicted Ponzi scheme conductor paid players at the University of Miami, among the biggest headlines in the world of sports, the NCAA rules regarding players' compensation are obviously causing a hot-button debate.

Those who say that players should be paid a stipend for their athletic participation argue that athletes bring a lot of revenue to the school. They argue that it's not fair for the school to collect the millions of dollars in revenue without giving a cut to the players who generate it (beyond the basics such as free tuition, room and board and books).

Well, I just read the following paragraph on Blue Ridge High School's student announcements:

Blue Ridge Volleyball t-shirt order forms are in the office. Support your favorite volleyball player and get a shirt with their name and number on the back. Order forms and payment are due Friday, August 26th to the high school office.

In other words, if you have a little disposable income to spend, you can give money to the high school in exchange for a t-shirt that has the name of a player on the back of it. Obviously, none of the money you spend on that t-shirt will be paid directly to the players whom you "support" by buying it.

Of course, the t-shirts won't generate the millions of dollars in revenue that big-time college athletes produce. And the Blue Ridge players don't have to worry about the cost of attending their high school, at least not as much as college athletes do.

But this is still something to think about when discussing the thought of paying college athletes.

Blue Ridge Volleyball Roster -- 2011 Season
Number and Name
2 -- T'Ann Crozier
4 -- Jordan Wheeler
5 -- Kaitlyn Zelhart
6 -- Chandler Morrow
8 -- Korie Reynolds
10 -- Megan Tsevelekos
12 -- Emily Zelhart
14 -- Jessica Schrock
20 -- Amber Blazek
22 -- Morgan Delaney
24 -- Kasey Sedberry
26 -- Gabby Pearl
28 -- Courtney Cox


Blue Ridge Boys, Girls Golf Beats Iroquois West

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- The Knights and Lady Knights, led by medalists Mason Potts and Amber Tsevelekos, defeated the Raiders by scores of 178-205 and 203-243, respectively.

After medaling in his previous golf outing at Gibson City, Potts took first place among individual golfers at the Woodlawn Country Club with a score of 42. He finished off his day by sinking a long putt on the No. 2 hole.

On the girls' side, Tsevelekos medaled with a score of 44.

Austin Maxwell teed off alongside Potts and finished his day with a score of 43.

"Our shots could have came out better, but I think we did all right," Maxwell said.

C.J. Bishop and Will Duggins contributed to the boys team with scores of 46 and 47, respectively. Justin Jamison also scored a 47.

Kelsey Baker was second among the Blue Ridge girls team with a score of 47. Megan Tsevelekos and Jacquelyn O'Neal ended the day scoring 53 and 59, respectively.

The boys golf team will take its 7-3 record to Ridgeview on Tuesday at 4 p.m. The girls (4-5) will travel to Monticello on Wednesday to take on the Sages at 4 p.m.

Terrelle Pryor Taken by Oakland Raiders in NFL Supplemental Draft

Who would take a chance on a college quarterback who broke NCAA rules and chose to declare for the Supplemental Draft rather than face the consequences of his actions?

Who else but Al Davis?

The Oakland Raiders selected Pryor in the third round.

The Raiders will have to wait five games to see what Pryor can do. However, he can practice with the team until his suspension is completed.

I just watched a SportsCenter report regarding whether or not Peyton Manning will be ready for Week 1 of the 2011 season. His status is still unclear, but it is reported that Manning thinks his neck will recover in time for the season to start.

During the NFL lockout, Manning was not allowed to rehab from neck surgery with the Indianapolis Colts' training staff. And no players were allowed to have any contact with their coaching staff, let alone practice with them.

All because the NFL and NFLPA could not agree on a collective bargaining agreement until July.

And yet Pryor is allowed to practice with the Raiders.

Where's the justice? 


NFL Rule Change Displayed in Chargers-Cowboys Preseason Game (Not on the Kickoff)

Among the many rule changes in the NFL, the most discussed one has been about the new spot on kickoffs.

By putting the kicking tee on the 35-yard line as opposed to the 30, the rule change has resulted in more touchbacks. A downside to this rule change, as greatly discussed, has been that it has decreased the value of a kick returner.

In tonight's San Diego-Dallas exhibition game, however, there was another rule change that caught my attention.

With 12:47 left in the fourth quarter and the Chargers leading 17-7, the Cowboys had the ball on San Diego's 23-yard line. On third-and-1, Phillip Tanner ran 23 yards for a touchdown -- after his helmet got removed from his head by a defender.

Due to a rule change, stating that a runner is ruled down once his helmet is removed, the touchdown didn't count.

Tanner would have had his touchdown called back anyway because the Cowboys committed a five-yard illegal shift penalty. However, the play still caught my attention.

It caught my attention because it shows an unfair advantage that has been created as a result of the rule change. Now, a defender can essentially tackle an opponent with the mere act of taking off his helmet.

I am not arguing against the rule change. Obviously, players' safety is an important issue, and playing without a helmet is definitely unsafe.

And yanking a player's helmet by the facemask is still illegal.

However, it's a little unfair that a defender can tackle an opponent by yanking off his helmet via, for example, one of the earholes. It's something the NFL should look into.


Farmer City Raceway: Results from, Point Standings as of August 19, 2011

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- Bloomington native Eric Smith and Kenny Butterfield both made themselves significantly richer with big feature victories at the Farmer City Raceway.

Smith won the NALMS Late Models feature to make himself $2,000 richer. Butterfield won $1,000 by taking the checkered flag in the Hornet Nationals feature.

Other feature racers in the Hornet Nationals feature won some consolation money, as shown below in the feature results along with feature results and point standings in each racing division.

As always, full results and point standings can be seen at http://www.farmercityracing.com/.


Feature Results

1. Eric Smith, Bloomington; 2. Bobby Pierce, Oakwood; 3. Kevin Weaver, Gibson City; 4. Mike Spatola, Manhattan; 5. Brandon Sheppard, New Berlin; 6. Ryan Unzicker, El Paso; 7. Jimmy Dehm, Lexington; 8. Jim Moon, Zionsville, Ind.; 9. Donny Walden, Towanda; 10. Joe Harlan, El Paso; 11. Steve Lance Jr., Cuba; 12. Chris Dick, DeLand; 13. Mike Glascock, LeRoy; 14. Russ Adams, Princeville; 15. Bill Giannetti, Champaign; 16. Curtis Hobbs, Farmer City.

Point Standings

1. Eric Smith (Bloomington) 453; 2. Bobby Pierce (Oakwood) 394; 3. Joe Harlan (El Paso) 367; 4. Jimmy Dehm (Lexington) 354; 5. Derek Chandler (Pontiac) 322; 6. Chris Dick (DeLand) 287; 7. Ryan Unzicker (El Paso) 233; 8. Don Cisco III (Oreana) 232; 9. Russ Adams (Princeville) 218; 10. Brandon Sheppard (New Berlin) 201.

25. Curtis Hobbs (Farmer City) 114; T-73. Matt Beadles (Clinton) 21.


Feature Results (with money received in parentheses)

1. Kenny Butterfield, Glasford ($1,000); 2. Damin Jones, Chestnut ($500); 3. Joe Reed, Decatur ($350); 4. Brandon Bechen ($250); 5. Matt Maier, Thomasboro ($200); 6. Rob Shaw, Highland ($175); 7. Eric Hall, LeRoy ($150); 8. Justin Jones, Olney ($130); 9. Tyler Benson, Creve Coeur ($120); 10. David Lauritson, Normal ($100); 11. Casey Gernentz, Gifford ($50); 12. Rick Reed ($50); 13. Ben Gernentz, Gifford ($50); 14. Brian Wilson, Colfax ($50); 15. Jim English, Eureka ($50); 16. Jim Wilson, Towanda ($50); 17. Chris Burton, Mansfield ($50); 18. Mike Cusak Jr. ($50); 19. Stephanie Eskew ($50); 20. Mike Cusak, Brimfield (DNF, but still won $50).

Point Standings

1. Matt Maier (Thomasboro) 666; 2. Chris Burton (Mansfield) 558; 3. Casey Gernentz (Gifford) 537; 4. Brian Wilson (Colfax) 485; 5. Jim Wilson (Towanda) 476; 6. Ben Gernentz (Gifford) 472; 7. Larry Hawk (Champaign) 446; T-8. Dion Smith (Bloomington) 433; T-8. Kenny Butterfield (Glasford) 433; 10. David Lauritson (Normal) 397.

11. Trisha Burton (Mansfield) 378; 24. Jim Eads (Clinton) 86; T-72. Willie Alwood (Clinton) 10.


Feature Results

1. Lance Dehm, Chatsworth; 2. Ryan Cary, Catlin; 3. Jeff Leka, Buffalo; 4. Randy Huffman, Maroa; 5. Brian Lynn, Mason City; 6. Cory Schwengel, Oreana; 7. Justin Leka, Buffalo; 8. Justin Gregory, West Point, Ind.; 9. Ray Bollinger, Kewanee; 10. Brent Gregory, West Point, Ind.; 11. Dustin King, Charleston; 12. Don Cox, Glasford; 13. David Henderson, Danville; 14. Jeff Sandford, Gifford; 15. Bill Bates, Paris.

Point Standings

1. Jeff Leka (Buffalo) 657; 2. Lance Dehm (Chatsworth) 551; 3. Justin Delong (Bloomington) 511; 4. Jay Ledford (Pontiac) 467; 5. Ryan Cary (Catlin) 424; 6. Gary Turpin (Bloomington) 389; 7. Jeff Curl (Forrest) 364; 8. David Henderson (Danville) 329; 9. Ray Bollinger (Kewanee) 321; 10. Jeff Sandford (Gifford) 280.

T-109. Matt Wilson (Clinton) 15.


Feature Results

1. Brandon Kessinger, Normal; 2. Travis Johnson, Ashland; 3. Jeff Semmons, Pontiac; 4. Joel Funk, Dwight; 5. Jim Quinn, Farmer City; 6. Chris Dick, DeLand; 7. Darrel Dick, Monticello; 8. Terry Miller, Lincoln; 9. Jerrad Krick, Earl Park, Ind.; 10. Greg Rubenacker, Kenney; 11. A.J. Wright, Danville; 12. Doug Berbaum, Monticello; 13. Travis Thrasher, Clinton; 14. Hugh Johnson, Champaign.

Point Standings

1. Travis Johnson (Ashland) 620; 2. Chris Dick (DeLand) 578; 3. Darrel Dick (Monticello) 573; 4. Jim Quinn (Farmer City) 464; 5. Nathan McNeese (Catlin) 377; 6. Eric Wilson (Downs) 373; 7. Jeff Semmons (Pontiac) 299; 8. Troy Dodson (Cerro Gordo) 276; 9. Rick Alwood (Clinton) 273; 10. Joel Funk (Dwight) 268; 11. Brandon Kessinger (Normal) 261.

T-13. Travis Thrasher (Clinton) 251; 37. Donnie Rhoades (Clinton) 61; T-50. Josh Smith (Clinton) 47.


Point Standings

1. Daniel Flessner (Thawville) 550; 2. Dave Crawley Jr. (Decatur) 497; 3. Dustin Mounce (Flanagan) 460; 4. Rod Rusher (Mansfield) 391; 5. Donny Sublon (Fisher) 372; 6. Richie Rich (Pontiac) 365; 7. Nick Macklin (Oreana) 313; 8. Jason Maier (Thomasboro) 263; 9. Darrel Dick (Monticello) 253; 10. Shawn Diggs (LeRoy) 251.

33. Dan Shoufler (Farmer City) 27.


Georgetown Basketball: Exhibition Game Ends with Ugly Brawl

Georgetown was Kung-Fu fighting.

There was a Mao-lice at the Pao-lace.

Any way you put it, Georgetown's basketball team will not have many kind words about the people of China after playing against the Bayi Rockets, as you can see by reading the following link...


...and/or by watching the following video.

Blue Ridge Golf at Gibson City -- August 17, 2011

GIBSON CITY, Ill. -- It was a busy day for Blue Ridge golf coach Lynn Hawkins.

As well as coaching the Knights' boys and girls golf teams, Hawkins also serves as the president of Blue Ridge School District 18's union workers, who reached a tentative agreement with the district.

Read all about the news regarding the situation on the following link: http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/education/article_6b7bcd4c-c93a-11e0-b4be-001cc4c03286.html.

Then he saw his boy and girl girls battle LeRoy and Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley on the golf course.

The boys team won with a score of 178. Mason Potts and Austin Maxwell shot 41 and 42, respectively, to earn first and second place among individual golfers.

For more Wednesday prep golf results, visit the following link: http://www.news-gazette.com/sports/prep-sports/boys-golf/2011-08-17/wednesdays-prep-highlights-wisher-shines.html.


Why the NCAA Should Drop College Football

In case you've been living under a rock in the past 24 hours, convicted felon Nevin Shapiro told Yahoo! Sports that he provided impermissible benefits to football players at the University of Miami.

For those of you who read that last sentence without gasping for air in disbelief, I don't blame you.

Remember when, in a time not so long ago, steroid scandals used to be numbingly rampant in Major League Baseball? Remember when you heard about Manny Ramirez admitting to doing steroids and, instead of falling out of your chair in a state of shock, you let out a sigh of frustration?

"Ugh, you too?" Remember that?

Well, recruiting scandals have become similarly common in college football. To name just a few pieces of news regarding this epidemic, USC, Ohio State and North Carolina have seen players suspended, coaches resigning and/or NCAA sanctions as a result.

And let's not forget about the scandal surrounding the Fiesta Bowl. Heck, the BCS's existence is a scam within itself.

Now we have the Hurricanes, whose accused "benefactors" include big names like Devin Hester, Vince Wilfork, Kellen Winslow and Willis McGahee, to name a few.


David Whitley, AOL FanHouse Columnist, says Miami should get a "death penalty" similar to what SMU's football program received in the 1980's. To see the column, visit the following link: http://aol.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/feed/2011-08/um-violations/story/miami-football-scandal-nevin-shapiro-only-way-to-save-miami-football-is-to-destr.

Since the recruiting scandal epidemic has clearly spread throughout college football, I am going to one-up Mr. Whitley and suggest this to the NCAA:

Put college football into the electric chair.

Believe me, this is an extreme idea that I did not want to propose. And I know it will kill some fall Saturdays in America.

But you'll thank me when you watch a national championship team holding a glass football without wondering how many players could afford to buy one of their own with improperly-received money.

Blue Ridge Boys Golf: Austin Maxwell Leads Knights to Fourth-Place Finish in Ridgeview Invitational

FILLMORE, Ill. -- Austin Maxwell shot a 91 at the Ridgeview Invitational on Tuesday, helping Blue Ridge take fourth place in the eight-team event.

For more information on the invite and boys golf results from Tuesday, click on the following link:


Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Indians: In Case You Missed It...

Juan Pierre hit the one-out, game-winning RBI single in the 14th inning to score Gordon Beckham from third base to give the White Sox an 8-7 victory over the Indians.

Chicago remains 3.5 games behind the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central, but climbs up to within a half game behind Cleveland.


Blue Ridge Girls Golf: Amber Tsevelekos Battles Bruised Forearm to Lead Lady Knights to Fourth-Place Finish in Own Invitational

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- A bruised right forearm, an top-10 individual finish and a top-five finish for her team.

For Amber Tsevelekos, this is how her girls golf season at Blue Ridge started.

On her fifth hole in the Blue Ridge Invitational at Woodlawn Country Club, Tsevelekos was hit by an Olympia golfer's shot.

"I got some ice on it really fast," Tsevelekos said. "The coach gave me some ibuprofen."

Despite a bruise on her right forearm, Tsevelekos did not let the injury affect her game. She finished with a score of 94, good enough for eighth place among the individual golfers.

Thanks in part to Tsevelekos' performance, Blue Ridge finished the invitational it hosted in fourth place among a seven-team field.

Team Scores

1. Mahomet-Seymour 350; 2. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley 368; 3. El Paso-Gridley 410; 4. Blue Ridge 418; 5. Olympia 462; 6. Tri-Valley 467; 7. Monticello 492.

Top 10 Individuals          Out -In  -- Gross
1. E. Spangler (GCMS)         41-37 -- 78
2. C. Goss (MS)                      41-39 -- 80
3. D. Ellis (MS)                        43-41 -- 84
4. M. Hinkleman (EPG)          50-42 -- 92
5. E. Trolia (MS)                     43-41 -- 84
6. K. Spangler (GCMS)          50-42 -- 92
7. A. Tabaka (MS)                  47-47 -- 94
8. Amber Tsevelekos (BR)    51-43 -- 94
9. B. Hildreth (MS)                 49-45 -- 94
10. R. Dernthal (MS)              44-51 -- 95

Other Blue Ridge Results  Out-In -- Gross
Kelsey Baker                              47-52 -- 99
Jacquelyn O'Neal                      61-55 -- 116
Megan Tsevelekos                    58-51 -- 109
Melinda Wilson                          69-70 -- 139
Alana Strum                               85-78 -- 163


Chicago Bears' Offensive Line Fails in Pass Protection, But Allow Marion Barber and Kahlil Bell to Run Free

I am looking at the stats from the Bears' first preseason game via my BlackBerry Torch.

Matt Forte did not get a single carry while Jay Cutler got only one pass off. He was sacked once, while Caleb Hanie and Nathan Enderle went down a combined eight times.

Meanwhile, third-string running back Marion Barber rushed seven times for 45 yards, 6.4 yards per carry. Fourth-string back Kahlil Bell ran for 73 yards on 13 carries and caught two passes for 46 yards.

With this in mind, I have mixed reviews about Chicago's offensive line.

On the one hand, while it is the first time the line is playing in live action since Olin Kruetz left, it still makes fans in Windy City to see the quarterbacks not have any time to throw.

On the other hand, the Bears showed that they can run the football. Therefore, Mike Martz should really start establishing the run with his offense.

By doing so, it can keep defenses honest and give Cutler some more time in the pocket.


NFL Preseason History: What if Terrell Davis Didn't Rock on the Kickoff Team for the Denver Broncos?

The following post is merely a satirical prediction of how the alteration of one moment in history changed the world as we know it. There is no such alternate universe as LeChamp James.

What Happened in This Universe

A lot of NFL fans, understandably, get bored when watching the preseason.

They just want to watch the first quarter and, based on what they see of the performance from the teams' starters, predict the success (or failure) of their upcoming season.

Who cares about the sixth-string tailback? There's no way he'll impact the future of the NFL, right?

Well, in a 1995 preseason game in Tokyo between the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos, a sixth-round running back named Terrell Davis got the Broncos' attention by lighting up the 49ers' kickoff returner, as shown in the YouTube video below.

Davis was named the starting running back for the 1995 season opener.

In a three Pro Bowl career, he led Denver to a 31-24 victory over the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII by running for 157 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries. As a result, Davis was named the game's MVP.

In 1998, Davis became the fourth running back in NFL history to rush for more than 2,000 yards while carrying the Broncos to a second consecutive Super Bowl victory.

What Happened on the Universe LeChamp James

LeChamp James is an alternate universe just like the one on which we live.

Except, due to a few tweaks in past events, it goes through a different course through history.

Why is it named LeChamp James? The name is dedicated to the memory of LeBron James, who by now has won multiple championships in a league that (due to the lockout) shall remain nameless.

And he didn't take his talents to South Beach. But that's another story for another post.

Anyway, in this alternate universe, Davis didn't light up the 49ers' kickoff returner in the 1995 preseason. Instead, he tore his Achilles tendon running on the AstroTurf.

In his senior season at Georgia, Davis missed three games due to a torn hamstring, so his injury was not a surprise.

As a result of it, Davis ended up getting released by the Broncos before the season opener. He was out of football soon afterwards.

With Denver out of the way, the Packers won their second consecutive Super Bowl, beating Kordell Stewart and the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-21 in SB XXXII.

Green Bay, led by Mike Holmgren and Brett Favre, won two more Super Bowls in the next five years. Satisfied with the success of his career, Favre retired in 2003 and never played again.

Never waffling over the decision to return to the NFL. Happily mowing his lawn in Mississippi.

Which is more than I can say about John Elway.

Still burdened by the unfinished business of winning a Super Bowl, Elway retired after the 1998 season -- only to approach Broncos owner Pat Bowlen during the 1999 training camp about the prospect of returning to Denver.

Deciding, instead, to move forward with 1997 second-round draft pick Jake Plummer, the Broncos traded Elway to the Philadelphia Eagles. Influenced by the advice of newly-appointed offensive coordinator Brad Childress, new head coach Andy Reid flew out to California to meet with Elway in March.

After the meeting, the Eagles drafted Ricky Williams (instead of Donovan McNabb) and traded for Elway.

Elway and Williams led the Eagles to the NFC Championship Game, where a costly interception sent the Packers to their third Super Bowl appearance in four years.

In the offseason leading up to the 2000 season, Elway and Williams were arrested for possession of marijuana. Rather than face an inevitable suspension, they both retired.

They now live in Amsterdam.

The Lesson?

Sometimes, a special teams play in the preseason can impact the NFL with more ferocity than a game-winning touchdown in the playoffs.

And the next time you see an unknown rookie lighting up a play on special teams in a preseason game, remember his name.

It may be uttered again in the Super Bowl.

NFL Preseason: A Sign that the San Diego Chargers Will Win the AFC West?

Last year, the Chargers were the top-ranked team in the NFL in total offense and defense.

That should have made San Diego a Super Bowl contender, right? Wrong.

Special teams cost the Chargers an AFC West title, let alone the Vince Lombardi trophy, as they finished with a record of 9-7 whereas the Kansas City Chiefs won the division by going 10-6.

But this year?

With the NFL changing the rules on kickoffs, putting the tee on the 35-yard line instead of the 30, many thought returning kickoffs for touchdowns would be impossible. They apparently thought wrong.

In the third quarter of the Chargers' opening preseason game, Bryan Walters may have secured his spot as the kickoff returner. He returned a kickoff 103 yards for six points.

I wouldn't go so far as to judge the success of a team's season based on one preseason play. However, this could be a good sign for San Diego.


Chicago Bears Preseason, Monday Night Football Schedule

With the preseason underway in the NFL, I thought it would be appropriate to post the Bears' preseason schedule.

So, here it is:

Saturday, August 13 -- vs. Buffalo Bills, 7 p.m. CST

Monday, August 22 -- at New York Giants, 7 p.m. CST (ESPN)

Saturday, August 27 -- at Tennessee Titans, 7 p.m. CST

Thursday, September 1 -- vs. Cleveland Browns, 7 p.m. CST

You might notice that one of those games is a Monday night one on ESPN.

Speaking of which, it should be noted for anybody near the Clinton, Ill., or Robinson, Ill., area that Eagle Theaters will offer free admission to see Monday Night Football on the big screen.

If only you knew the schedule for the 2011 Monday Night Football season. Oh, wait: I posted that as well.

Here it is (and if you attend the Eagle Theaters to see an MNF game, tell them Drew Rosten's Sports Thread sent you):

Week 1

September 12: New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins, 6 p.m. CST

September 12: Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos, 9:15 p.m. CST

Week 2

September 19: St. Louis Rams at New York Giants, 7:30 p.m. CST

Week 3

September 26: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys, 7:30 p.m. CST

Week 4

October 3: Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 7:30 p.m. CST

Week 5

October 10: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions, 7:30 p.m. CST

Week 6

October 17: Miami Dolphins at New York Jets, 7:30 p.m. CST

Week 7

October 24: Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars, 7:30 p.m. CST

Week 8

October 31: San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, 7:30 p.m. CST

Week 9

November 7: Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles, 7:30 p.m. CST

Week 10

November 14: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers, 7:30 p.m. CST

Week 11

November 21: Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots, 7:30 p.m. CST

Week 12

November 28: New York Giants at New Orleans Saints, 7:30 p.m. CST

Week 13

December 5: San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars, 7:30 p.m. CST

Week 14

December 12: St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks, 7:30 p.m. CST

Week 15

December 19: Pittsburgh Steelers at San Francisco 49ers, 7:30 p.m. CST

Week 16

December 26: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints, 7:30 p.m. CST


Farmer City Raceway Results from, Point Standings as of August 5, 2011

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- The Farmer City Raceway will have a bye week this Friday.

But the following week, they will give away $2,000 to the winner of the NALMS Late Model race and $1,000 to the Hornet Nationals winner.

Just like last week, I listed the results and point standings in the same post.

For a recap of August 5's races, simply scroll down the Sports Thread and you'll find it. For full results and point standings, visit http://www.farmercityracing.com/.


Feature Results

1. Lance Dehm, Chatsworth; 2. Ray Bollinger; 3. Jeff Leka, Buffalo; 4. Arby Burton; 5. Jeb Friedman, Forrest; 6. Cory Schwengel, Oreana; 7. Dave Crawley, Decatur; 8. Ryan Cary, Catlin; 9. Randy Huffman, Maroa; 10. Roger Cary, Catlin; 11. David Henderson, Danville; 12. Blake Buchholz, New Holland; 13. Jeff Sandford, Gifford.

14. Gary Turpin, Bloomington (DNF); 16. Justin Delong, Bloomington (DNF).

Point Standings

1. Jeff Leka (Buffalo) 621; 2. Lance Dehm (Chatsworth) 511; 3. Justin Delong (Bloomington) 493; 4. Jay Ledford (Pontiac) 467; 5. Gary Turpin (Bloomington) 389; 6. Ryan Cary (Catlin) 386; 7. Jeff Curl (Forrest) 364; 8. David Henderson (Danville) 307; 9. Ray Bollinger 295; 10. Dave Crawley (Decatur) 262; 11. Jeff Sandford (Gifford) 259.

T-106. Matt Wilson (Clinton) 15.


Feature Results

1. Jerry Lierly, Camp Point; 2. Nick Bauman, New Berlin; 3. Evan Fink, Glasford; 4. Matt Beadles, Clinton; 5. Randy Myers, Springfield; 6. John Barnard, Sherman; 7. Logan Moody, Catlin; 8. Chad Evans, Mattoon; 9. Kenny Vandorn.


Point Standings

1. Eric Smith (Bloomington) 413; 2. Bobby Pierce (Oakwood) 356; 3. Joe Harlan (El Paso) 342; 4. Jimmy Dehm (Lexington) 326; 5. Derek Chandler (Pontiac) 305; 6. Chris Dick (DeLand) 264; 7. Don Cisco III (Oreana) 217; 8. Ryan Unzicker (El Paso) 203; 9. Russ Adams (Princeville) 197; 10. Kent Robinson (Bloomington, Ind.) 177; 11. Scott Bull (Fairbury) 176.

25. Bill Giannetti (Champaign) 98; 26. Curtis Hobbs (Farmer City) 95.

T-72. Matt Beadles (Clinton) 21.


Feature Results

1. Joel Funk, Dwight; 2. A.J. Wright, Danville; 3. Darrel Dick, Monticello; 4. Chris Dick, DeLand; 5. Kevin Crowder, Argenta; 6. Nathan McNeese, Catlin; 7. Travis Thrasher, Clinton; 8. Jim Quinn, Farmer City; 9. Eric Wilson, Downs; 10. Doug Berbaum, Monticello; 11. Darrel Lehigh, Fisher.

12. Travis Johnson, Ashland (DNF); 17. Jeff Semmons, Pontiac (DQ).

Point Standings

1. Travis Johnson (Ashland) 582; 2. Chris Dick (DeLand) 548; 3. Darrel Dick (Monticello) 545; 4. Jim Quinn (Farmer City) 432; 5. Nathan McNeese (Catlin) 359; 6. Eric Wilson (Downs) 358; 7. Troy Dodson (Cerro Gordo) 276; 8. Rick Alwood (Clinton) 273; 9. Jeff Semmons (Pontiac) 263; 10. Wayne Orrick (Bloomington) 257.

11. Darrel Lehigh (Fisher) 235; 12. Joel Funk (Dwight) 234; 13. Travis Thrasher (Clinton) 229.

17. High Johnson (Champaign) 209; 18. A.J. Wright (Danville) 200.

36. Donnie Rhoades (Clinton) 61; 49. Josh Smith (Clinton) 47.


Feature Results

1. Kenny Butterfield, Glasford; 2. David Lauritson, Normal; 3. Jim Wilson, Towanda; 4. Ben Gernentz, Gifford; 5. Casey Gernentz, Gifford; 6. Chris Burton, Mansfield; 7. Brian Wilson, Colfax; 8. Bob Althouse, Bloomington; 9. Trisha Burton, Mansfield; 10. Luke Althouse, Paxton; 11. Rack Eads, Beason; 12. Dion Smith, Bloomington.

16. Matt Maier, Thomasboro (DNF).

Point Standings

1. Matt Maier (Thomasboro) 634; 2. Chris Burton (Mansfield) 540; 3. Casey Gernentz (Gifford) 513; 4. Jim Wilson (Towanda) 457; 5. Brian Wilson (Colfax) 454; 6. Ben Gernentz (Gifford) 450; 7. Larry Hawk (Champaign) 436; 8. Dion Smith (Bloomington) 423; 9. Kenny Butterfield (Glasford) 393; 10. David Lauritson (Normal) 372; 11. Trisha Burton (Mansfield) 368.

21. Jim Eads (Clinton) 86.


Feature Results

1. Joel Funk, Dwight; 2. Daniel Flessner, Thawville; 3. Troy Clark, North Vernon, Ind.; 4. Richie Rich, Pontiac; 5. Mike Staggs; 6. Lance Johnson, Decatur; 7. Tony Clinton, Dawson; 8. Dan Shoufler, Farmer City.

10. Jason Maier, Thomasboro (DNF); 11. Donny Sublon, Fisher (DNF); 12. Rod Rusher, Mansfield (DNS); 13. Dustin Mounce, Flanagan (DNS); 14. Alan Crowder, Elwin (DNS).

Point Standings

1. Daniel Flessner (Thawville) 550; 2. Dave Crawley Jr. (Decatur) 497; 3. Dustin Mounce (Flanagan) 460; 4. Rod Rusher (Mansfield) 391; 5. Donny Sublon (Fisher) 372; 6. Richie Rich (Pontiac) 365; 7. Nick Macklin (Oreana) 313; 8. Jason Maier (Thomasboro) 263; 9. Darrel Dick (Monticello) 253; 10. Shawn Diggs (LeRoy) 251; 11. Joel Funk (Dwight) 204; 12. Alan Crowder (Elwin) 191.

33. Dan Shoufler (Farmer City) 27.

Former Fighting Illini Running Back Mikel Leshoure Out for First Season with Detroit Lions

Boy, the Lions can't catch a break, can they?

Just when Detroit looks like an up-and-coming Super Bowl contender. Just when the Lions have a decent draft.

Injuries happen.

First, Nick Fairley injures his left foot in a Monday practice.

Now, Mikel Leshoure has torn his Achilles tendon. As a result, he will miss his entire rookie season.

Only the Lions.


Reports: DeSean Jackson to End Holdout, Report to Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp Monday

According to reports from ESPN, as read on their ticker during the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Jackson will be in camp on Monday.

The Salt Lake Tribune published a report that the Eagles have not renegotiated a new contract for Jackson, who will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2011 season if they don't agree to an extension by that time.

For more details, read the article in the following link: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/sports/52339738-77/mason-saturday-camp-eagles.html.csp.

Speaking of the Hall of Fame ceremony, didn't anybody else seem to feel slighted by the fact that the inductees were introduced via video clips instead of the presenters?

I can understand it in the case of Ed Sabol. It is, after all, only fitting that the founder of NFL Films was introduced by an NFL Films presentation.

But wouldn't you have liked to see Sterling Sharpe introduce his brother Shannon in person?

Instead, the people of Canton witnessed Chris Berman being his pompous self, introducing us to video presentations that introduced the Hall of Fame inductees. Something they could have more easily witnessed on television.

As if the people of Canton weren't slighted enough by the cancellation of the Hall of Fame Game.


Farmer City Raceway (August 5, 2011): Joel Funk Wins Double Features, Including Controversial Street Stock Race

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- Anyone who wins two features in one night at the Farmer City Raceway can consider it a good night of driving.

But for Joel Funk, his Street Stock Division feature win required more than decent driving.

With two laps to go, A.J. Wright held what he thought was a comfortable lead. Jeff Semmons, however, had other ideas.

"I slacked off a bit because I felt like I didn't want to push it too hard," Wright said.

The slowdown proved to be a costly move, as Semmons pulled what Wright called a "banzai" move, crashing into Wright near the finish line.

The move left a huge dust bowl for the attendees in the grandstand. Since the crash occurred so close to the finish line, Farmer City Raceway officials had to look at the video replay to determine who won the race.

To the disapproval of many of the attendees, it was ruled that neither Wright nor Semmons crossed the finish line. Therefore, Funk was rewarded with the trip to victory lane.

"I was a little bit more lucky than good," Funk said. "Semmons took a chance to win the race, and I got the dumb luck out of it."

To Funk's credit, he did manage to win his second feature race without any controversy. In the Sportsman Division, he took the lead from Daniel Flessner with eight laps to go and held off a furious rally en route to the victory.

Flessner entered the race with the lead in the point standings not only in FCR's Sportsman Division, but in the UMP national point standings as well. However, that was not always the case, as he chased Dave Crawley Jr. all season long.

But Crawley Jr. blew his motor the week prior to August 5 and was absent as a result. Therefore, Flessner entered the Sportsman feature hoping to add to his lead in the point standings.

"For a while, I was having to play catch-up," Flessner said. "I've had to race really consistently to catch him. [Crawley Jr.] is a powerhouse."

Regardless of Funk's victory, Flessner still gained some insurance points.

In the Street Stock Division, meanwhile, two Dicks (Chris and Darrel Dick, that is) had a chance to gain some ground on points leader Travis Johnson.

Due to some car trouble, Johnson (No. 95, pictured above) couldn't finish the feature. Darrel Dick (No. 38, pictured below) and Chris Dick (No. 1) finished in the top five.

The Farmer City Raceway gave away a $2,000 prize to the winner of the NALMS Crate Late Models feature.

The prize went to Jerry Lierly. He beat out Nick Bauman (pictured below), who had the lead with two laps to go.

Lance Dehm, who entered August 5's races race third in the point standings of the Modifieds Division, won a long-overdue feature. But the victory didn't come without casualties.

Justin Delong, who held the lead for a few brief moments, collided while battling Jeff Leka for third place. He didn't finish the feature.

Leka, the points leader, ended up off course while in second place with less than three laps to go, but finished in the top five.

Perhaps the most horrific crash suffered in the Modifieds Division (well, in any division, anyway) on August 5 occurred in one of the heats. Alan Crowder took a nasty spill on the third turn.

He came out of it without any serious damage, but the same cannot be said about his car.

In the Hornets Division, it was a good day for Kenny Butterfield, who won the Trophy Dash as well as the first heat and the feature.


Blue Ridge High School Fall Sports Schedules

On August 10, practices for all fall sports teams will officially begin.

On August 19, Farmer City's Blue Ridge High School will hold its preview event for all high school athletics at 7 p.m.

Here are the schedules for each fall varsity team in Blue Ridge:


Friday, August 26 -- vs. Tri-Valley, 7 p.m.

Friday, September 2 -- at Champaign St. Thomas More, 7 p.m.

Friday, September 9 -- vs. Ridgeview, 7 p.m.

Friday, September 16 -- at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, 7 p.m.

Friday, September 23 -- at Heyworth, 7 p.m.

Friday, September 30 -- vs. LeRoy (Homecoming), 7 p.m.

Friday, October 7 -- vs. Deer Creek-Mackinaw, 7 p.m.

Friday, October 14 -- at Fieldcrest, 7 p.m.

Friday, October 21 -- at Fisher, 7 p.m.


Saturday, August 27 -- Blue Ridge Invitational vs. Woodland, Urbana Uni-High, DeLand-Weldon, Champaign Judah Christian, Normal Calvary Baptist Academy and Heritage, 9 a.m.

Thursday, September 1 -- at Maroa-Forsyth, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, September 6 -- at Ridgeview, 6 p.m.

Thursday, September 8 -- vs. Tremont, 6 p.m.

Saturday, September 10 -- at Clinton Invitational with Heyworth, 8 a.m.

Tuesday, September 13 -- vs. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, 6 p.m.

Thursday, September 15 -- at El Paso-Gridley, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, September 20 -- vs. Deer Creek-Mackinaw, 6 p.m.

Thursday, September 22 -- at Tri-Valley, 6 p.m.

Monday, September 26 -- vs. LeRoy, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, September 27 -- vs. Paxton-Buckley-Loda, 6 p.m.

Thursday, September 29 -- at Fieldcrest, 6 p.m.

Monday, October 3 -- vs. Champaign St. Thomas More, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, October 4 -- at Heyworth, 6 p.m.

Thursday, October 6 -- vs. Lexington, 6 p.m.

Monday, October 10 -- at Fisher, 6 p.m.

Thursday, October 13 -- vs. Flanagan, 6 p.m.

Monday, October 17 -- at McLean County Tournament vs. Lexington and Tri-Valley, time TBA

Monday, October 24 -- at DeLand-Weldon, 6 p.m.


Tuesday, August 16 -- at Ridgeview Invitational with GCMS and Tri-Valley, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, August 17 -- at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley with LeRoy, 1 p.m.
Monday, August 22 -- vs. Iroquois West, 4 p.m.

Tuesday, August 23 -- at Ridgeview, 4 p.m.

Thursday, September 1 -- Blue Ridge Triangular vs. Fisher and Lexington, 4 p.m.

Tuesday, September 6 -- at Clinton, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, September 7 -- at Olympia, 4 p.m.

Thursday, September 8 -- at Heyworth, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday, September 10 -- Blue Ridge Invitational vs. Tri-Valley, Heyworth, Fisher, Ridgeview, El Paso-Gridley and Lexington, 8 a.m.

Monday, September 12 -- at Monticello, 4:15 p.m.

Tuesday, September 13 -- at Heyworth Invitational in Normal with El Paso-Gridley and Tri-Valley, 2 p.m.

Thursday, September 15 -- vs. El Paso-Gridley, 4 p.m.

Thursday, September 22 -- at Ridgeview, 4 p.m.

Monday, September 26 -- Blue Ridge Triangular with Fisher and LeRoy, 4:15 p.m.

Tuesday, September 27 -- at Heart of Illinois Conference Tournament, 9 a.m.

Monday, October 3 -- vs. Heyworth, 4 p.m.


Monday, August 15 -- Blue Ridge Invitational vs. Tri-Valley, Prairie Central, Mahomet-Seymour, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, El Paso-Gridley and Olympia, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, August 17 -- at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley with LeRoy, 1 p.m.

Monday, August 22 -- vs. Iroquois West, 4 p.m.

Monday, August 29 -- at El Paso-Gridley, 4 p.m.

Monday, September 12 -- vs. Tri-Valley, 4 p.m.

Tuesday, September 13 -- vs. Olympia, 4 p.m.

Thursday, September 15 -- vs. El Paso-Gridley, 4 p.m.

Saturday, September 17 -- at LeRoy Invitational with Tri-Valley, 8 a.m.

Monday, September 19 -- vs. Monticello, 4 p.m.

Monday, September 26 -- vs. LeRoy, 4:15 p.m.

Tuesday, September 27 -- at Heart of Illinois Conference Tournament, 9 a.m.

Thursday, September 29 -- Blue Ridge Quad with Prairie Central, Tri-Valley and LeRoy, 4:15 p.m.


Tuesday, August 23 -- at Heyworth, 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, August 25 -- vs. Iroquois West, 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, August 27 -- at Uni-High Soccer Shoot Out in Urbana with Fisher and Oakwood, 8:30 a.m.

Tuesday, August 30 -- vs. Olympia, 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 1 -- at Tolono Unity, 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, September 3 -- vs. Danville Schlarman, 11 a.m.

Tuesday, September 6 -- at Champaign Judah Christian, 4:30 p.m.

Monday, September 12 -- Bloomington Central Catholic, 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, September 13 -- at Normal Calvary Baptist, 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 15 -- vs. Champaign St. Thomas More, 4:30 p.m.

Friday, September 16 -- at Hoopeston Cornjerker Classic vs. Olympia, 4 p.m.

Friday, September 16 -- at Hoopeston Cornjerker Classic vs. Watseka, 6 p.m.

Saturday, September 17 -- at Hoopeston Cornjerker Classic vs. Iroquois West, 11:30 a.m.

Saturday, September 17 -- at Hoopeston Cornjerker Classic vs. Hoopeston, 2 p.m.

Tuesday, September 20 -- at Mount Pulaski, 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 22 -- at Watseka, 4:30 p.m.

Monday, September 26 -- vs. Heyworth, 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, September 27 -- at Monticello, 4:30 p.m.

Monday, October 3 -- at Georgetown-Ridge Farm, 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, October 4 -- vs. Fisher, 4:30 p.m.