The first week of high school football in the area was a little rough for more than half of local teams.
Only six of the 15 Sauk Valley teams won games this past Friday, something that has only happened three other times in the last 5 years. Erie-Prophetstown’s win over Bureau Valley was the only game pitting two locals.
Three head coaches tried to get their first wins with their new team; two are from the Mike Papoccia coaching tree. Newman’s Brandon Kreczmer was the only one within the trio to get a win; former Comets assistant Mat Pistole, now at Bureau Valley, and Rock Falls’ Kevin Parker will have to wait another week.
Welcome to another season of By The Numbers, and here are some important digits of note throughout the Sauk Valley and northern Illinois from the first week of the season.
Erie-Prophetstown snapped a five-game losing streak in home opening games Friday with its 33-14 victory over Bureau Valley.
The Panthers also snapped a streak just as long in games against the Storm.
Three of the Panthers’ Week 1 home losses were by three points or less, including a 23-20 heartbreaker 2 years ago. They last won a home opener was a 33-19 victory over Kewanee in 2013.
Season-opening games have been going quite well in recent years for Newman and Polo, despite the Comets and Marcos having different experiences this season.
Both teams extended their season-opener winning streaks to six games.
Newman kicked off the Kreczmer era with a 20-6 win over Hall at Nesti Stadium, beginning his head coaching career at 1-0 just like Papoccia did 39 years ago.
Polo, playing in its first 8-man football game, held Danville Schlarman to minus-3 yards rushing in a 46-6 home win.
With its 49-7 home win over Marengo, Sterling forced its 22nd running-clock situation in its last 38 games.
Jashawn Howard’s 6-yard run with 2:03 to play in the third quarter triggered the second-half mercy rule, where the clock doesn’t stop unless in scoring and timeout situations, and referee’s discretion.
The same situation happened last year at Rod Poppe Field; the Golden Warriors scored the game’s first 46 points before the Indians tacked on eight in the fourth quarter.
Sterling had seven running clocks last year, which included three straight to open the season.
Unfortunately for the Amboy Clippers, they were on the wrong end of a historic game in the Durand-Pecatonica Rivermen’s short history.
Du-Pec beat Amboy 58-7 in an NUIC crossover game in Pecatonica, the most points they have scored since the co-op began in 2017.
The last time either Durand or Pecatonica scored at least 58 points in a game was in 2005, when both teams played in the defunct Four Rivers Conference. Pecatonica beat Hiawatha 58-0 in Week 6, which was 30 points shy of an 88-0 blowout Durand beat the Hawks by to open the season; that game was called after one half.
Stockton won its 600th game in program history with its 26-8 NUIC crossover home win over Milledgeville at John O’Boyle Field.
The Blackhawks won state championships in 1978 and 1991 under O’Boyle, whose 279 wins from 1963-97 was tops in Illinois at his retirement. They also have four runner-up finishes (1975, 1977, 2004 and 2012).
Only 30 other programs have won more than 600 games, including Sterling (621). Newman is 17 wins away from that mark.
For the last decade, Illinois sports historians Kev Varney and Tom Sikorski have researched football records, and recently extended their scope to include programs that have won more than 300 games.
Elsewhere in Illinois, Barrington’s bid for 500 wins came up short in a 16-6 loss at Gurnee Warren. Freeport reached 400 wins with a 47-7 drubbing at Belvidere in NIC-10 play.